Whenever I tell someone that I work as a Customer Success Manager, it inevitably always results in a confused facial expression and a response of “So, what is it exactly that you do?”
Well, the answer depends on who you ask…
For those wanting a peek into what a CSM really does or for my fellow CSMs who are curious about how we here at ChurnZero drink our own champagne, I’m pulling back the curtain on a day in my life as a CSM.
In this article, I’ll share the actions I take throughout my day to:
- Identify low-impact, high-value touchpoints
- Come prepared to every meeting to maximize value
- Make post-meeting follow-ups easy and impactful
- Be more productive using effective work habits
Start Day With Low-Impact, High-Value Tasks (30 minutes total)
First, let’s talk about a mindset shift.
As a CSM, you constantly battle your inbox. You outline all your to-dos and strategic work for the day, only to have a flood of nonstop emails derail your carefully crafted plans (and chance of ever actually getting ahead). To break this vicious cycle, you must adjust how you think about engaging with your customers.
Instead of being at your customers’ every beck and call, you need to set yourself up to get in front of them. To help adopt a proactive stance, identify your quick wins, or the tasks that require minimal effort and generate a high ROI. Here are a few low-impact, high-value tasks that I complete each morning.
Read My Daily Digest (5 minutes)
I start my day before I even log into ChurnZero by checking my daily digest email which gives me a clear game plan with actionable insights. Each morning, ChurnZero sends me a daily digest, which includes mission-critical items, including:
- Overdue tasks that are assigned to me
- Messages waiting for my review
- Meetings on my calendar for the day
- Alerts I received yesterday
- Daily customer health score changes for my accounts
The daily digest identifies the actions I can take today to make my customer successful while also making sure I’m not blindsided by any surprises. The daily digest helps set my intentions and shifts my mindset from “Ah! I need to respond to that customer right away” to “OK, I’ve identified these 10 to 12 high-priority tasks I can accomplish right now so that I have a clear mind to bring my full self to my customer interactions today.” Instead of starting each day in firefighting mode, I have a strategy for the specific steps I need to take to make an immediate impact on my customers.
Review Alerts (3-5 minutes)
Next, I dive deeper into the Alerts included in my daily digest. By clicking on a relevant Alert, I’m directed to the ChurnZero Command Center where I’ll find more Alert details. Once in the Command Center, I’ll spend about 3 to 5 minutes reviewing alerts that came in the day before or overnight.
Alerts are notifications triggered by a customer’s time- or event-based activity, such as:
- Status updates: outstanding tickets, lags in customer journeys, license utilization, overdue tasks
- Usage trends: login decreases for account and contacts, first-time activity, complementary features recommendations
- Relationship factors: NPS, health score changes, customer outreach frequency
Alerts drive proactive action by making sure I don’t ever miss significant activity, whether it’s positive (surfacing expansion opportunities) or negative (uncovering atypical or declining usage).
Identify Essential or Urgent Actions (10 seconds)
After reviewing my Alerts, I dynamically shift the Command Center to only show a subset of accounts that need my attention the most. For example, let’s say I need to act on 20 to 30 tasks in my backlog. That’s a large undertaking, so to hone my focus, I only want to see the tasks related to my priority accounts. Using segments in ChurnZero, I can quickly query my accounts by account, lifecycle, or behavioral attributes, such as customers who onboarded in the last 60 days or customers who are renewing in the next 90 days. Using this condensed customer list, I can now focus on the messages that I need to send that day to stay ahead of potential challenges and mitigate future risk.
Approve Queue of Customer Engagements (3-5 minutes)
Next, I review and approve personalized emails that are scheduled to send to my customers who are in an automated engagement workflow (or what we call a Play in ChurnZero). These email reviews (which allow me to edit the message, if needed) and approvals automatically queue up overnight and throughout my day. It isn’t out of the ordinary for me to have 10-20 emails queued up for new Customer Success team members that have joined a Customer that I serve and just logged into ChurnZero for the first time. Something I honestly would likely miss otherwise.
