What was your background prior to becoming a customer success manager?
In my early career I was a customer service rep for a wireless company. I was very focused on providing solutions and making sure that people had what they needed to be successful. After that chapter closed, I accepted a role as a support technician. In that role I had the opportunity to gain deep product knowledge of our software and hardware options. From there I let my curiosity be my guide. I began working cross functionally with our sales, product teams and engineering teams. I haven’t left the CSM space since.
What is the skill you use the most as a CSM?
It’s a tie between communication and empathy. As a CSM you’re a wearer of many hats and you’re not only communicating with your customers but with internal teams as well. All hats are equally important when it comes to adding value and understanding and meeting your customer’s needs. Really understanding how a change to a product or feature would impact your customers day for good or bad is infinitely powerful. Communicating customer needs and partnering with sales, product managers, engineers, developers and support teams requires you to understand where each of these teams are coming from.
What is an example of a day in the life of a CSM?
No two days are the same! That’s what makes it so exciting! Days I spend in the office are spent collaborating with internal teams ensuring we are resolving challenges customers face in their day to day work and helping the customer find value in their decision to buy our products in the first place. I spend a lot of time both listening to others and asking questions to really understand what my customer’s experience is and offering solutions through our existing product line or something we’re working on for the future. My very favorite days are the days I have the opportunity to be in front of a customer in person to both hear and see what their day is like and partner with them to devise an action plan on how I can help. Those experiences not only allow me to better understand my customers day but also provides me with valuable insights that I can bring back to our internal teams to change how we do business wether it’s changing a process that’s painful or a product enhancement that could solve a challenge we haven’t thought of.
What are morning or evening routines that support you in your role?
I make sure to block out time for myself at the beginning of each day to map out my top 5 priorities for the day. It really helps me focus and prioritize other items as they may arise throughout the day. Making time for the people and things that bring me joy outside of work is really important. Sometimes it’s hanging out with my husband and our dogs, crafting or meeting up with friends to work through our list of breakfast spots we’re constantly adding to.
What advice would you give someone looking to move into a career as a CSM?
Don’t be intimidated by requirements that may be listed in a job description! Even if you don’t check all of the boxes, you likely already have transferable skills that can help position yourself as a CSM. There’s a great community of CSM thought leaders to follow on LinkedIn, Podcasts and Newsletters to subscribe to if you’d like to immerse yourself. If you’re curious, enjoy helping others to meet their goals and you’re energized by coordinating people to work towards a shared goal you likely have CSM experience already.