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January 12th, 2021

A Customer Success Manager's Daily Checklist

By Akanksha Gulati

Let me start by setting the record straight. There are no typical days, each one unlike another, for customer success managers (CSMs). 

The only constant is that a CSM’s day revolves around customers, and most daily activities get prioritized depending on customer needs and their impact on the business. 

As a CSM, each day, you are expected to manage multiple customers, spearhead back-to-back meetings, be the single escalation point of contact, and more. It goes without saying that your productivity as a CSM is directly correlated to your ability to plan your day and prepare tasks in advance. Here are a few areas to focus on to help you get started and succeed at your job in customer success. 

A Daily Checklist for Customer Success Managers (CSMs)

Communication

Emails, Messages, Voicemails, Social Media, Community feeds…….The number of communication channels has grown immensely over the years. 

As a CSM, you receive a ton of communication on any given day. Plus, you’re expected to be able to prioritize with the Customer being front and center of it all. 

Exhausting, right? 

You can call it an occupational hazard, but it is very easy to get into a reactive fire-fighting mode if you begin responding to customer emails and escalations the first thing in the morning. 

Instead, I advise a quick screen on all incoming communication followed by grouping and prioritization with a very specific call to action wherever you can.

Believe me. If the sky is indeed falling on one of your clients, that notification will find its way to you before you can make that first cup of coffee.

There is, however, an advantage of tackling your inbox or other comms channels first thing in the morning. The office may be quiet early on in the day (depending on your timezone), so use this time to schedule ad-hoc meetings with internal team members where collaboration is required, or assign specific, timely tasks to team members in response to escalations later in the day. 

(But make sure you do respond back to customer emails within 24 hours -- even if just an acknowledgment email -- that way, your customers know they’re still top of mind).

Calendaring

While rewarding, the customer success profession can definitely be overwhelming. The majority of the volatility and stress comes from the fact that your day and priorities can change at any moment, owing to changing customer needs and other business KPIs and goals governing your Customer Success practice. 

To improve the quality of your day, start by blocking out time - e.g., 30 min chunks - for all your recurring tasks and activities on your calendar on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. These can include: 

  • Customer Engagements
  • Pre-Meeting Prep Time ( Before scheduled meetings )
  • Customer follow-up activities
  • Internal Team meetings
  • Marketing and Networking Activities
  • Product Enablement
  • General administration - CRM, HR, IT, etc
  • Lunch/Coffee Breaks

Following the above not only helps you become more organized and focused, but it also focuses on covering all aspects of your job in the right proportions. At the same time, you can incorporate flexibility into your schedule with the motivation to reschedule your tasks accordingly and eliminate any potential forgetfulness. 

Coordination

Intra and Inter-Departmental Coordination

One of the most important and probably under-valued duties of a CSM is Coordination. As you catch up with your daily tasks and emails, plan and schedule ahead for all coordination and collaboration activities. 

Coordination activities can range from following up with customers on specific requests, to resolving or escalating support tickets, to connecting with Product Management on roadmaps, or to collaborating with Marketing to publish customer success stories. 

A CSM has a lot of accountability driving many inter-departmental tasks. (Which is great! This helps set up CSM’s to be future leaders 😃 ) 

Keeping all lines of communication unclogged and flowing between customers and the various departments of the company falls to the CSM.  

While the job requirements of a CSM varies from company to company, the role typically involves: 

  • Onboarding customers
  • Enablement and Training of customers
  • Demonstrating Value of your Software or Service
  • Creating Growth for the customer and your company
  • Being the single point of contact for Support

There are also goals and KPIs attached, such as renewal metrics, upsell, and other customer engagement metrics. (But we won’t go into the details of those here - they deserve a whole post of their own.) 

As a CSM, there will be times when you feel like you are carrying the entire weight of the future of your company... and that having 24 hours in a day is just not enough. But the right attitude - one goal and one customer at a time - will take you and your company far and beyond. 

To see how Outline helps customer success managers like Akanksha improve their daily workflows with her Product team, other internal stakeholders, and customers, check out www.heyoutline.com or sign up for a quick tour and demo of the product here.

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