Bulk Update my Tasks and Activities (3-5 minutes)
My next task is to bulk update my to-dos. I may have created to-dos for myself two or three weeks ago that now need to shift in terms of importance. So, I check my Tasks and Activities and adjust my active Tasks as needed and close out my completed Tasks. As a CSM, I’m constantly re-prioritizing my day based on customer behavior and needs, so having the ability to bulk update 10, 20, or 30 Tasks at once is a lifesaver.
Check ChurnScore Changes (5-10 minutes)
After ensuring my Task and Activities are up to date, I navigate to my “ChurnScore Changes” tab (shown in the screenshot below), which shows changes in my customer health scores (or what we call ChurnScores in ChurnZero). To maintain a positive ChurnScore, this customer must send at least 15 emails, login at least 10 times, submit no support tickets, and have a NPS of 8 or higher. I see that the customer’s ChurnScore has moved from green (good) to yellow (OK) due to their decrease in logins and sent emails. Armed with these insights, I now know where I need to focus my time with that customer to get them back to a positive score.
Review Segments (Ongoing)
Lastly, I review my customer segments, which act as a “hot list” of customers that I need to address right away. For example, if I have a customer that has not logged into my platform in 30 days, and I have not had a conversation with them in 30, 60, or 90 days, I need to have that at the top of my list. I can also work directly from my Segments in ChurnZero to take needed action – meaning I don’t have to sift around a CRM or an excel sheet for information. In the “My Segments” tab in ChurnZero, I can select a segment and directly update a customer’s status and sentiment, or I can select their account to run a “Can we have a meeting?” Play. Segments can function as a one-stop shop for surfacing key customer details and using those details to drive your outreach.
Meetings: Preparation and Insights = Success (5 minutes)
As a CSM, you likely have anywhere from four to eight customer meetings each day. Pre-meeting preparation helps earn your customers’ respect and trust. Customers can tell when you wing a meeting or are churning out a rinse-and-repeat spiel that lacks personalization (and consideration).
Don’t get caught scrambling or rambling your way through a conversation with your customer. When you have the right information at hand, your pre-meeting planning can become a breeze.
Here’s how I prepare for every customer meeting in 5 minutes or less and ensure that I always respect my customers’ time and make them feel like my top priority.
Review Customer Journey (2 minutes)
First, I identify my customer’s status and location in their journey. Are they stuck at a critical onboarding milestone? Are there any roadblocks that I can personally remove? Or are they pacing ahead of their training schedule? Do I need to prepare to talk about adjusting their go-live plan? It takes me about two minutes to formulate a plan for a meeting.
Review Outstanding Support Tickets or Issues (1 minute)
Next, I review any outstanding support tickets or issues. With a customers’ journey status, support tickets, and usage report all conveniently located in one place on their account profile, I can easily move between these key customer details.
Identify Opportunities in Usage Trends (2 minutes)
Lastly, I check my customer’s usage report to find areas of opportunity to deliver greater value. For example, if I know my customer wants to prioritize automation, and I see that they haven’t engaged with their Plays in the last 30 days, I know I need to review their Plays and bring a recommendation to our discussion, such as “Hey, it’s great that you’re using our automated communications. I see that you’re not taking advantage of our Plays which make your outreach even more effective. Can we have a conversation around that today?” That dialogue drives immediate value and is much different than “Hey, I just wanted to call to check in. How’s everything going?” You can’t do that anymore (and here’s why). Your customers expect more, and they should.
Meeting Follow-Up: Make it Easy (2 minutes)
So, I’ve gone to my meeting. My customer is impressed. They walk away feeling positive and appreciative about our time together. But the work doesn’t stop there because now I need to execute on the new insights, any promises I’ve made, and takeaways from our conversation.
Log Meeting Activity (1 minute)
I often hear CSMs complain that it’s a huge pain to find and record their meeting activity. They have to open yet another tab or refer to an offline spreadsheet to access their buried notes. ChurnZero makes it easy to log, organize, and search meeting activity. With ChurnZero’s calendar integration, I can log meeting activity directly from my calendar view by clicking “Log Activity,” as shown in the screenshot below. It automatically populates the Account and Contact – saving me just that much more time.
