client success manager

Client Success Manager: The Key Hire for Agencies

You founded a company. Now it’s growing rapidly and it’s time to hire a Client Success Manager. Congratulations!

Probably you already have a team that is productive, innovative, organized, and growing. Sales are growing rapidly and you need to hire “additional players” to maintain a smooth development pace and a high level of customer satisfaction. After explaining your position to a few colleagues, some may think you don’t need a Client Success Manager. Others, on the contrary, recommend such a specialist for further work. 

So, let’s break down what helps a successful business create a positive client experience today.  

For agencies that want to improve retention and loyalty rates, it’s critical to create an effective team. The key link here is the CSM, who thinks through various strategies for developing client relationships.

If you are not sure whether to hire a client success manager for your agency at this time. What is their value and what competencies they should have, you have the opportunity to explore this question in detail below.

client success manager

The Identity Of The Сlient Success Manager

In today’s agencies, such an employee is often referred to as an “account manager” or client manager.  

Such an employee works up front, anticipating user and client problems problems. 

A Client Success Manager is the voice of the customer and clients in any business. After all, the main goal is to show the value of the product or service to the customer and transfer the feedback from users to the team.

It is safe to refer to their activity as “customer care service”, which more fully reflects the essence of the concept.

Difference Between a Client Success Manager and Customer Support

It is easy to confuse a Client Success Manager with a basic Customer Support type of role: both help customers solve problems and talk to people a lot. 

But unlike technical support specialists and contact centers, a client success manager does not wait for a problem to occur. They try to prevent the user from having an unpleasant experience with the company from the get-go. They’re far more likely to have longer-term relationships with the clients as well, whereas Customer Support tends to be a bit more, “in the door and out the other”.

HireUA Founder/CEO Kyle Mau recorded an entire video about this: 

Client Success Manager can take on the tasks of technical support. But the main goal is to prevent customers from encountering problems and to make sure that they get the most out of the product.

Client Success Manager: Responsibilities

The main responsibility of a client success manager is to make sure that the product or service solves users’ problems. Often these are not specific people, but other companies or businesses. To do this, the manager works directly with customers and interacts with colleagues from other teams.

What exactly does a CSM have to do on the job?

1. Introduce Users To The Product

This is the first and most important task in the specialist’s job. He can call a new customer and determine the features of the service which would bring him the most benefit.

Imagine, a new customer wants a convenient tool for tracking employee performance and automated analytics. 

In that case, the CSM should:

  • Explain how to setup and manage analytics 
  • Find out what the client wants to see in it 
  • Show how to use graphs and charts 

At the same time, there should be constant communication with the client.

2. Explain The Benefits Of The Product/Service

Since the Client Success Manager communicates a lot with the company’s customers, they find out what business challenges they are facing. They can offer them how to solve them with the help of the product.

For example: 

A new customer from the Internet space, wants to improve the reputation of their brand. They need to respond quickly to bad reviews on social media. The CSM’s job is to tell him about features that will help him recognize negative feedback.

client success managers

3. Build Relationships Between Departments

Not all issues are the responsibility of the support manager. For example, technical difficulties, minor problems with the product, or basic business questions, should be addressed by the support.

To solve such short-term problems quickly and efficiently, CSM helps to adjust support relationships with other departments within the company. 

Specifically with:

  • Sales 
  • Marketing 
  • The Product Management Team 
  • Developers 

All of this subsequently affects the client.

After all, support is the first to know about many of the client’s problems, and you need to make sure it understands what to do about it and where to pass it on.

4. A Client Success Manager Bridge The Gap Between Sales and Customer Support

After someone becomes a customer, customer success management professionals continue to work in the sales department.

They help take on customers and become mentors to your customers.

The CSM’s main job is to start working with customers as quickly as possible and monitor their satisfaction as they grow.

5. Provide Clients With a Quick Time to Achieve Value

There are the following key milestones in the customer lifecycle:

  • When customers emerge
  • When they achieve their first success

Each client defines the moment of success differently.

Sometimes it’s financial success, such as exceeding their monthly income target because of your product. Sometimes it’s a smaller personal success, such as realizing that your product saves them time.

Either way, the gap between these milestones is the most characteristic of churn.

After the initial excitement passes, clients must learn how to use your product or service. Without a qualified professional to guide this process, buyers are likely to become frustrated and lose interest.

6. Monitor Engagement By Renewing Relationships 

CSM makes sure that clients are loyal and continue to use the product/services. They check in with them regularly to make sure they are continually engaged with the company’s services or products.

This intervention is surprisingly necessary because regular product usage often doesn’t happen organically.

It’s hard to retain customers if they don’t see the benefits to themselves. 

The Client Success Manager works to keep those benefits in the spotlight at all times.

For example, a CSM keeps track of the dates their subscriptions expire and checks to see how things are going. If they notices problems, the said CSM goes out and actively looks for where the difficulties might be and how to fix them.

7. Client Success Managers Increase Loyalty + Reduce Client Churn

Having a CSM overseeing the client engagement process helps retain the clients. But this relationship goes beyond the onboarding process.

Client Success Managers focus on gaining and maintaining longterm loyalty. They try to understand customer needs and build relationships with key stakeholders to earn trusted advisor status over time.

8. Maintain A “High-Level View” of The Entire Support Process

Client Success Managers are involved in several stages of the client lifecycle, so they have a bird’s-eye view of the situation.

Service reps may know what problems are most common, but they only see the problem up close. CSMs see which problems affect multiple customers and predict what those trends mean for future churn.

