In any customer success role, the only parts of your job that you know for sure are onboarding new members and checking in at renewal time. But what you do in between is up to you. Learn about how you should plan your quarter to prepare.
- Customer success is responsible for making sure the customer is engaged, happy, and referenceable. A big part of that, is being responsive to inbound inquiries. But some of it is proactive, too. How do you plan, not just each day, but months, even years at a time, to ensure that you hit that goal? Lewis Carroll said, "If you don't know where you're going "any road'll get you there." Having a plan is critical to getting where you need to go. The most important thing, whether you're an individual contributor, or a manager, is to know what the goal is, and if you don't know, ask.
Are you going to be judged by renewals? By a net promoter score? By number of calls handled? Key performance indicators are often handed down from your manager as fixed, inflexible goals. But, you have some control. Maybe the goal doesn't make sense to you, like you're being asked to do a certain number of calls, or shorten the average call duration. Either of these goals would be inconsistent with the true role of a CSM. If you're asked to hit such a target, push back. Explain to leadership that the point of CS is not to get people off the phone.
It's to make people happy. Rewarding for B and hoping for A is a silly strategy, although companies do it more often than you'd think. Or, maybe the goal is too ambitious and out of your control, like the number of people who upgrade to a bigger financial commitment, when the more expensive offering might not have been designed for the customers you serve. For example, let's say you have a product for individual dentist offices, and a higher priced dashboard for managing multiple dentist offices.
If you only have one office, you don't need the dashboard no matter how good a deal it is. In such a case, explain the inconsistency. Remember, you are the voice of the customer and need to be sure that the goals and processes of your group align with the best interests of the people you serve. Once you've agreed to expectations, set your work plan accordingly. If the goal is retention, work backwards from the moment of renewal. Ask yourself, why do people cancel? Then, determine what you can do at each step of the process.
Start at the moment of renewal. You can remind them to renew, of course. But before that, what can you do? Well, you can make sure that they're engaged in using your services. How? Well, you can in with them a few times, through automated emails or phone calls, or even through in-product reminders. How many times should you remind them? That's up to you. Maybe there are indicators you should be looking for that they're not engaged, like reduced usage. For example, if you work at a gym and a member hasn't been to the gym in two weeks, after months of daily visits, you might want to reach out.
Maybe create a report that let's you know, who has red flag behavior and reach out to them. Every customer probably needs an onboarding process to ensure that they start using what they're paying for and make it part of their new normal. Now you know what to schedule for each customer, onboarding, engagement tracking, and renewal reminders. Decide if you want to batch activities, which is more efficient, or if you want to maximize variety each day, which can help you keep your energy high.
Leave room for reactive work, too. Responding to unscheduled problems that require quick support. If you have a big unscheduled problem that affects your schedule, make sure to raise a red flag with your manager. For example, if all of your customers are having the same major product problem. That kind of thing can affect your ability to meet your numbers, and the sooner you let the rest of the organization know, the sooner they can join you in solving the problem. You might also be able to adjust your quarterly objectives and avoid an unpleasant and undeserved negative review.
It's important to know the cadence of your work, annually, quarterly, weekly, and daily. And, even more important to know what your targets are. Having a clear idea of what you're trying to accomplish, means you have a better chance of getting there.
- What is customer success?
- Scaling customer success
- Being a customer success professional or manager
- Building a customer success plan
- Aligning customer success with other departments