How I organize my week as Customer Success Manager
Following my previous article featuring “How to survive as the first Customer Success hire in your start-up”, thought that an important topic I should cover up next is how I usually organize my work-week to ensure that all kinds of different aspects, conflicting priorities, and goals are being met.
CS team meeting
At 10 AM every Monday morning, I am meeting with my CS Reps. The objective of this functional meeting is to review work being done, plan next steps, address any questions or problems, and share best case practices with one another.
A typical agenda would be:
- Check-in — 5min
I always spend some time to check at what mood my team is entering this meeting and their week, plus it helps me better understand them and foresee any possible issues that might arise during the week. Also, always remember that you shall take good care of the people that are taking care of your customers.
2. Review client accounts — 35min
We are using Pipedrive, our Sales CRM, as our primary tool to plan and track work we do with and for our clients. We have organized our clients on two main Pipelines: Implementation (including new clients moving towards the Go-Live phase) and Customer Success pipeline (where we classify clients based on their level of Product Adoption).
We always start by checking the status of new accounts, assigning next steps and estimating the time to Go-Live. We pay a lot of attention to the accounts that are under implementation because a fast and successful onboarding is always a good way to set the basis of a long term relationship.
Then we are moving to the clients in the CS phase, where we usually assign tasks for 2–3 clients per day per CS rep. These tasks usually include reports, calls for new feature adoption, follow-ups, performance review, and planning meetings etc.
3. Questions and best case practices sharing — 15min
Place of collaboration and knowledge sharing between CS reps. We use collective knowledge to solve problems that one might be more difficult to solve on her own, plus we share best practices from clients that can be replicated from others within the team. This space is really important in order to have things move faster, plus help people grow as a team rather than individuals.
New client handover meeting
On Mondays, I usually plan small check-points (15min) with Salespeople in order to gather all required information regarding new accounts being added in our Implementation pipeline. Once I gather information and feedback coming from the sales process, I then assign the new client to one of my CS reps (or myself) to initiate the onboarding. This standard process helps a lot to ensure that we don’t lose valuable info once the account passes from one team to the other.
CS-Sales weekly review
Small check-point with all Salespeople and CS reps to review clients’ current state. In this space we are mainly focusing on three different things:
- New clients expected to close within the next 2 weeks. This helps the CS team better prioritize tasks internally and manage workload accordingly.
- Reviewing clients under implementation. Until a client goes live, we keep the Sales Reps highly accountable to the process, because client’s response rate in the very beginning of the implementation process is highly dependent on the expectation setting being done during the sales process.
- Discuss clients at risk and upsell opportunities. CS Reps are the ones that monitor product usage and thus identify both risks and upsell opportunities. On the other hand, our Sales Reps handle the actual client contracts, so we use this space to make sure that we are aligned and that we trigger immediate action.
New Client Kick-off call
The kick-off call is the first of a series of planned calls that we do with clients until they Go-Live. The objectives of this call are:
- Align client expectations about offered services and expected outcome.
- Understanding of client’s organizational structure, services and workflows, key metrics, revenue generators, goals and tools used.
- Quick walkthrough to our platform.
- Identify project Milestones.
- Review the Implementation Plan and verify schedules and dates.
Product-CS weekly meeting
Our Tech team works on 2-week sprints, meaning that we have new stuff launched twice per month. This is why we have set-up weekly meetings with Product. The scope of this meeting is to:
- Prioritize clients’ requests that shall be moved into development. We keep an updated backlog of clients’ tickets, which we prioritize based on recency and the importance of the request.
- Prepare client facing release material. We review new features that are about to be added to the product in order to prepare knowledge center material, email communication to clients/ plan for feature adoption accordingly.
1:1 assessment with CS Rep (on a Q basis)
This comes as part of an internal initiative to help our company’s employees grow and achieve their professional goals through their roles, plus help them better fulfill their responsibilities. As part of these quarterly meetings, we access the achievement of previous Q goals, we goal-set for the new Q, identify personal growth opportunities and most importantly we do 360 feedback.
I usually structure these meetings as follows:
- Team’s goals planned VS achieved
- Individual goals planned VS achieved
- Team goal setting presentation (this is usually done from beforehand between me and the CEO)
- Individual goal setting based on the team’s goals
- Employee’s personal goals (areas of expertise, areas of improvement, the positioning of the employee within the team and the company)
- Feedback towards team member (work performance, contribution towards the team, improvements in our 1:1 communication)
- Feedback towards me and the team
What could help in cases people are not familiar with giving and receiving feedback is to do it in the format of Keep-Start-Stop.
Onboarding call with client
This is the second call we do with every new client that moves into implementation with us and its main purpose is to do an initial platform training plus assign next steps to Go-Live. After we have explored the client’s reality during the Kick-off call we are now ready to deliver the appropriate system configuration and proposals. This space is also used to verify the next steps and to commit on the final Go-Live date.
Tip: in case you already have a standard process you follow in order to successfully on-board a new client make sure that you share all steps and work required from their side from beforehand, plus ensure that this process doesn't have a flaw (i.e. I know that what follows the Kick-off call is the onboarding call, so I always make sure that we align our schedules and arrange the next call before the previous one ends. This way you ensure maximum commitment and you create a process that doesn’t “break”).
Renewals monthly meeting
CS, Sales and Finance teams meet once per month to review upcoming renewals (usually for the next 3 months). CS leads this space. Our primary goal is to predict the renewal rate and reduce churn. We review each client that enters the renewal phase and more specifically:
- Results achieved as of now (mini report provided by the CS Rep).
- Current product adoption phase VS expected product adoption phase based on time Live (this helps us understand if we need to push client towards adopting specific features that we know that make clients stick before we are late on the timeline).
- Assign a health score (both from CS and Sales rep). This defines also the probability for renewal and helps Finance better predict MRR.
- Assign next steps and deadlines both for CS and Sales directly to our Sales CRM so we can follow up on what discussed.
CS-Marketing meeting for content preparation
Along with our Head of Content Marketing, we are working a lot lately on creating a series of content that is used to increase our inbound lead generation. Since client success stories have proven to be the most valuable of all pieces of content we can possibly create (and since we have plenty of them) we are working on showcasing these externally.
Client case studies, apart from being an excellent tool for lead generation, seems to also be really valuable material for existing clients. It can be used to move people from Free Plans to paying ones or to push specific feature adoption. We use a simple structure which outlines the basic KPIs, the challenge, our mandate, and the solution. We pay a lot of attention to the visualization of the solution we are offering and that’s why we usually accompany each case study with a short video.
Clearing weekly tasks and new week tasks planning
Usually, on Fridays, I put a 2-hour placeholder to my calendar to review important tasks of the week that have still remained open, plus organize my task list for the coming week. For this purpose, I either use an online tool (mainly Todoist) or handwritten notes in my organizer, depending on my mood. I always make sure, though, that I keep everything written down somewhere so I can get back and refer to past tasks at any point in the future.
If you liked this content and think you learned something useful click the 👏 to say thanks and help others reach it as well. Also, feel free to comment and share with me any other things you follow in your weekly routine as CSM.