Their high-level perspective allows success managers to see potential problems and turn them into dollars saved – for their customers and your business.

9. Protecting The Interests of the Client 

The client success manager also has insight into future product updates and changes. A CSM knows their problems better than anyone else, what they like and don’t like. That’s why CSMs can advocate for their clients, syncing up their wishes to the company’s overall strategy.

One of the tasks of CSM is to organize the collection and analysis of feedback, as well as user statistics. The CSM then passes this data on to other departments in the company. This helps to take into account the desires of customers when making decisions about the product and its development, to guide the company on what will lead users to success.

For example, a CSM notices that many customers are asking for a similar product upgrade. They can justify the strategic importance of this upgrade to product managers. That way, the improvement will be made and users will be satisfied.

Similarly, Client Success Managers can advocate for the company by getting the client’s attention for upcoming product launches and updates. They are in a unique position to increase sales and cross-sell based on customer needs.

client success managers HireUA
The HireUA team in Warsaw, Poland — July 2023

10. A Client Success Manager Should Maintain a Client-Oriented Atmosphere Internally

Customers centricity is not the job of one team, which must work on behalf of the entire company.

However, Client Success Managers can help other teams put the customer first by voicing customer concerns and monitoring their pain points. They collaborate with their colleagues in customer service, sales, support, product, and the entire business to ensure that customer needs are voiced loud and clear.

The Client Success Manager also identifies, communicates, and solves moderately complex customer problems. They offer product solutions to pain points and find opportunities to expand your business.

The role of such professionals is especially important in the B2B segment. A good account manager can drive new customer acquisition and keep large, paying customers in the company’s sights for many years. As a result, it helps generate a lot of revenue. It makes the business owner happy.

The Pareto rule works here: 80% of the profits come from 20% of the customers.

Although the specifics of customer service vary greatly from area to area, in general, this scheme works for any business. And an unqualified manager can lose a major client and ruin the company’s reputation.

Skills Your Client Success Manager Must Have

To be able to handle all of the tasks listed above, a Client Success Manager must have certain skills and personality traits.

We will divide them into two categories:

Professional Skills

  • Ability To Analyze  

Analytical skills will come in handy to make data-driven decisions. CSMs are constantly looking at metrics and, if something goes wrong with them, delving into the causes.

  • Understand The Specifics Of The Industry 

Often, to be a successful manager, you need to have a good understanding of the specifics of the particular niche for which the agency is working. For example, to understand brand managers for whom the company is monitoring, you need to know their competencies, tasks, and area of responsibility.

  • Time Management 

Client Success Managers often have to manage multiple projects and clients at the same time. They will need strong project management and organizational skills, as well as the ability to optimally prioritize to get the job done.

  • In-depth Interview & Good Writing Skills

Also, CSM has to know how to conduct in-depth interviews with users – at least he has to know the basics of customer development. The text-writing skills will come in handy too, to write articles for the company’s blog about how the product solves the problems of particular users, as well as different FAQs and knowledge bases for the customers.

Soft Skills

  • Ability To Communicate

In many companies, half of a Client Success manager’s time is spent communicating with the service user: Training, interviews or collecting feedback.

Therefore, without the ability to communicate with people and build friendly relationships with them, you can’t go anywhere.

Clients Success Managers often take on the role of leading the customer success team. They act as mentors to younger team members and may provide executive coaching or other initiatives to develop client success.

  • Collaboration Skills

Success managers must demonstrate a love of teamwork and the ability to work with various internal groups to improve the customer experience. One of their primary roles is to communicate customer pain points to the various teams in the organization.

  • Being Empathic 

This is the ability to catch the mood of the conversation, to feel the interlocutor. When communicating with a client, you need to be able to position the person you’re talking to and find out what challenges they’re facing. And when interacting with marketing, product teams, or developers, you need to be able to talk about the challenges and what changes can solve them.

client success manager

The Importance of a Client Success Manager in YOUR Business/Agency

Proper interaction with customers is important for business success because:

  • Stable relationships with loyal customers are less costly than constantly searching for new ones
  • Recommendations from a satisfied customer increase a company’s reputation. The number of people interested in cooperating grows without the expense of advertising
  • Permanent contractors start buying more over time, and the company’s profit increases

One of the main criteria of good service for most customers is a fast solution to their questions. Professional CMS will allow you to analyze and improve the work of your agency and you will see the results immediately after the start of work.

Conclusion: Hiring Your Client Success Manager

By choosing Client Success, you are taking care of your customers.

The CSM will keep the situation under control so that the user is satisfied, wants to work with your agency further, and maintain longterm loyalty. A fruitful relationship for everybody involved.

Don’t waste time and start your search for the perfect CSM with HireUA right now.

— Anastasia

PS: This kind of role isn’t one that you want to hire from Upwork, and HireUA presenter Maria explains why in this video.

About The Author

Anastasia Marinich

Anastasia was born in Odesa and realized at an early age that her work should be creative & enjoyable.

While studying marketing in her hometown, she moved to Germany and continued her education at 2 universities at the same time.As the saying goes "Choose a job to your heart's content and you won't have to work a day of your life!"

Anastasia obtained a degree in Art and has a knack for it. She takes the same approach to writing. Each text is like a picture with a special message and mood. Everyone will find something useful for themselves!

Today Anastasia lives and works in Germany. She travels a lot, practices Ashtanga yoga, learns new things, and continues her creative journey with the HireUA team!
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