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People Leaders Win in Customer Success

Helping your customers succeed starts by helping your employees succeed.

You have to invest in the right employee, with the right role, and with the right culture to build a world-class customer success team that leads to a delightful customer experience.

You’ll never create a strong, positive customer experience without focusing on employees’ needs and skills and providing them the tools to succeed. We all know that customer experience makes all the difference in attracting and retaining customers, so it’s time to ask yourself how you can drive the right culture with your team to impact customers directly.

Great Customer Experiences Start with Great Employee Experiences

Customers can tell the difference between CSMs who are engaged and those who are burnt out. Employees who are valued and empowered at work want to provide better service and proactively build relationships to help customers see the product’s value.

BambooHR’s mantra, “If you create a great place to work, great work takes place,” has led it to regularly be named a top workplace with high engagement levels.

Being a successful CSM, especially in the software space, requires balancing technical skills with relationship-building. That skill set can be hard to find, so when you find it, you have to keep those employees because they can easily take their talents to companies that treat them better.

Engaged employees are not only 22% more productive but have a significant impact on increasing revenue.

Harvard Business Review researchers put it this way: “Any organization that has customer-facing employees should realize that they matter immensely to business success. They are not simply a cost to be minimized … but potentially very high impact investments.”

Driving customer satisfaction and success requires focusing on the CSM experience. And as the market becomes more volatile and competitive, you can’t afford not to focus on your people. CSMs and customers won’t stick around if they aren’t valued. Investing in your people and putting them first will naturally get the most out of your CSMs.

CSMs Are Your Secret Weapon

Too often, companies treat their CS teams like machines who pump out satisfied customers and renewed contracts instead of the people they are.

CS can be a challenging industry, especially for CSMs on the front lines who face the brunt of customer frustration, questions, and feedback every day. CSMs regularly work with multiple customers at once and manage delicate relationships through complex business decisions, not to mention enduring a pandemic and continual digital changes.

Instead of constantly pushing CSMs to work harder and produce more, CS leaders need to remember that they are highly skilled workers with a very specialized skill set. CSMs tend to be empathetic yet driven, technical yet operational, and critical thinkers. Encourage recognition throughout the team. One of the most effective ways to appreciate a CSM is to provide growth opportunities through new promotions or additional responsibilities.

9 in 10 employees believe organizations that recognize employees for professional and personal accomplishments are more empathetic. And more than 90% of employees say that recognition improves their productivity and the likelihood of staying with the company.

Remember, start-ups move fast, and CSMs have to be flexible. It might be tempting to ask the impossible of them in performance or time management or change their core role rapidly or often. This is how you burn out CSMs, decrease employee engagement, and cause your CSMs to decrease their engagement with customers.

Blocking time for CSMs to focus on strategy instead of spending their entire days in the tactical weeds is huge for mental health growth and job performance. And it’s a win for companies, CSMs, and customers — companies get revitalized employees, CSMs can develop fresh ideas, and customers get personalized service that meets their needs.

Empower CSMs with Tools, Training, and Time

CSMs work with customers and showcase a product’s features every day. Yet they are often the last to provide feedback or learn about product updates.

To be productive and efficient, CSMs need to understand the product and where it is going. As the product changes, CSMs should be the first to train on it, not customers. When CSMs are empowered with strong product training, they can showcase the most relevant features to each customer.

Instead of leaving CSMs on their own, successful companies have strong feedback loops between the CS team, the product team, and leadership. CSMs know the ins and outs of the product and hear valuable feedback from customers, which can lead to impactful improvements.

Empowering CSMs requires empathy and taking time to understand a day in their life. When leaders know a CSM’s workload, challenges, and roadblocks, they can support them in relevant and personalized ways. Similarly, understanding what tools CSMs need to do their jobs helps leaders provide the best resources and systems.

Many companies chase software to find suitable systems for their CS teams. But constantly switching processes takes a toll on CSMs who have to adjust their approach and change their workflows. Constant change hurts productivity and employee morale. Be strategic about system changes to keep employees engaged.

Happy customers are crucial to an organization’s success, and CSMs play a vital role in that effort. To get the most out of your people, you must put resources and effort into your people. Developing a strong CSM employee experience sets the stage for solid customer relationships, engaged employees, and continual growth.

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