As a member of the ChurnZero team, I’m lucky enough to work only a few desks away from our Customer Success Managers (CSMs). Summer vacation mode is in full swing, and many of my colleagues have planned trips to destinations near and far. It’s safe to say that members of our Customer Success (CS) team are ready to enjoy some well-deserved time off.
Given that we work in the fast-paced world of CS, I started to reflect on this: How do ChurnZero’s CSMs juggle onboarding, renewals and general account upkeep when they’re out of the office? Especially since it can already feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to begin with.
Are you gearing up to trade in your office cubicle for a beachside cabana? Here are four tips from ChurnZero to ensure your vacation goes off without a hitch.
Tip 1: Plan Ahead
Planning is nothing new for CSMs and is essential for long-term success. Customer Success is always looking to the future – whether monitoring upcoming renewals, or carrying out long, complex implementations…. it’s important to plan ahead!
The same approach should be applied when preparing for vacation time. In a relationship-oriented field like Customer Success, planning ahead will ensure that disruptions are kept to a minimum. As exciting as it can be to add a vacation to your calendar, this is only the starting point. As you prepare for your trip, you should also be sure to consider what potential issues could arise in your absence and determine who on your team would best handle the responsibilities involved in resolving these issues.
Think of your planning as a multi-step process. This should not just prepare you for the time that you will be out of the office. Effective planning should also allow you to easily adjust when you return to work. Be sure to map out any meetings, appointments or deadlines that will occur during your vacation. Avoid falling victim to the habit of just bumping meetings and deadlines to the following week – this will create a backlog of back-to-back appointments and will make your transition from sand to spreadsheets much more difficult!
Tip 2: Delegate
Delegating your tasks appropriately will ensure that your time out of the office is as smooth as possible – especially should any customer needs arise while you are out. Remember that delegation is only effective when done appropriately. Similarly, keep in mind that not every task lends itself to delegation.
As a start, avoid delegating your day-to-day tasks on a whim. Be sure to determine the best point-of-contact for each type of customer situation. Also be aware of how specific tasks play into your colleagues’ strengths. For example, your implementation manager is unlikely the best POC for customers that are far along in their user journey.
When delegating, ensure that your colleagues feel involved with responsibilities you have given them. Frame the tasks in a way that instills a sense of ownership for those who are picking up your slack. This helps ensure that your tasks are completed efficiently and completely. Most importantly, don’t forget to pass it forward and help your vacationing colleagues when they are out of the office!
Tip 3: Effectively Communicate
Requesting time off and setting your ‘Out of Office’ is one of the most exciting aspects of vacation planning – your vacation is now official! That said, effectively communicating your time out of the office requires a few more steps than just adding it to your calendar
When making your final preparations, ensure that all stakeholders are aware of your time off – not just your manager. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least one month of notice. Everyone needs time to prepare for your absence, your coworkers included. Remember – these will be the people you’ll be counting on to support you while you are out!
The same approach of at least one month notice also applies to external stakeholders. Be sure to notify any customers or third parties that you interact with in your day-to-day. Not only will they appreciate the heads up, but you’ll be less likely to be pulled away from your vacation time to respond to any pressing needs.
Protip: Organizing your inbox pre-vacation can be a lifesaver. Besides returning to a ‘clean’ workspace, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. It will be a lot harder to find that email with product feedback after a few days away from the office!
Tip 4: Just Do It
While this isn’t the intended use of Nike’s world-famous slogan, one of the most important tips for relaxing and disconnecting on vacation is to ‘Just Do It.’ For a role like CSM that prides itself on being a trusted client partner, this can be a struggle. Proper preparation should let you feel confident in your ability to shut down and fully enjoy your time off.
By planning ahead, properly delegating any ‘to-dos’, and effectively communicating with both internal and external stakeholders, you’ll be more than ready for your vacation. While it may feel strange, you should savor your time away from your daily routine. After all, vacations tend to fly by!
Looking for more Customer Success content and views, tips and tricks for Customer Success Managers? Subscribe to ChurnZero’s Fighting Churn blog to stay up to date with all things CS.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Don’t Slip Into Bad Habits: Reinforce Customer Centric Thinking – See how to avoid thinking from your own, inside-out perspective.
- Customer Success Reduce Churn, Improves Retention, And Increases Expansion Revenue – Look at data from just under 2 thousand companies to figure out the impact CS has.
- Improving the Meeting Prep Skills of CSMs – Check out this three-step process to having successful client meetings.