What Hard Skills Should Customer Success Managers Have?

Customer Success Manager hard skills

A question I don’t hear very often – but is still quite valid – is what hard skills should a Customer Success Manager have? It’s generally quite well known that CSMs or CSEs (Customer Success Engineers) have strong soft skills: patience, empathy, emotional intelligence, reading body language, etc. In a way, that means that “anyone” can become a CSM… as long as you can build on these soft skills.

As far as I know, there aren’t any hard skill requirements to being a Customer Success Manager. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t specific hard skills that would be of value in a tech SaaS. I’ll share a few with you here that I think would be worthwhile upskilling in. Who knows, they very well might be the difference between you and someone else getting a job offer.

Query/Web Languages

Customer Success Managers don’t need to know how to code. That’s definitely in the territory of being a web developer or software engineer. Having said that, there are languages like SQL and HTML that sometimes pop up on job descriptions.

While SQL is not used for writing software, it does serve an important purpose: it’s used to organize and search for data fields and objects. As your tech organization matures, there will be more and more complex data. Some of this data will relate to your SaaS’s usage, or your customers’ behavior. So if you know how to write SQL to query data tables and extract that information out, it’s a useful skill to communicate with higher ups as to the effectiveness of your CS efforts.

Customer Relationship Management (CRMs)

Customer Relationship Management software is used to organize and look after customer information. CRMs often produce the data tables that SQL can be used to extract data from. Often, this isn’t required because CRM companies build User Interfaces (UI) that can allow non-techy people to find the information they need quickly and easily.

This doesn’t mean though that anyone can pick up the navigation of CRMs straight away. They themselves are complex pieces of software and funnily enough, they themselves might also have Customer Success Managers who can help you use their solutions better!

Common CRMs used by tech companies are:

If you can put on your resume that you’ve at least used one of these before, it can give you the edge in a CSM job application.

Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets

We can’t go past good, old spreadsheets. As clunky as they can be, when it comes to cobbling up a solution that organizes data, Excel is the OG. It lets you be as in depth as you want to be, or as simple as you want to be as well.

Of course, true Excel gurus can build complex pivot tables, macros and formulae that talk to one another, as well as to external servers that update the spreadsheet with information every day. In the absence of CRMs, spreadsheets can still present powerful information that informs senior management of usage metrics, customer health and sentiment scores.

If you’re coming from a background like accounting where you might be not half bad at Excel and you want to move into a more people-focused like Customer Success, Excel skills will put you in good stead. Bringing some spreadsheets that you’ve done and repurposing them to show data related to Customer Success might just wow the interviewer.

I’ll repeat: there aren’t any true hard skills that serve as prerequisites for Customer Success Engineers. This doesn’t mean that if you possess skills in using CRMs, writing SQL/HTML or using Excel, that you’ll be a disadvantage. If anything, you’ll be at a huge advantage, as long as you can also prove that you have decent soft skills to complement them. Definitely put them into your resume and even consider having a portfolio showing off what you’ve done for an added edge in the interview.

5 Qualities of Crap Customer Success Managers

Had a thought the other day about what sort of people would make decent Customer Success Managers. Looking in Google showed that there were quite a few articles about it. Not wanting to write another “me too” blog, I flipped the idea on its head. This blog post is going to be all about five qualities that poor customer success managers have.

Bad With People

It’s no secret: if you’re not good with people, you probably shouldn’t be a Customer Success Manager. “But Johnson,” I hear you say, “you can’t just assume that the customer is always right.” That’s the thing, if the customer is wrong, I will make to let them know. In some cases, it’s better that they’re told this by their CSM so they stop making the same mistake.

Customer Success Managers have to enjoy working with people because customers are people. Shock horror, I know.

Cannot Prioritize

There are always conflicting priorities being a Customer Success Manager. Today when I logged in, I had one of the product managers start a new Slack group, pinging a group of the CSMs about a feature that they were thinking of building that needed our input. Last week, I had a Product Marketing Manager ask for help in getting screenshots for a blog article.

This is on top of the stream of emails and phone calls that come in throughout the day, each customer wanting help right now. If you’re not able to prioritize your work, you’re going to have a bad time.

