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Qualities of a CSM

In our previous post, we explored the multifaceted role of a Customer Success Manager (CSM), encompassing project management, support, relationship building, and decision-making for customer accounts. It's no surprise that finding a CSM who excels in all these areas can be challenging. However, the best CSMs share certain qualities that set them apart and ensure exceptional results.

 

Here are a few other qualities of a good CSM

 

  1. Genuine Interest and Empathy - At the heart of every successful CSM lies a genuine interest in their customers' success and an empathetic approach to understanding their needs. A positive customer experience not only impacts revenue but also fosters lasting relationships and opens doors to various revenue streams, including upgrades, cross-selling, referrals, customer come-back and more. Building a foundation of genuine interest and empathy lays the groundwork for a respectful and enduring partnership.
     

  2. Curiosity and Openness to Learning - One of the reasons behind the success of CS teams is their ability and attitude to learn new things.  The growth we have seen in SaaS and CS in the last 10-12 years is huge.  As per a research website, every big company today uses 100-120 SaaS tools.  Your ability to learn faster and keeping an open mind helps you build a proactive attitude and keeps you in check with the market.
     

  3. Research Skills - In today's information-rich environment, research skills are paramount for CSMs. Being well-informed about customer history, support tickets, industry developments, and public information helps CSMs provide tailored solutions and foster stronger client relationships.
     

  4. Effective Communication - A successful CSM understands that communication is not just about addressing customer issues but also gauging customer sentiment and reading between the lines. Instead of asking basic questions, CSMs should leverage tools like Google, LinkedIn, and other platforms to gain insights into their customers' businesses and objectives.
     

  5. Data Analysis -  Analytical skills play a vital role in understanding clients and streamlining project management efforts. Being able to summarize and present data effectively adds value to the product and bolsters customer trust.  Someone with an eye for data and detail is able to understand their clients and expedite the tasks and project management effortlessly.
     

  6. Negotiation Talks - CSMs should not shy away from discussing financial matters with clients. Honesty and transparency about service costs and contract renewals demonstrate professionalism and foster trust in the relationship. Developing negotiation skills is an essential part of a CSM's growth journey.
     

  7. Proactive Attitude - A proactive CSM anticipates customer needs, strategizes solutions, and takes ownership of project plans to reach objectives effectively.  For a long time, I used to think proactive approach means anticipating the needs of your customer and roadblocks in project plans and managing these effectively.   Another important aspect of proactive approach is to own the outcome and the plan for it.
     

  8. Strategic Thought Process - Strategic thinking is a valuable skill in various domains, it empowers you to be proactive, structured, predictable and brings repeatability to your processes.  A CSM needs to strategically handle all the planned activities in a customer journey plan and unpredictable activities like product bugs, delivery delays etc.  A strategic approach to handling these activities will help you retain customer’s trust and build it further.
     

  9. Agility - Being quick on their feet and adapting to changing circumstances are crucial qualities for CSMs. The ever-evolving customer landscape demands agility, enabling CSMs to maintain stable and meaningful relationships with their clients while adapting to the new CS processes, KPIs , tools or events.
     

  10. Product Knowledge - The importance of this point should be understood from the fact that we should not even have to list it here. A successful CSM not only knows the product they support but also comprehends its background, roadmap and growth trajectory. This knowledge enables them to offer valuable insights and cater to clients' specific requirements.

Becoming an exceptional Customer Success Manager (CSM) is an ongoing journey that requires unwavering commitment to continuous improvement and learning. As CSMs dedicate themselves to honing the essential qualities we discussed, they unlock the potential to attract a myriad of other valuable attributes that further elevate their effectiveness and impact. Like an enhanced sense of prioritization, conflict resolution expertise and outstanding team management skills

 

I have devoted my entire career to the field of Customer Success, and I am genuinely passionate about it. I firmly believe that continually honing the skills and qualities mentioned above not only enhances our proficiency as professionals but also enriches us as individuals.

 

If you'd like to explore more about the opportunities in this field or discuss on how to grow as a CSM, feel free to connect.

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