It’s already been a while since you entered the customer success space; you’ve onboarded dozens of customers, handled renewals and expansions, led accounts in a time of crisis, successfully managed the most challenging customers, and survived to tell the tale. Now, you realize it’s time to do more. With every customer success KPI constantly on your radar, your CSM eyes are constantly peeled for next-steps and opportunities to make sure your customer success ball is constantly rolling towards your ultimate goals.
There are a few routes you can explore:
- Taking ownership of enterprise accounts
- Building scalable programs for continuous customer success and satisfaction
- Mentoring new CSMs on your team
- Defining dashboards or CSM KPIs
One of the ways to figure out what will work best is to start putting things into action. Here are a few projects you can take and own that will allow you to explore and exercise your skill sets and so you can showcase your command of executing CSM strategy to your managers in the most effective way possible.
Step 1: Create customer onboarding templates that become your team’s go-to CSM tools
What’s in it for your team?
If a template is created well, it becomes a time-saving resource that maximizes your organization’s potential for scalability.A strong, easy-to-implement template reduces the overload of always trying to figure out things from the start as it guides you with the critical steps and action items.
What’s in it for you and your professional development?
Creating a template is a challenging task as you need to think about the generalization of day-to-day experiences — and then map them out visually. For example, building a template for customer onboarding requires you to understand the different types of customers, products, goals, etc. Owning the process behind what your template illustrates means that you own that very process from end-to-end, which is a significant career milestone and step forward.
How to get started with customer onboarding templates
There are many types of templates you can create; a presentation, a document with a checklist and resources, or a spreadsheet, depending on the type of interaction you want to conduct internally and externally. You can start by exploring some of our most recent customer onboarding templates:
- The Customer Onboarding Checklist Every B2B SaaS Company Needs
This client onboarding checklist breaks down the client onboarding process into measurable stages and milestones.
- Client Onboarding Questionnaire: 6 questions to Ask New Clients
This customer onboarding questionnaire template identifies the most productive, collaborative questions you should ask your clients to better understand their expectations and business workflows in an intuitive, transparent setting.
- Client Presentations for Customer Onboarding & Beyond
This compilation of client presentation templates is intended for all stages of the customer lifecycle, including the onboarding phase, which is a prerequisite for every life cycle stage that follows.
If you are an EverAfter user, you can also check out the Onboarding kit, Ongoing kit, and the EBR Executive Business Review) kit - to get you started.
Step 2: Build a comprehensive onboarding plan for new CSM hires
What’s in it for your team?
Training new employees takes, in many cases, your department’s most expensive resources. If this training process is not well-organized, it can often take up to4-5 months until a CSM is fully onboarded and in a position to deliver results. Ensuring that this process is fully managed is a win-win for the new hire, the company, and of course, for your customers.
What’s in it for you and your personal objectives?
Building a promising onboarding plan for newly hired CSMs implies that you have a comprehensive understanding of the role, the product, and your customers. Structuring an onboarding plan allows you to explore whether or not you enjoy (or prefer) the process-building or the CSM mentoring part, both of which are essential skills for becoming a team lead later on.
If this is the first employee onboarding program you are building, it’s also a great and easy opportunity to get feedback from internal stakeholders. After all, as those undergoing your new employee onboarding are themselves internal employees.. Constant, short-loop feedback will allow you to continuously improve this plan with each new employee.
How to implement your new CSM onboarding plan
- Start by gathering whatever already exists in your company and your department and structure a 30-day plan accordingly
- Create a friendly, well-organized checklist with everything you have in hand, like market landscape materials, personas overview, product training, etc.
- Add links to recordings of successful calls that you think the new hire would benefit from listening to, and some of your customer success email templates
- Add additional suggestions like scheduling 1:1s with each team member, sales, and product- Be fully prepared with this plan in advance — before the new team member joins and you can then see how it goes in parallel
Step 3: Suggest improvements to your team's weekly meetings
What’s in it for your team?
Ineffective meetings are a waste of time and resources, as well as exhausting for your team and its leaders. Since you are part of those meetings, it should be easy and natural for you to come up with suggestions that will benefit the meeting’s goals and outcomes, so everyone can ultimately gain more knowledge, track issues effectively, or balance the workload distribution.
What’s in it for your professional and personal growth?
Making improvements across the board, beyond your own domain, will help develop you as an integral, critical player within your team. If you do an excellent job, you might become the meeting facilitator — one step closer to becoming a team leader.
How to make meeting improvements happen
No meeting format is perfect. And if it is, it will not last for long as people and priorities change all the time, and the format needs to adjust. Would it be time to set an agenda, to ask people to come prepared to discuss key accounts? Is a new dashboard needed? Maybe you can also include a review on new product features and their adoption or the top support cases of the last month?
As an active meeting participant, you sure have a few insights; it’s time to act.
Step 4: Build a program to make customers more self-sufficient
What’s in it for your team and your goals?
The more self-sufficient your customers are, the more time you can spend doing the more strategic parts of your role; planning each customer account’s journey, investing in reaching the next steps, and looking everywhere possible for opportunities.
Moreover, in many industries, customers love feeling empowered; when they can move forward on their own, discover new capabilities, and accomplish their goals – their customer experience takes on a new level of fulfillment.
What’s in it for your skill set and path to growth?
Figuring out how customers can be more self-sufficient requires out-of-the-box thinking - being able to review and criticize the current process and come up with ideas to improve is a critical skill set in your path to growth.
How to ensure self-sufficiency for every customer
In many cases, the 2-3 items that have the most back and forth with the customer are easy to identify. These can include integration tasks or specific feature capabilities, or more.
Once you identify these bottlenecks, can you evaluate what’s causing them to be a challenge?Is there anything you can do to alleviate the issue at hand? Solutions could range from creating a detailed guide or video, and perhaps a checklist..
If you already have this topic in your knowledge base and it’s not helping customers expedite this phase, try to identify why that’s the case. Even ask those customers for honest feedback — the content might be too long, too short, or not addressing the issues they’re encountering. Either way, there must be something you can do to make a change!
We hope you got some ideas on where to start in your next steps. There are always many other projects you can take on. If you feel like sharing what you’ve accomplished with our blog readers, feel free to reach out to the EverAfter team!