Thinks that selling is icky

Let me be clear: Customer Success Management is not a sales role. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do any of it. Many if not all CSM roles will have a component that relates to expansion. This means that the customer should be paying more to you each year.

Of course, you would only do this if in your eyes, the value you’re getting from the SaaS is increasing as well. That’s what you have to do well as a CSM. Show your customers how they’re getting value out of your solution and expertly guide them towards conversations about how paying more gets them more value. It’s a subtle skill, but one that good CSMs have.

Doesn’t like surprises

I’m not talking about, “surprise, it’s your birthday!” type surprises. I mean, the unpleasant kind from customers:

  • you think everything’s going well, and then they suddenly churn and stop paying for your product,
  • a customer rings you late in the day and asks you to help them with something,
  • a customer actually comes into your office and asks for you because you haven’t been returning their calls.

OK, that last one’s a bit extreme, but you get the gist of it. Truth is, Customer Success gets you really involved in the customer’s life, so they might get a bit clingy. Setting boundaries is key, as well as being able to brush off these “surprises” and go with the flow.

Doesn’t like technology

The majority of companies hiring for customer success managers now are tech companies solving complex problems. That’s primarily why you’re there, to help the customers use the software better than they can learn how to use it themselves to get value sooner.

If you yourself aren’t open to learning how to better use technology or you find it gets in the way of your life, then you’d better learn how to embrace it or consider a different career path.

I don’t think there is a Customer Success Manager out there who possesses all five of these qualities. If there was one, I’d be curious how they came to be in the role in the first place. You might find yourself having one or maybe even two of these qualities. Heck, working with customers is hard. There are days where it doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. It’s only a problem if it’s ongoing.

How does this make you feel about getting into a CSM career? Hope I haven’t scared you off!

What Sort of Career Path can a Customer Success Manager Take?

Career path after Customer Success Manager

You’re thinking ahead about your future career in tech. You’re already settled on being a Customer Success Manager. You have the skills and enjoy working with people. But hold on. What about what happens a few years in? What does the pathway look like after you’ve demonstrated that you’re good at what you do? That’s what I hope to show you in this blog.

You can stay either “on” the path or “off” the path. By that, I mean that you can keep CSMing, or explore pathways elsewhere within your organization. The great thing about being a CSM is that it lends itself quite well to lateral or sideways moves. Reason for this is that it’s naturally quite cross-functional, that is, you work with different departments to build the best possible customer experience. I’ll give an intro into a few of these other departments and how they might appeal to you.

On the path

  • Senior: if you’re in a larger organization, or even a smaller one that’s hiring more CSMs, being the senior one that shows the newbies the ropes is going to be the most natural progression if you just keep at it. This is also known as being an Individual Contributor (IC).
  • Operations: this is an alternative IC role that’s fast emerging as one that more mature organizations have. Basically, it’s about building systems to assist with the tracking of CSM data so that it’s easier to see if CSM initiatives are working. If you have an analytical mind, like working with data and are good with systems like Excel, this could be a path that you take.
  • Leader: if you’re good at managing people, then the alternative pathway is to manage a team of CSMs. You might need management/leadership training, but the key here is that you’re able to help your team perform better.

Off the path

  • Sales: sales and customer success are like two peas in a pod. Salespeople get customers through the funnel and hand them over the customers to receive the white glove treatment. When it comes to critical intervals like after the first year, CSMs then work together with sales to renew and expand the customers so they pay the organization more money. Maybe you’ve found that you care less about helping the customer use the software and have more of a knack of getting to the right people and demoing the product. Sales careers are also very people focused and can be very lucrative, not only earning a high base salary but also commissions/bonuses as a result of hitting targets.
  • UX Design: UX Design is a key discipline that examines the customer journeys and focuses on building digital experiences that make said customer journeys smoother. If you’ve ever downloaded a new app and felt that it was pretty slick and easy to use, that’s often the result of a strong UX Design. This is likely to need a certification, but if you have shown interest in this area and can build a case for management to cover the cost, it’s an area worth exploring.
  • Product Management: product management is another potential vertical worth exploring. It’s about looking at the internal and external environment of a digital product and finding out how to build it to be as best as it can be. Internal environment is to do with managing the often conflicting priorities and limited resources to build the product, whereas external environment relates to what’s in the market now, where trends are heading and how to build what will make users keep using you into the future. Also a multidisciplinary role and known as being the “CEO of the product” it’s a great role that itself has great growth trajectories in a SaaS organization.

