ChurnZero: Customer Success Professional Spotlight
The ChurnZero team has been spotlighting Customer Success professionals to get their take on the industry as well as get to hear some of their top tips they’d like to share. It was great being able to participate- read my thoughts below!
Q: What is your best career advice to give someone starting out in a Customer Success role?
A: Become a product expert and get grounded in your product early on. The first weeks and months in a few role always feel chaotic and you don’t want to be learning the ropes of your product while simultaneously providing training and guidance to customers. You’ll encounter plenty of occasions to employ the “fake it ’til you make it” mantra, but if you don’t have a foundational understanding of your product you’re more likely to find yourself on uncertain footing.
Q: What’s a little change that can make a big difference with your Customer Success management?
A: Ask questions to uncover your customers’ true needs and challenge your assumptions. It’s easy to take what people say at face value and to pass it along up the chain, but asking follow up questions shows that you’re engaged and want to get to the heart of an issue. Instead of just logging a feature request for a report your customer asked for, dig a bit deeper to see how they plan to use the data captured in this report. You might find that the functionality they need already exists in some other format, or that the issue isn’t with reporting but with driving adoption with their internal stakeholders.
Q: What do you think is a common misconception about Customer Success?
A: Customer Success isn’t a silver bullet for churn. There are lots of reasons customers churn and only some of them can be solved by Customer Success. Bringing on the wrong type of customers or building features that don’t address the underlying need for your product can’t be fixed by bringing on 5 new CSMs. For Customer Success leaders to have any hope of addressing these type of fundamental misalignments they need to have executive support to institute widespread changes.
Q: What are some trends you see happening in the Customer Success industry?
A: As Customer Success gets adopted by enterprise companies and startups that produce very technical products, I’ve noticed Customer Success teams begin to specialize. I’m starting to see titles like“Enterprise CSM” and “Technical CSM” on the rise. I expect to see this type of specialization continue as companies learn that there’s not a single CSM mold that works for every organization. Instead, the characteristics of what makes an effective CSM should be reflective of what customers need.
Q: What do you love the most about working with your customers?
A: The personal relationships you’re able to build with customers makes Customer Success an incredibly fulfilling job. While it’s fun to chat about what you did this weekend, or your upcoming vacation plans, meaningful relationships require substance. I’ve found that strong and long lasting relationships are built on trust and mutual respect.