CSM’s Daily Work


Making Sense out of Chaos

I’m currently reading “The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook” by Ashvin Vaidyanathan and Ruben Rabago. It’s part of my summer reading list. I just finished chapter 3, A Day in the Life of a Customer Success Manager.

I’ve been working in Customer Success for the last five years and realistically have been doing aspects of the job of a CSM for much longer. I’ve put together a list of daily activities in the past for customer transitions and for operational onboarding. Generally, they’ve been specific to my company or job, and with 20 years of industry experience, I humbly believe they’ve been pretty good. So when reading this chapter I expected to get mostly confirmation of what I’ve been doing and I did get plenty of it but I have to admit the list they provide is both the most comprehensive and well-explained list of activities a CSM should perform on a regular basis and one I’ll be reviewing with my team.

The authors state explicitly that all activities need to be customized to your specific business and needs, and indeed they do but if you’re building a new organization or training for CSMs, it’s a great list of activities to review and customize for your new training a development program.

The high-level list of activities includes:

  • Review Calendar first thing daily
  • Review proactive To-Do List
  • Check inbound messages
  • New customer activities
    • Set up alerts (a new thought for me)
    • Update contacts in CRM
    • Org Chart
      • Decision-Making Chart
    • Connect with all customer contacts via linked-in
    • Review ROI objectives
  • Value discussions – “Every engagement should be a value discussion that helps your customer move closer to their desired outcome.”
  • Success Planning – capture and track objectives and timelines
  • Executive business reviews
    • Executive level engagement
    • Show value and track ROI and business objectives
  • Customer Success Team meeting prep
  • Risk/Escalation – They do a great job of defining types of risk
    • Implementation Risk
    • Sentiment Risk
    • Support Risk
    • Product Risk
    • Company Risk
  • Renewal – Tracking and review
  • 1-1 with manager
  • Promoter and Advocacy Request
  • One to many outreaches
  • Product Training

While the authors say this isn’t a comprehensive list it sure is an incredible start and a great outline of what the CSM should be doing on a daily basis. This chapter ends with a testimonial on being a Customer Success Manager and the three core skills of Knowledge Mastery, Problem Solving, and Relationship building.

In my 20-plus years in the technology industry, I’ve worked many roles and some more than others require a natural talent or affinity for the role. The CSM role in particular really only requires 2 natural talents. Curiosity and a true love for helping people. If you have both of those assets and a strong work ethic then the role of a CSM can be a great fit for you.

The painting associated with the post is Acholhol ink. I love playing with this mediume because it flows quickly, dries quickly, and can also be re-energized to flow and move some more. It often creates chaotic feelings and beauty and just as in business Art is often creating order out of chaos. I felt it was appropiate for this post since the chapter is about creating order out of the chaotic work a CSM performs.

A note bout the image from Kevin

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