These are only a few of the directions you can take your career if you’re working as a CSM in a SaaS company. You might do something else entirely different. Safe to say, if you excel as a CSM, you should have no worries about where your career will go. On the path or off, you have options as long as keep your eyes open to opportunities.

How to be a Customer Success Manager for SaaS Companies

Customer Success Manager for SaaS

Software-as-a-Service, also known as SaaS, is the use of a digital product to solve real, everyday problems. Less about your Instagrams, TikToks and Facebooks (although they are there to solve the “problem” of boredom and discovery) and more about Xero, AirBnB and Tableau. The problems that SaaSes solve tend to be more complex and while efforts are made to improve the User Experience so that the software is more intuitive to use, there is still a wide gap to bridge.

That’s where you come in, as a Customer Success Manager. You act as

  • the subject matter expert,
  • product expert, and
  • customer advocate.

Sounds like a big job, huh? While it seems like three fields above, they’ve very much all melded into the other, with the focal point being the customer’s experience. Of all the roles there might be in a SaaS organization, the CSM is going to be the closest to the customer.

You can think of yourself as holding the keys to the customer’s inner sanctum of hopes and fears. They have a goal that they want to achieve by using your SaaS. You need to do everything in your power to help them achieve this. Here are the things you need to do well to succeed in a customer success manager for SaaS role:

Teach

Teaching your users to get the most value out of the SaaS is the number one skill you need as a Customer Success Manager. This is easier said than done. While you might know a piece of software inside out, having the patience to walk a customer through it (sometimes repeatedly), “speak their language” so that those who are less tech savvy understand what you’re saying and reinforce learning are the “beneath the tip of the iceberg” skills here that separate the good from the great.

Instill Belief

How to instill belief as a CSM

One of my favorite business books is The Business of Belief, by Tom Asacker. In it, he talks about helping people change their beliefs as being like helping them cross a bridge. The bridge is long, spans a far distance and is a bit rickety. It sways in the wind and you don’t feel very safe while you’re crossing it.

As a customer success manager trying to teach someone how to use a new SaaS, you wouldn’t shove someone roughly in the back while they’re up there. You wouldn’t take them up there then leave them alone to try and cross it themselves. You would be right behind them or next to them and move as fast as they do. You would reassure and encourage and make them feel that they are going in the right direction. Then, once they get to the other side, you would praise and give them all the credit.

Manage Change

This last one seems obvious enough, but is the toughest of the lot to do. Why? It takes the second point above – instilling belief – and does it at scale. That is, you make not just one user, but possibly hundreds, maybe thousands of users all believe that your SaaS is the way forward for the whole company in addressing their problem. Furthermore, you’ll be working with not only users, but other internal stakeholders that you might need to win over. For example, those who are actually paying for the solution, or the C-suite who want to see a significant difference in the balance sheet.

Now you wouldn’t be doing this by yourself. You would have product managers, engineers, tech support, business development managers and so on, but the point is that as the customer success engineer, you would be expected to play a big part in owning this piece. Again, as the one closest to the customer, you should have an idea who the main “players” are in an organization, the pressure points that are stopping the solution from being more widely adopted and what has to be done to make widespread adoption happen.

Customer Success Management for SaaS companies is a really rewarding career. On the surface, it’s about being the product and subject matter expert. Deeper, your the agent of change, instiller of belief and educator for your customers. If you enjoy making an impact, you’ll enjoy being a CSM.

How to Work From Home as a Customer Success Manager

Customer Success Manager working from home

It was February 2020 when I made the leap to a Customer Success Manager role in a tech start up. I’d been searching for a few months for a role and was excited to start. Little did I know that a couple months later, COVID-19 would be rearing its ugly head, confining millions of Australians to their homes in an effort to minimize transmission. The work from home experiment had started.

