3 most common scenarios for a CSM and how to handle them creatively.

CSM or we can say the company’s face to the users and clients is one of the most responsible roles within the organization. The exciting journey of a CSM goes through a lot of roller coaster rides where one day they are smiling with an appreciation from a client and another day they are bombarded with the unexpected questions from the clients.

With my years of experience working in the Customer Success Team, I have come across multiple scenarios for which I was not at all prepared. I would like to pick the top most common 3 scenarios that every CSM come across and how to handle them creatively. This will be helpful to the ones who have started their career in this domain.

1. You do not know the answer to a question or it is not relevant to your business

It is very obvious that you cannot know all the answers related to a particular field as every day there could be a new use case or a new thought process or you might be missing some information about the business. This can even happen during an ongoing call with the client. Sometimes even the clients or users ask questions that are not related to your business directly.

Not to worry, as this is a part of the journey. You can simply reply by mentioning that “I would need some more time to research it or I will connect with our team to gather more information and get back to you later”. It is totally finally to ask for time rather than replying to something that is incorrect or you are not sure of.

In cases, when the questions are not related to your business or service, rather than just saying that it is not related to your business, you can always help them by giving them some reference or resource for their query. This would need some time of yours in research but will add a sense of trust to your customers and they will start considering you as a problem solver.

2. You cannot fulfill the client’s request now or in future

Every business grows and enhances with their customers’ feedback as that’s an integral part of the product/service journey. But, sometimes it is tough to consider the suggestion or request of the client even if it makes sense.

In such scenarios, it is very much important that you set the right expectation in front of the client but in a subtle manner that doesn't make them feel less valued. You can say something like “ Thanks for sharing the suggestion with us and this can be a great addition to the product. But, unfortunately, we would not be able to build this at this point in time due to….. your reason) This always adds a sense of appreciation to your communication and you will sound genuine to your clients. They will not hesitate from sharing anything with you in the future.

3. You have exceeded your deadline for a delivery

Ideally, this should not happen but there are some unexpected scenarios where despite all the checks and efforts things get delayed ultimately affecting the promised delivery.

You should not shy away or hide back from your customers, rather you should be prompt enough to keep them updated as soon as you sense the delay with an apology. It is always advisable to keep your customer updated about the progress of the promised deliverables. Even if there is a delay you should keep them informed mentioning the reason (if applicable). You can say something like “ Apologies for the delay in Xyz, but we have been caught up in ….., hence could not build the feature by the promised time. We do have your request on our top priority and will keep you posted on the status of the same. We value you as a customer and will appreciate your cooperation in this case) Keeping your customers on the same page by looping them in a transparent manner with the factual reasonings never goes in vain. They feel more connected with the company and in general, cases do understand your situation.

I hope these tips make sense to all the CSMs out there and especially to the ones who are new to this role. Leave your comments if you like to share anything more.

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