What Makes a Good Customer Success Manager? Top 10 Tips

Customer experience has overtaken product and price as a reason for customer loyalty. This makes customer success more critical than ever. But while technology is evolving rapidly, it can’t replace the human touch – which is why you need an excellent customer success manager. But how do you find or train the right one? Read on to find out!

Zight | November 08, 2021 | 11 min read time

Article Last Updated: October 26, 2023

What Makes a Good Customer Success Manager? Top 10 Tips

You can no longer rely on your good product and competitive prices to retain loyal customers. Seeing that your customers have different needs and uses for your product or service, you must also provide the best customer experience to keep them satisfied. That’s why it’s good to have the best customer success teams starting from a great customer success manager.

But what makes a good customer success manager?

Customer satisfaction doesn’t just happen; it’s crafted, nurtured, and carefully managed by your customer success manager. They should understand your customers’ needs even before the customers do, and set them up to get the most value out of your product. Why? Because when your customers succeed, so do you. According to Forbes, customer success will identify and nurture high-value prospects into paid customers.

This article will cover the best tips a customer success manager can use to improve your business. Read on also to see how to use Zight for a better customer experience!

How Do You Succeed As A Customer Success Manager?

A customer success manager guides customers through a successful customer experience with a specific company and increases the value of their purchase. As business models evolve into consumption-based and subscription formats, the focus has shifted to ongoing customer satisfaction and retention.

Thus, the aim of successful customer success managers should not be to make a one-time sale – but to develop a lasting relationship with consumers where everyone’s goals and needs are met continuously.

A customer success manager’s job is to work on behalf of both the brand and the customer to determine how your company best fits the current needs. As demand and products change, customer success managers must continue guiding consumers toward valuable options.

But here’s the thing – your customer success manager must never sound like a salesperson pushing their agenda. They must listen and assess each unique situation to build customer trust. 

Honesty is crucial. As a client success manager establishes a strong rapport with customers, conversations must organically offer valuable insights that guide customers to a path of success – even if that doesn’t generate additional revenue.

It’s vital to identify efficiencies while delivering an incredible customer experience. Customer success is a real-time, proactive sales strategy that entails building relationships with existing clients, having an in-depth understanding of your business and product goals, and helping customers meet their goals through regular contact.

Each customer has unique needs and uses for your service or product, so it’s up to your customer success manager to thoroughly understand each existing customer and to be their champion throughout the client journey.

However, customer success is not to be confused with customer support. The latter seeks to solve individual customer issues or offer product guidance to specific customers. Often, customer support is reactive because the customer usually calls to report a problem they’re facing. 

Here are more tips that can make great customer success managers:

1. Stellar Communication

Developing effective customer relationships largely depends on how well employees and managers communicate with existing customers. Again, every customer faces unique obstacles throughout their entire customer journey, and it’s critical for them to feel heard. Successful customer success managers and teams know how to listen to understand customers’ problems and communicate viable solutions.

Thus, effective communication alone can endear customer success managers and their teams to customers. They can coax a resolution from difficult customers and assess situations before problems arise. Persuasion is a key component: help customers believe that the solution will work!

A customer success manager with excellent communication skills can even convert a product drawback to an advantage for your business by getting the customer to work past the issue.

How Zight Enhances Stellar Communication for Customer Success Managers

Communication is more than just a skill for customer success managers. You want to empower them with the best tools to reach customers – and communicate better while at it. That’s why a tool like Zight is essential.

With a range of features specifically designed to enhance visual communication, Zight empowers customer success managers to connect with clients more meaningfully and effectively.