Fast forward to today, work from home is far from an experiment. In fact, it’s now considered a must-have for many workers in the tech space. Many traditional companies who had begrudgingly allowed their staff to work from home are now asking these same staff to come back into the office, knowing full well that it’s not just possible, but also beneficial for staff to at least have the flexibility to work some days at home.

It’s been a mixed bag for me. I liked seeing my colleagues and customers face to face. Indeed, I feel that there is value in human to human interactions that you can’t mimic through a Zoom meeting. Having said that, working from home meant that I was able to spend time closest to my young family. I saw my boy’s first steps and was able to help toilet train him. Timing wise, it was great in helping me balance family and work. And really, that’s what it’s all about.

If you’re coming from a job like hospitality, construction or another industry where WFH isn’t a norm, here are a few things to keep in mind to get you ready for your transition.

Get a good desk and chair

Later in 2020, a Business Development Manager joined the company I started at earlier in the year. It wasn’t until several months later that I met him in person (he was taller in person!). Anyway, on one of the calls, he asked if there were any good ergonomic chair and desk suppliers we knew. Our CEO quickly jumped in and said that he could help send the chairs that he’d bought earlier over to him, specifically to help alleviate bad posture.

The interesting experience from working from home for me is that most days, I still spent hunched over my computer if I didn’t have customer meetings. If anything, because there were no “water cooler” moments, I got up less. Having suitable furniture is important. Ask your company if this is something that they cover. At the very least, a pedestal for your laptop can help with hunching.

Telecomm Allowance

You’ll be doing a lot of talking on the phone and of course using the Internet if you’re a SaaS Customer Success Manager. It is entirely reasonable that the company covers these costs, as they are required for you to work.

If you’re going to be on the road quite a bit, travelling to see customers, it might even be worth seeing if you can expense AirPods or other wireless earbuds. At the very least, you have to keep your receipts so you can use them as tax offsets.

Expectation Management

This last one that I’ll put down is not about equipment. It’s about managing your own and your company’s expectations. Good companies will happily give you the flexibility to work from home, but it should never be taken advantage of. SaaS companies are still businesses that need to run a profit to stay open.

Your manager isn’t stupid; they’ll know that you won’t be at your computer all the time. The good ones won’t expect that you are. However, they will expect you to get the work done at the end of the day as if you were in the office. That is, your output shouldn’t change irrespective of whether you’re in the office or working from home. Don’t be dumb like some people and buy something like a “mouse wiggler” that gives the appearance of being online.

Lastly, your own expectations. Work from home can be both a blessing and a curse. Blessings come in the form of flexibility and curses I’ve found come in the form of having less work life balance if you have poor self control. I mean, the computer is right there so it can be hard to switch off at the end of the day. I know that I’ve been guilty of checking emails and Slack on my phone after hours. If you’re a workaholic, be disciplined enough to switch off your computer and devices so you can adequately refresh and recharge before the next day of work starts.

So there you have it, working from home as a customer success manager tips of the trade. Are there any that I’ve missed? Or do you have any stories you want to run past me? Let me know in the comments belowww…

Can You Earn 60K as a Customer Success Manager?

Is it possible to make $60,000 as a Customer Success Manager?

At the time of writing this (July 2022), inflation’s going a bit crazy all around the world. The cost of basics and necessities are through the roof, meaning that it’s a lot harder to make ends meet, let alone have a bit extra at the end of the paycheck to spoil yourself.

If you’re trying to future-proof your career and protect your (future) family, a career in tech can provide those growth opportunities. You might not be an engineer, developer or coder, but if you know how to use tech and are good at simplifying the complex, a career as a Customer Success Manager might be a good fit for you.

Straight to business: how much can you earn as a customer success manager, exactly? What if I told you that it was entirely possible to be earning $60K straight away in your first CSM role? For the record, I’m talking about $60,000 USD here. Equivalent is about £50,000 GBP, €60,000 EUR and about $80-85,000 AUD.

For those of you who are sick of earning at or below minimum wage, getting abuse hurled at everyday and feeling stuck, this could be your ticket out. I don’t want to hype things up; there are quite a few factors involved but there are job listings offering this salary range off the bat. So let me talk a bit more about how you can give yourself the best possible chance of getting in at this range.

Product type

You want to look for companies that offer a Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS for short. These are going to be the majority of the tech companies that have customer success roles. Generally, these companies are solving complex problems that often have digital solutions that benefit from having a human on the other side helping their customers get the most value out of it.

What SaaS companies also do is sell subscriptions, which tends to help with their financial strength. Assuming the product effectively solves the problem, the missing piece is having them pay this subscription to keep access to the SaaS product, which is where you come in as a CSM.

Company size

The great thing here is that there are tech companies popping up all the time. The big ones that you see everywhere, and possibly use the solutions for, might have customer success managers who you’ve interacted with in the past.

As someone looking for their first role in Customer Success, I wouldn’t be too picky. Getting in on the ground floor of a smaller company might be a risk, especially if that company hasn’t achieved product-market fit, but if this economy has shown anything, it’s that even the larger companies with hundreds, if not thousands of employees, can suddenly let go of many of them at the drop of a hat.

Location

Perhaps most exciting here is the location. Again, there are SaaS tech companies popping up everywhere, so it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a company that’s hiring in your area.

Furthermore, with Coronavirus doing what it did throughout 2020 and beyond, there are of course now expectations that companies are flexible. Candidates like yourself have bargaining power to ask for flexible working conditions. If you’re working in a US state like Colorado, which is Mountain Time, you might find yourself working remotely for a tech company based out of New York, which is Eastern Daylight Time. This can be a great match for those who wake up early and finish early.

All in all, it’s entirely possible for you to earn $60K USD in your first year as a customer success manager. Look at what’s available and consider what you want out of your career in tech. Once you’ve found a job that you like, use my resources, which I’m slowly building out to give you a boost in your job hunt. Good luck!

Is Being a Customer Success Manager Stressful?

Is being a Customer Success Manager stressful?

So I thought I’d change up articles today and answer other questions about not what a Customer Success Manager does, but more so how it is being one. Looking in Google and starting the search with, “is Customer Success Manager…” and looking and what gets autofilled, “stressful” is one of the first few. So I thought I’d tackle this one.

My answer is No. Here’s why.

Obviously what I say isn’t gospel, but I’d love to talk more about why it is no. Also, these are my own experiences and I can’t definitely say that it’ll be the same for you. Every company is different, after all. I wanted to dispel some non-truths about being a customer success manager that might make it seem that it’s a stressful job.

It’s a sales job

I’m going to make it super clear: a customer success manager is not a sales person. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. There is no cold calling, there is no pressure selling. Yes, there might be KPIs to meet in relation to expanding/retaining your accounts, as well as preventing churn, but these aren’t the same as the targets salespeople need to meet as part of their jobs.

If you get an interview and they start talking about sales targets, run for the hills! The company is probably trying to do a switcheroo and sell you something that it’s not.

You deal with angry people all day

This is also not true. I mean, you would deal with some people who might not like your company or product because they’re being made to use it, but it certainly shouldn’t be the norm. If it is, there’s probably far deeper problems to do with the UX of the product or the way that the users become customers in the first place.

You focus more on being a supporter and partner for your customer as a customer success manager. You’re there to help them become proficient and confident at using your product. They should be happy and excited at finding a way to solve their problems using your product as a solution. So no, you shouldn’t be dealing with angry people all day.

It’s a chaotic role

This one may or may not be true. Depends on your definition of chaos. Can it be quite unstructured? Absolutely. Particularly in younger tech organizations. You might end up wearing many hats, dabbling in a bit of product management, being tech support and assisting sales with demos.

For me personally, that’s part of the charm. I like being kept on my toes and having variety in my day. When many departments need me to pitch in, I feel valued. But if your company does gain traction, you should eventually see that chaos starting to subside. Your day-to-day work should be more manageable. However, it doesn’t mean that your value within the organization diminishes. Your expertise should be called upon regularly.

