We are starting a new blog series where we will spotlight a Customer Success professional and get their take on the industry as well as get to hear some of their top tips they’d like to share.
This first spotlight will be featuring Marcel Andrei who is a Customer Success and Product Marketing Manager at Paymo, which is an international project management platform. Marcel is in charge of managing the customer journey and is focused on serving as a customer advocate while driving product adoption and expansion at a large scale.
Let’s hear what he has to say!
Q: What drew you to working in Customer Success?
A: I actually stumbled upon it, not even knowing what it means. I started out at Paymo two years ago as an Inbound Sales Rep, talking with clients that passed the lead scoring system through their in-app actions. After closing them, I realized that I still needed to take care of them, although this time conversations shifted more towards the consultative end. After some research, I found out that there’s a whole industry that deals with the post-sale segment – namely Customer Success.
Q:What is your philosophy on Customer Success management?
A: CS for me is all about helping the client get to their desired goal through the use of our product. This means that we don’t push down their throat features we think are useful, but instead get to know their situation and offer guidance on those features that actually make sense for their workflow.
Q: What do you think is a common misconception about Customer Success?
A: That it’s just a much friendlier spin-off of sales. OR, that users in general have more veto power due to technology and similar product/services availability, which means they don’t want to talk anymore to sales people, but to advisors. They’re both wrong. CS is indeed part of the sales process. It’s so inclusive that it can be broken down into several other activities like on-boarding, renewals, and training – each one demanding a different set of skills though compared to sales. These skills lean more towards project management (conflict resolution, timeline management, risk escalation) since most CS Managers have to maintain relationships with a high number of stakeholders to help them achieve their desired goals.
Q: What is your best career advice to give someone starting out in a Customer Success role?
A: Be proactive. Do a kickoff meeting right after users have become paying clients to find out more about their situation. “Hand-hold” them at each stage and do regular status check-ins (1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months) so they know that you’re their product expert. This will make it much easier for them to open up with you and trust you with their reins.
Q: What’s a Customer Success hack you would like to share?
A: Use humor and adapt to the customer’s situation. I once had a webinar with a team of 20 people from Hong Kong at 5:00 PM their timezone, and they all wanted to leave work. I assured them that I’ll be short and considerate of their time, so their spouses won’t yell at them because they ran late for dinner. Everyone laughed and was more than cooperative, with all the questions being addressed at the end. Needless to say, the webinar was over after 20 minutes.
Thanks to Marcel for participating in our first spotlight and we look forward to talking to and sharing insights from others in the Customer Success community!
Customer Success Around the Web
- 5 Reasons Why a CSM Should be an Early Hire for Startups – Working in a startup and wondering when to hire your first CSM? Read this article.
- How to Deal with Difficult Customers– Your guide to salvaging and rebuilding customer relationships.
- Should CSMs Own Quota? – Read this article to understand what owning revenue really means for CS.