After downloading Zight for Mac, Windows, and Chrome extension, here’s how to use it for better communication:

  • Video recording: You can communicate through video recordings. Just hit the Record button and record your computer screen and webcam to communicate better with customers. Video is more engaging; it lets you record steps your customer needs to follow while using your products or even troubleshoot problems. For continuous support, you want to have tons of videos ready on your knowledge bases also to encourage self-service
  • Screenshots: Zight lets you capture important moments or data on your computer screen and share them instantly, adding a visual layer to your communication. Just hit the Screenshot or Capture button and grab your entire screen or a section of it
  • GIFs: Want to convey simple steps to a solution your customers need? Use the GIF feature on Zight to record 60-second videos of your screen and share them instantly. GIFs are easy to use as they replay as long as the customer opens them, but you cannot use your mic when recording them – best to use annotations or record the actions on your screen that are easy to follow
  • Annotations: Add clarity to your screenshots or videos with text, quick drawings, arrows, lines, and more. This helps in emphasizing important details, and you can also blur sensitive information
  • File sharing: Once your videos or screenshots are ready, you can easily share them using Zight. They first upload to the cloud, and Zight copies the link to your clipboard and opens it on your default browser. You can view and edit them from your dashboard and then send your customers the copied link – no need to download the content; they can also view it even if they don’t use Zight. But if you want to upload the content on your YouTube, you may want to download it from your dashboard, then edit it and upload it from your computer storage
  • Analytics: Use Zight to track who has viewed your content and how many times, allowing you to measure the impact of your communication strategies

As you can see, Zight is your Swiss Army knife for communication! It makes it easier for customer success managers to create meaningful customer relationships, avoid lengthy email threads, and improve team collaboration. With Zight, you improve communication to understand your customers and be proactive when offering continuous support.

2. Optimize Your Onboarding Process

Client onboarding is one of the most essential tasks your customer success manager will undertake. Their close relationship with existing customers gives them an advantage in finding the best ways to offer value to each customer.

Your customer success manager can start with using Zight to record an onboarding welcome video or use other features like screenshots, GIFs, and impeccable annotations to create exciting onboarding content for your customers.

However, this doesn’t mean that your customer success team should carry the entire burden of client onboarding; rather, they must focus on the initial interaction to get customers to their goals and then hand the process off to your customer support or customer onboarding team.

By building an onboarding framework, you can take most of the burden of client onboarding from your customer success team. An effective onboarding framework must apply broadly across all your existing customers. Then, you can tweak and improve that framework as needed.

3. Get Feedback from Customers

To help your customers succeed, let them drive the improvements and changes to your product. This strategy is referred to as the customer feedback loop. It’s a fundamental part of the customer success philosophy. It involves constantly gathering feedback, segmenting it, acting on it, and presenting the results to your existing customers.

Gathering customer feedback helps you zone in on the challenges in your product and the customer experience. Studies show that 86% of consumers don’t mind paying for an excellent customer experience. That means gathering feedback from customers can ultimately improve your recurring revenue.

To collect customer feedback, you must build platforms where customers can leave their complaints, give praise, and offer suggestions. Effective tools for gathering customer feedback include:

  • Surveys
  • Customer reviews
  • Customer interviews

With adequate feedback available, analyze it, act on it, and execute the changes your existing customers want to see. Then, get back to your customers by having your customer success manager reach out or publish release notes to present the improvements.

In short, the people using your product should have a say in how your product improves!

4. Focus On Value And Quality

Throughout the customer journey, customers will have many interactions with your brand. If you can offer value and high-quality service to your customer relationship at every interaction, you’ll have a loyal client base that appreciates your product or service.

Providing value at every interaction sounds daunting. However, if you develop a playbook of best practices for your customer success manager and employees, providing value to your customers will become second nature. 

What provides value and quality for customers? Here are a few things:

  • Congratulate customers on their successes
  • Recommend new features
  • Publish marketing resources, such as podcasts and blog posts
  • Highlight industry news.

Often, interactions with customers are fast and all about making purchasing decisions. This is especially true with customer service interactions and early sales calls. Providing value during these interactions is a sure way to stand out from prospective competitors and positively make customer interactions. 

5. Identify An Effective Engagement Strategy

Customer engagement is where customer information is turned into actions that influence the customer experience – an important skill for your customer success manager to understand. By identifying the right customer engagement strategy, you can deliver value to your customers.

Effective engagement strategies include:

  • Helping a customer use your product to solve their pain points
  • Offering demonstrations and training
  • Customer communication via direct channels and using a tech-touch
  • Responding to customer concerns quickly and coordinating customer support
  • Encouraging customer advocacy and referrals

You can achieve customer success and improve customer experience by leveraging one of these engagement strategies.