So overall, no, I don’t think customer success management is stressful for the above three reasons. Maybe you’ve heard otherwise. I’d be curious to hear your stories. Have other people said that their experience has been a nightmare?

How to Become an Entry Level Customer Success Manager

customer success manager entry level guide

While Customer Success Management is generally a job that benefits from experience, this doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely necessary. In fact, one of my colleagues at a Series B scale-up is a CSM. It was his first job out of university.

In a one-on-one, he shared some details with me as how he got into the role, citing the experience that he used to persuade the hiring manager (also his manager in real life) to give him a chance. I’ll also sprinkle in some advice you can use to also get your foot in the door.

What do students do?

Not a trick question: what do students do? They… study of course. They learn things in order to get good marks so that eventually, they graduate with that magical piece of paper.

Of course, as part of studying, a good way to test your knowledge is to teach. That is what my colleague did. Fresh out of high school, he offered tuition services to people who were still in school as a bit of a side gig. Cast your mind back to high school or middle school. Remember differential equations, calculus and the like? How about physics transformations, chemistry formulas and biology flora and fauna?

My colleague simplified complex concepts for students going through school, which is a key skill required to excel as a customer success manager. It’s no surprise now that he’s absolutely killing it at work.

What have you done?

Sorry, couldn’t help it. 😂

Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that you probably have experience in some way, shape or form that you’re not even aware of that makes you a good candidate for customer success, even if you haven’t worked before. Think about:

  • social clubs that you’ve been a part of. Have you volunteered to help with “IT stuff”?
  • family is a good source of training as a CSM. Are you the guy or gal that people go to if their “Google” breaks?
  • if you’ve tried to improve any sort of process anywhere at your part-time job (or even a school project) and communicated this with everyone.

Chances are, if you’ve done something, there’s a way to communicate it as experience that can put you in good stead for your first entry level role in Customer Success.

What can you do?

“But Johnson”, I hear you say. “I’ve done nothing. Like, literally nothing.”

First, I don’t believe you. You’re not trying hard enough. But just for the benefit of the doubt, let’s say you really have been living under a rock. If you’re serious about a job in customer success, just start. Here are some ideas:

  • Look at the apps you like to use. Consider what you like and don’t like about the user experience. Write up a blog about it and post it. share it on LinkedIn (create a LinkedIn account if you haven’t done so yet).
  • Look online and see if there are people asking questions or complaining about how hard something is to do. Look for apps or websites. Make a response TikTok, blog, or YouTube video.
  • Volunteer at a library and be the guy that older folk can get help from with their tech queries. This last one is particularly useful, because if you can help oldies figure out tech, you can help anyone figure out tech.

Whatever you do, stick with it and start documenting it in a resume. Track the results if possible. Get comfortable talking with people and sharing your achievements. Before you know it, you’ll have the experience you’ll need and will be able to find your first IRL customer success manager role. Good luck!

Why Should I Become a Customer Success Manager?

Why become a Customer Success Manager?

If you’re reading through this blog, there’s a good chance that you’re doing so because you’re interested in becoming a Customer Success Manager. You’ve been on LinkedIn, Seek, Monster.com and all the job boards and seen that there’s a lot of hiring going on right now in 2022 as tech companies look for people who are good at simplifying complexity to look after their customers.

But one question remains: why become a Customer Success Manager in the first place?

search trends for Customer Success Manager in Google

You can see that search trends for Customer Success Managers in Google are as high as they’ve ever been. The above graph is for the United States, but the same behavior can be seen in all countries that tech companies call home.

I’m going to try and put aside my bias to tell you why you should consider a role as a CSM.

You don’t need specific qualifications

This is the big one for me. When I was working in client services, I wanted to take my experience and elevate it to a higher level role that would let me make more of an impact. After bumping around for a while, I found that Customer Success was a natural progression.

My background was in management and marketing, but what worked in my favor was my experience. It’s more about what you’ve done than what you’ve studied. While more and more certifications are popping up that give you a solid grounding in CS, don’t be fooled. These are not necessary to get you in the door.

