When your Customer Success role seems to only involve putting out fires, elevate yourself to strategic levels with the big picture in mind.
We spoke with Leslie Reilly, Customer Success Team Lead at Integrate, about the necessary shift towards higher-level thinking.
1. It is easy to get stuck in the weeds as a CSM, but you have to train yourself to think ‘big-picture’
It is hard to get out of the weeds if you're always dealing with service issues or issues around the product. We have a great product but nothing is perfect, stuff comes up.
When you end up focusing on those ‘in the weeds’ issues and you're just putting out fires, it can be challenging to… focus more on the bigger picture stuff.
You have to have a solid, strong foundation, to then say, “hey, let's look beyond, what's beyond what we have today and how can we help you? How can we help you in other areas?” Those are the conversations we want to have. It’s just that sometimes it's hard to pull ourselves out of the weeds when we're addressing issues.
2. Customer Success: less tactics and gut, more strategy and data
The CS role from my own perspective, has become less tactical… we're evolving into more of a strategic role, and that's really where we're supposed to be. We want to make sure we become a trusted adviser to our customers, understand their industries, what their pain points are, etc.
Often, part of a [Customer Success Manager’s] criteria is “my gut tells me we're in a good place.” That's not ideal.
Your gut should not be part of the equation.
So what other metrics can we use internally that says, “no, no, these customers are green [according to their Health Score] and here's why. I think that will continue to evolve as well; whether it's with CSM tools … better utilizing those to pull in real data to give better insight into what our customers are doing, and where they are from a health perspective.
3. And speaking of data: Customer Success can benefit from an increased use of it, both internally and externally
From a data perspective, I think that CSMs are going to become more data-driven, both in an external and an internal model.
Externally… we need to be able to show metrics to customers to say, "Here's your ROI, here's what you're getting with us." Relationships are crucial and super important but at the end of the day, as much as we're buddies, and we love working with each other, we have to give our customer reasons to defend that spend, right? “This is what you’re getting when they're working with Integrate, this is what they’re saving from a cost perspective, from a time savings perspective” so they can turn around to their managers and be like, "Guys, look at me, I made this great investment with Integrate, here's what we're getting, we definitely want to renew with them."
Internally, we're going to continue to evolve [the way we are] using data from a churn and growth perspective; which customers have a potential to churn? Which ones are good opportunities for growth? We're doing that internally right now, from an account health perspective, red, yellow, green, right? So how does the CSM determine what's a red account, versus yellow, versus green?
Thanks to Leslie for equipping us with insights to best support our teams in the transition from tactics to strategy!