6. Learn And Understand Your Customers’ Challenges And Needs

Learning and understanding your customer’s needs, the goals they’re trying to achieve, and the pain points they’re trying to solve is fundamental knowledge for every customer success team member. Knowing your existing customers better must be a core responsibility of your customer success manager and employees.

You must conduct customer research to understand your customer’s needs and challenges better. Essentially, before you make any product or business decisions, you must have solid evidence from your customer research proving that your existing customers want and need what you plan to offer.

Customer research shouldn’t end after you gather this information. Your entire customer success team’s analysis and dissemination of this information are just as important as gathering it. 

Every customer success manager must know who your existing customer is and their challenges and needs. This makes everyone better at their job and better at creating solutions that will help your customers succeed, which is the primary reason for your company’s existence.

7. Leverage Data Analytics

A good customer success manager uses data to improve customer experience. Analytics can help you with concrete insights to make informed decisions. Here’s how you can leverage data analytics effectively:

  • Use data to categorize your customers based on their behavior, preferences, or value to the company for more personalized interactions
  • Utilize predictive models to foresee customer behavior, such as churn rates or upsell opportunities, and act proactively
  • Keep an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs) like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) to gauge the effectiveness of your customer success strategies
  • Employ real-time analytics tools to track customer interactions and engagement levels and respond promptly to any issues or opportunities

When you incorporate these data-driven approaches, you can tailor your customer success strategies to meet individual needs, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

8. Keep Promises

A customer success manager interacts directly with customers, so it is imperative to build trust. One big challenge for this customer success role is to make promises you can keep. How, you wonder?

  • Don’t over-promise to win a client over. Be clear about what you can deliver, and then make sure you do it
  • If you’ve committed to resolving an issue by a particular time, make it happen. Your reliability will earn you customer loyalty
  • Be upfront about any hiccups or delays. Customers appreciate honesty over excuses
  • Own up to your mistakes and correct them. This not only fixes the issue but also strengthens the customer’s trust in your brand

By consistently keeping promises, a customer success manager will build a strong foundation of trust that makes all other aspects of customer success much easier.

9. Don’t over-communicate

While keeping customers informed is crucial, there’s a fine line between being helpful and overwhelming them with information. Here’s how to strike the right balance:

  • Only send out super useful information, lest you create customer fatigue and unsubscribes with irrelevant messages
  • Deliver high-value content that addresses customer needs and concerns – instead of bombarding them with frequent updates
  • Study metrics like open rates and click-through rates to gauge how well your messages are received. If engagement is low, it might be time to reassess your communication strategy
  • 57% of consumers say that human communication would increase their brand loyalty. So, cut the corporate jargon and connect authentically

With these tips, you ensure your communication enriches the customer experience without becoming a nuisance.

10. Collaborate

For a senior customer success manager, the temptation to micromanage every client relationship can be strong, especially when you’re aiming for perfection. However, it’s essential to remember that customer success is a team effort.

So, collaboration is key – and you can do it as follows:

  • Involve other departments. You can coordinate the sales and success team, for instance, to ensure customers get a well-rounded experience
  • Build strong relationships with your product team. Understanding where your business and product are headed helps you align your customer success strategies accordingly
  • Ensure everyone on your team knows the customer’s key strategic and revenue goals to be working toward the same objectives
  • Work with customer support – ensure customers’ issues are promptly resolved, and reinforce your customer success manager bridge between product experience and customer satisfaction

This approach can create a more cohesive and effective customer experience that lightens your load and ensures customers receive well-rounded support and guidance.

Final Thoughts

Great customer success managers and employees aim to help customers succeed, improve retention by reducing churn rate, and improve customer lifetime value. 

Your business’s top priority must be your existing customers. Know what they need to succeed to improve customer retention and reduce churn rate. Next, expand your focus across the client lifecycle, from customer acquisition to onboarding and upselling.

And the right tool can help your team stay on track. Zight helps Drift save 56 hours per week. That’s because it’s easier to explain with video instead of text. Videos are also more digestible for consumers, streamlining their onboarding and troubleshooting experience. Sign up and get started, too!

Ready to chat with us about how to save time, money and help your team communicate better?