Variety is the spice of life

I like being kept on my toes. It doesn’t only make the day go faster, but it helps me grow professionally and personally as well. The great thing about working in customer success is that no two roles are the same. It very much depends on the company and industry you’re working for.

If you’re in a younger company that’s starting to find product-market fit, a bit part of your job will be establishing best practices while literally writing a playbook that they can refer to. You’ll also likely play a big part in what features of a product get worked on.

If you’re in a more mature company, you probably will have more processes to abide to, but the variety comes from working with different people within the organization. Product, engineering, tech support, sales, finance… the list goes on. You can use your skills not only to connect with your customers, but also with the people trying to build your company to be the best damn version of itself.

Money’s pretty good

I’m not going to lie: the money isn’t anything to sneeze at in customer success. I remember the day that I started earning 6-figures. There is a feeling that you’ve “made it”. But the great thing is that it’s just the beginning.

You can take your career as deep as you want and there’s always going to be a market for experienced customer success managers. If you opt to be a people leader, that’s great too. Leading teams of CSMs is a skill in of itself. An emerging field is customer success operations, that is, setting the systems and analytics up to allow CSMs to focus on doing the work and excelling.

But as tech has grown, so have the opportunities to be paid well if you’re a good customer success manager.

Ultimately, I can’t decide for you whether you want to be a customer success manager or not. But hopefully with these three reasons, it’s given you some food for thought. I’d love to see you on the other side!

What Does a Day In the Life of a CSM Look Like?

What does a customer success manager do daily?

I’ve been in customer success for a fair few years now, cutting my teeth in customer service before making the leap. If you like variety, but also having measurable ways to track your own growth and success, a career in customer success might be right for you.

Before you make the leap, you might be wondering what a customer success manager actually does daily. That’s what this post is all about. Let me take you behind the curtain and show you what my typical day looks like:

  • I work remotely, so my day starts at around 7:30am. I get the kids’ lunches ready while making my breakfast. I might log into Slack and check my emails, but for work-life balance, it’s probably better that I actually don’t do this.
  • 8:30am. It depends on the day, but we might have an organisation-wide, all-hands meeting, or a department-wide session where customer success managers from the US and Australia log-in to get updates on the organisation. I dial in from my phone, making sure to turn my mike and camera off.
  • 9:00am. I’m “officially” online, but likely have been reading emails for the past half hour or so. I check the rest of my channels in Slack for any updates from the US while I was asleep.
  • 10:00am. We have a pod meeting for our go-to-market team. This compromises of our sales, customer success and support teams. We shoot the shit for a while before talking about specific customers that we all need to be across.
  • 11:00am. Morning tea. Stand up, stretch, make myself a cuppa. Got to make sure that I get some sunshine too.
  • 11:30am. Internal meeting with product or design. These are teams that build our digital SaaS. Because we’re at the coalface, speaking with customers, they’ll often show us prototypes or ask us about what customers want to prioritise.
  • 12:30pm. This is usually when I start thinking about lunch. If I was smart, I would’ve bought ready-made meals from Aldi that I can just pop in the oven. Otherwise, I might treat myself by going out and grabbing a bite.
  • 2:00pm. Customer meeting. It might be a kick-off, if the customer’s new, or it could be a training session during the onboarding phase. Or it could be a deep-dive into a specific workflow or question they have about whether our product can be configured in a certain way.
  • 3:30pm. Ad-hoc responding to emails, taking calls/calling customers back and fighting fires. This is usually sprinkled out through the day, but can be busier at month end. Pick up kid from after school.
  • 4:00pm. I might spend a bit of time doing some professional development. Learning a bit about Gainsight or analytics that helps me be more of an effective customer success manager.
  • 5:00pm. And thaaaat’s time! I’ll often work a bit overtime if there’s a customer issue I don’t want to leave hanging over, but I try to make a habit of finishing on time.

Hardest part about working from home is setting boundaries. I have found myself doing more work at odd hours of the night when I suddenly remembered that I had something to do.

What do you think about remote customer success life? Does it appeal to you? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section belowww…