Set the Plan in Motion (1 minute)
Now that I’ve logged my meeting activity, I’m ready to take action.
Hopefully, my customer walks away from our meeting having retained all (or more realistically, some) of what we’ve discussed – but that’s not always the case.
Having the same conversations over and over again is not a productive use of anyone’s time, and worse, it means the customer’s time to value is not as short as it could be. I want to make sure that I close that gap by providing my customer with the resources they need to be successful. To reinforce the learnings from our discussions, I create Plays that I run after my calls.
For example, if a new customer POC attends a meeting, they typically might say, “Hey, I’m new to the organization. I’m drinking from the fire hose. Can you send me more information on X? I just don’t have time to dedicate to this right now. Give me a call in a week to follow up.”
We’ve all been through that. Instead of having to remember to follow up or risk actions falling through the cracks, I use my “new POC” Play to automatically email my POC the requested information and create a task to call them in seven days.
Repetition: Develop the Habit
After I follow up with my customers, I head back into my Command Center where I spend about 80% of my day (when not in meetings).
Chip Away at Risky Accounts Using Segments
I go back to my Segments and chip away at my risky accounts or those that have fallen off the rails on the way to their goals. For example, if I have 30 customers who onboarded in the last 60 days, I need to make sure that I’ve engaged and strategized with each of them. If I haven’t sent an email to the customer, received an email from the customer, or had any sort of meaningful engagement with the customer, then I need to prioritize that outreach and schedule time immediately. The actions we take now pay dividends later.
Shift From Reactive To Proactive By Sending Queued Messages
As I work with customers throughout the day, I add them to relevant Plays to ensure they receive timely engagements and I don’t forget any associated tasks. For example, every time a new user accesses ChurnZero, the system adds them to my “new user” Play that sends a series of 1:1 emails to that user outlining the resources they need to be successful. I approve these ready-to-send, queued emails between my daily meetings. Instead of forcing the customer to find resources on their own, sending proactive, educational emails helps to not only build our relationship, but also my authority as a domain expert.
Trust the Process and Iterate: Review ChurnScore Changes, Identify New Alerts, and Create Plays
Any deployed solution takes refinement; you cannot set and forget functionality if you want to keep improving. I learn new things about my customer every single day. If I’m not iterating on my ChurnScores, Plays, messaging, and Alerts, then I’m doing myself and my customers a disservice. You must trust in the process and iterate on that process. I’m constantly identifying new customer activity and triggers to ensure I don’t get blindsided by preventable events. Keeping an accurate pulse on my customers allows me to sleep well knowing that nothing has slipped through the cracks.
Daily Reminders for a Productive Day
Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse into a day in my life of a CSM, I want to leave you with a few daily reminders to help you get the most out of your day and show up for your customers in every interaction.
Focus: Come Back to the “Why”
When faced with challenges or resistance to change, ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” It’s because you want to move from being a reactive firefighter to being a proactive, churn hero.
Bring Value: Come Prepared With Insights
I can’t stress this enough: never call just to check in. Your customers hate that. Bring insights to every customer interaction.
Follow Up: Let Automation Handle Repetitive Work
Spend your valuable, finite time focusing on your customer relationships – not monotonous tasks and processes. Use a Customer Success platform’s automation to scale the hard work you’ve already done.
Execute on Insights: Let Customer Health Scores Guide You
Stop relying on gut feels or investing loads of time piecing together fragmented customer information to guess customer health. Let a Customer Success platform calculate those scores for you using a multitude of signifying factors from across your organization’s solutions.
If you are interested in a demo of the ChurnZero platform showcased in this article please sign up for a live demo here.
Customer Success Around the Web
- How to Stop Customer Churn Like an Expert (7 Examples + Solutions)– Identify the main causes of churn and learn how you can stop them.
- What are Customer Success Managers, and Why are They Important – Dive into the basics and find out what being a CSM really means.
- A-Z Customer Success Terms You Should Be Using on a Daily Basis– Check out this alphabetized list of Customer Success vocabulary every CSM needs to know.
Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero