Once you’ve created a product or service, you need to be able to not only attract people who want to buy it as well as retain them and keep them happy over the long term. Customer success managers are directly in charge of both customer happiness and retention, which are two of the most significant indications of growth and are crucial for company outcomes. For many firms, especially SaaS companies and other internet businesses that primarily depend on client connections, customer success management is essential. Customer success managers must maintain continual communication with not only customers but also with different teams within the organization, such as sales, marketing, customer support, and product development. To be successful in this role, managers must have a broad range of customer success skills and abilities, which we will explain here.
Must Have Skills For Customer Success Professionals
A customer success manager who does not take advantage of sales opportunities is likely to miss out on what could be a significant benefit to their company. To begin, it’s important to note that upselling and expansions are similar but not identical. Expansions typically involve selling more of what the customer previously purchased, such as additional licenses to use the same software. Upselling is the technique of offering a higher tier or more features of a product to a customer, such as an upgraded version of software. Upselling and expansions occur after the initial sales process, and while the sales team may be involved in some aspects of these motions, such as negotiations and contracts, the initial stages of upsells and expansions are more likely to be the responsibility of a Customer Success Manager.
What is the reason for this? A Customer Success Manager is in a unique position to observe the client during their relationship. Perhaps the customer has inquired about a new feature that has recently been released in a higher tier of the software, or they share logins internally because they did not purchase enough licenses and are experiencing problems. A Customer Success Manager who is actively listening and asking the right questions will clearly see these opportunities for additional revenue and will be able to capitalize on them in a natural and non-salesy manner.
Most customer success teams will require their employees to have a basic understanding of various types of software as well as other more technical skills. Of course, solid knowledge of Microsoft Office is required, but customer success teams also value previous experience with or understanding more specific types of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
Most businesses will be satisfied with a general knowledge of CRM software, but others may require experience with specific systems, the most common of which are Salesforce, Hubspot, and Zendesk. While similar to CRMs in many ways, CSM software is far more focused on customer success. CSM software assists businesses in gathering data to gain insight, monitoring customer behavior, and engaging with customers in a more comprehensive manner.
You can easily learn and test your customer success skills in Salesforce CRM, Hubspot CRM, and Zendesk CS with various online courses and earn skill badges.
Soft skills are the most important to become a customer success manager. Problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and the ability to remain centered and calm in stressful situations are all valuable skills for a potential CSM.
Because you’ll be talking to clients all day, communication skills are essential. You’ll stand out from the crowd and demonstrate that you’re the right customer success associate for the job if you can demonstrate your ability to convey complex ideas and concepts in a digestible manner when speaking with a hiring manager.
As businesses continue to shift their customer experience strategies toward proactive customer service rather than reactive customer service, they are looking for CSMs who can foresee customer needs and help with problems naturally rather than simply following a checklist. This requires the ability to read between the lines during conversations and determine exactly what a customer is concerned about, which is not the customer success skill you can learn in school.
Customer obsession is not distinctive to customer success, but it is one of the most important customer success skills to have if you want to be hired as a CSM.
Consider the extra effort you have taken to please your clients. Track how you can improve a customer’s experience and how you’ve adapted your service to their needs.
Anticipating and resolving issues that your clients will encounter is an important part of the CSM skill set. This combines product knowledge with empathetic listening to create what companies like AppsFlyer and Amazon call “customer obsession.”
You don’t have to be a data scientist to get hired, but you should be familiar with at least one of the Python, R, or SQL software packages.
It is easy to claim that you are data-driven, but one of the most common reasons people get rejected is because they cannot even demonstrate that they had attempted to become familiar with the data and this software.
There are numerous free resources available to help you learn the fundamentals of data.
Coaching, Training And Presentations
As a CSM, you will be your customers’ living, breathing instruction manual.
This means that you must be able to effectively guide customers through implementation, new features, updates, and any other changes or challenges they may face while using your product.
If you are only in an entry-level or internal-facing position, this may seem difficult, but there are opportunities if you are creative. You can try teaching your family and friends what you’ve learned, or you can ask your manager if you can hold a training or series of trainings to help others on your team catch up.
Navigating High-Level Conversations
Almost every company includes roleplaying in their interview process. Some human resource professionals ask questions in these role-plays that they know the interviewee will be unable to answer.
On the surface, it may appear that they simply want to see the candidates tremble, but the real goal is to see how the interviewee would handle such a question. Were they confident in steering the conversation in the direction they desired? How would they explain their lack of knowledge? Would they simply lie and make up an answer?
What the interviewer was really looking was the ability to remain confident in stressful situations and the assertive instincts to stay on track with what needed to be covered.
To sum up, with the huge increase in SaaS companies, Customer Success Management is one of the most in-demand positions, so if you want to enter the industry, these customer success skills will definitely help you get hired.