Customer Success Management - a story of making friends

As a CSM, my job is to establish and nurture relationships with Tidio's most valuable customers. I'm responsible for understanding their needs, listening to their complaints if they have any, and helping them with different problems they might have. At first, I was looking at it as any other ordinary job, but with time I noticed that what I'm doing can be basically defined as...making friends. Believe it or not, this new approach not only improved how I do my job but also helped me understand the meaning behind it.

So, if you're wondering if the Customer Success Manager job is for you, or you're simply looking for ways to improve the quality of your work and, at the same time, increase your job satisfaction - you've come to the right place! In this article, you can find some essential tips which would really help me when starting up as a CSM.

Enjoy what you do

It is a simple but really underestimated rule. No matter how determined or capable you might be to perform a given task or fill a given role, you will always fall short and never reach your full potential if you do not truly enjoy what you do. Initially, I was out of my comfort zone when I started as a CSM (previously, I was working as a customer support agent), which caused me to do poorly during my first contact attempts. It took a few tries, but eventually, I started to get more comfortable in my new position, and after the first month, I finally started to enjoy doing what I was doing. It finally stopped being so stress-inducing, and I could gain confidence and focus on improving myself rather than surviving until the end of a meeting.

From that point, each new call was smoother than the last one, each new email more accurate, and each new customer better understood. Enjoyment is a starting point for our everyday growth.

Believe in your company/product

It's simply impossible to do an excellent job for a company whose goal is the opposite of what we believe in. If we don't agree with whichever our company stands for or our product or service is, then we will crumble under any type of pressure. Calls or meetings can go in different directions, and I was often forced to stay behind my product. At moments like those, it really shows how important it is to take pride in your company because otherwise, we will immediately sound ungenuine or run out of arguments. 

Don't pretend you care

This rule is connected to a story that quickly verified me and probably anyone else in a similar situation. And it doesn't affect only the customer success managers! During the initial part of a call, I always try to go for small talk to break the ice and make the person I'm talking with more comfortable. I can do a fine job with that now, but when I started, it was an absolute horror show! I was asking about things that I did not really care about, just to have anything to say, and I couldn't make a more significant mistake! It was hard for me to come up with something, but it caused me not to act naturally. When I pretend to care about a given topic or the person I'm talking with, it makes the entire conversation that much worse. Just like talking to people in person, each time you ask a question just for the sake of it, it will show immediately. Pretending simply indicates that you do not care. It's tough to establish relations based on ingenuity; even if we manage to do that, they will most likely be short-lived.

Set boundaries

It is natural that when establishing relations, we might start to develop empathy towards our clients simply because we might start to care about them and their businesses. That is completely fine and sometimes helps us do a better job because we can relate with the customer better, but drawing the line is always essential. Making sure that everyone is happy is simply impossible. If we become too attached or too empathetic, we might find ourselves going out of our way, working overtime, sacrificing our private life just for the sake of a customer, who at the end of the day might still be a lost cause. We will not win each time, and it's important to keep that in mind for our own sake.

Look for satisfaction and fulfillment 

This might be the most important tip because it is related to our mental well-being, but it is also the simplest. If you feel like you are not walking out of every meeting satisfied, or if you end each day without a feeling of fulfillment, it is the main sign that this job is not for you. Nothing is more important than feeling like you have accomplished something after a hard day. Gratification might come with time, but if there is no spark created by what you do, it will influence not only your mental health but also the way you work. 

Without the satisfaction, each call will become exhausting, each meeting tiresome, and everything else you do will be an annoying chore. Work should always be fulfilling, even when dealing with complex tasks or encountering troublesome challenges. Additional hardships should make it that much more satisfying after we finish it.

As I initially stated, a job of a CSM can be compared to making friends, and the tips I listed can also be used in personal relationships. This comparison might seem too farfetched initially, but it shouldn't stop you from trying this approach in your work. Our job should be as enjoyable as possible, so anything that helps us achieve that goal is a win, in my book. So the last thing to do now is to absorb all those tips, get out there and make some friends!

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