Key traits of a great customer success manager

Customer Service, Customer Experience, Customer Care, Agent Experience

Businesses are increasingly focusing their efforts on customer success, knowing that doing so can improve the customer experience, lower churn rate, increase customer and employee loyalty, and boost revenue. Customer success managers are the key driving force behind those rewarding efforts, making it essential to hire the right people. Knowing the importance, you might ask: what makes a great customer success manager?

Here are eight top skills and traits great customer success managers possess that enable them to effectively guide customers before, during, and after the sale. 

Great customer success managers are patient

Customers from various skill levels with your product or service will need assistance. That means customer success managers need to have patience — especially if dealing with frustrated customers. By giving space and time to each customer, customer success managers can facilitate a better overall customer experience.

Great customer success managers are empathetic

Customer success managers need to be empathetic. This means listening to customers and trying to understand their concerns and problems. Through this lens of understanding, customer success managers can better solve issues, see opportunities, and engage with customers.

Great customer success managers are creative

Creativity fuels solutions. Great customer success managers need to be able to think outside the box to help customers solve issues and reduce confusion. Creativity also helps customer success managers adapt to changes, empowering them to thrive in an ever-evolving environment.

Great customer success managers are proactive

We often think of customer service as being reactive, but the customer success model is also proactive. Customer success managers have a great view into the customer experience. Instead of remaining isolated on an island, customer success managers can share information back to product, marketing, sales … really the entire company. By doing so, they’ll have the company make informed decisions that improve the overall customer experience.

Great customer success managers are diligent

CRMs can make or break a company. But CRMs are only valuable if they house accurate data. With more data, you can better understand your customer’s goals, issues, and overall journey with your product or service. Strong customer success managers understand the importance of accuracy, and are diligent in their recording so they can possess the intimate knowledge of the customer’s journey that they need to build trust and establish a long-term relationship.

Great customer success managers are strong communicators

A customer success manager’s ability to build strong customer relationships relies heavily on how well they communicate. This means both listening and talking; listening to customers’ challenges so that they feel heard, and then clearly sharing solutions. 

Great customer success managers are self-assured

Global consultancy Bain & Company researched customer success manager profiles, and found that successful CSMs rate themselves highly on their ability to react positively to stress and on their own self-confidence. This self-assurance allows them to stay positive, calm, and be a team player — even in complex and chaotic situations.

Great customer success managers can see the big picture

Unlike customer service representatives, customer success managers don’t just solve issues one problem at a time. They have the ability to listen to and learn from customers, then apply that knowledge moving forward. For example, if they help Customer A solve an issue, they can proactively eliminate that same issue before it even arises for Customer B. This requires them to have the ability to take a step back, spot trends, and see the larger picture.

(Learn about more differences between customer service and customer success in this post.)

The importance of great customer success managers

Customer service managers play a critical role in a business. They have the power to create loyal customers, transform negative experiences into positive ones, shed light on customer insights that can inform product/service enhancements, and contribute to the customer experience as a whole.

It’s clear that hiring customer success managers who possess the right skills and traits is essential. But it’s equally important to create the right environment for them to thrive. That’s where leadership can step in and make smart decisions (other than making the right hires, of course) that empower their customer success team. 

Empowering customer success managers

With the right tools and resources in place, CSMs can access the data they need, communicate effectively with customers, and share insights they gather from working so closely with customers each day. You could hire an amazing customer success team that possesses every quality on this list, but you’ll be sitting on a goldmine of untapped potential if you don’t properly equip this all-star team with what they need to thrive.

In today’s digital world, it’s easier and faster than ever to receive and give support. However, that speed and access often comes with a hefty toll: a human connection gap.

Download our free eBook, Solving CX’s Human Connection Gapto explore how digital experiences often fall short, and how to facilitate greater human connection through Guided CX to drive faster resolutions, sales, and customer satisfaction.