4 Tips for Successful Onboarding (of your new CSM)

Cairo Amani
Sep 13, 2018 · 4 min read

As Customer Success professionals, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to onboard our customers. In a small company, onboarding can be a hectic time, especially when it comes to new Customer Success team members.

Most companies evaluate employees within a 90 day period of their start date. But if the employee isn’t set up for success within first 1–2 weeks it can become difficult to make a proper assessment.

Proper ramp-up is key to a successful employee experience which, in turn, is directly related to the customer experience when it comes to Customer Success (according to New Voice Media’s Daniel Fois).

As Deloitte explains, when people are happy at work, they do a better job. And you don’t want to risk your client facing team — valuable revenue generating, relationship building, data powerhouses — doing badly because they’re unhappy.

But in fast-paced environments, where businesses are trying to build up, they sometimes leave emotional intelligence tasks behind. How you hire and treat new employees exemplifies the culture they’re about to join. Customer Success is a high volume, high impact, client facing role — it’s extremely important that companies get their reps off to a good start. Here are three ways you can ensure your CSM’s first experience with you is a good one.

Plan Ahead

Think of an efficient and scalable ramp-up program that not only teaches them what they need to know but gives them projects with results that matter and introduces them to the work environment early. In addition, it allows you to respect their time.

One of the easiest ways a company can make a bad first impression is by not having enough structure set up at the time of the new member’s arrival (Email, phone number, desk, swag, etc) or not having enough activities for them to do (studying the customer base, getting familiar with their portfolio, understanding your tools), that they’re instead given senseless busy-work — or nothing at all — and leave them sitting around waiting until 5pm.

(I’ve seen it happen.)

Do not, I repeat DO NOT, onboard on the fly!

Give Them Something To Take Home

I love when I get to a new company and I’m meeting new people, learning new rules and understanding new customers. Written guides for everything from portfolios to office resources and team structure is not only great for understanding things in the moment but reflecting on them later and digesting information in their own time.

Share Your Expectations

Be upfront about what they need to do to ‘knock it out of the park”. Letting a new CSM know what’s expected of them from day one, not only ensures your customers will be taken care of but gives the CSM something to hold onto and embody as they settle into their new role and their new environment.

Show Them They Matter

Sure — it’s early in the game, but you hired them for their skills and ability to contribute, right? So show them (within the first week or two) that you’re happy to have them aboard. Plan a team outing, introduce them to other members, give them some company swag.

Early appreciation shows you have confidence in their contributions, which motivates them to be more confident in themselves and in their opportunity to contribute. There’s nothing like working for a boss who believes in you.

Ingraining them into the culture motivates them to stay connected and really take pride in the organization they’ve joined. So plan a group activity, in office or out, and create some cadence for senior/veteran members in and out of the customer success team to spend one on one time with them.

Small companies can have a hard time hiring and onboarding. Training is as important — and directly related to — all results and outcomes. As team leads, directors, VPs and founders, we need to keep in mind how important it is to nurture the nurtuerers. If you want your customers to have a great time interfacing with your CSMs, make sure your CSMs love the product and company for which they advocate!

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Cairo Amani

Written by

Customer Success Leader and Consultant. I befriend all office dogs. Not all #techladies code. :) Find me on twitter @cairo_io