Adding a Customer Success Specialist to your team

Customer success managers have an incredibly important job. According to Google Trends, the phrase "customer success manager" has nearly doubled in the last year, with a significant increase in August. Great managers need very good players to execute their winning strategy.

As a customer success manager, you shouldn't be focusing on monitoring mutual action plans, consolidating calendar notes, or triaging support. You should be focusing on how to increase net revenue retention and your Net Promoter Score.

One actionable solution is to add a customer success specialist.

You might be asking yourself, "What exactly does a customer success specialist do, and how does this role differ from other customer success roles?"

A Customer Success Specialist is a member of your Customer Success team who will guide a user through key stages in their journey with your company, including onboarding new customers, account management, and other customer needs. As with all roles in customer success, customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal.

Adding a customer success specialist can help in so many ways, but most importantly, it will free up your strategists to strategize. With more time to strategize, better SOPs and execution plans will be established, which will lead to the thing every team cares about: more revenue.

You would never expect a builder to build without tools or any type of support, so how can you expect that from your customer success manager?

What to look for in a Customer Success Specialist will vary based on your specific needs, but here are a few skills you should add to the required skills section of your job listing.

Experience in a customer success or customer-facing role

Strong written and verbal communication skills

Attention to detail

Information analysis skill

Reporting Skills

As with any customer success role (or any role at all, for that matter), there are more skills that your organization will deem important, but the above skills are a good starting point when looking to hire a customer success specialist.

One of the largest obstacles to adding to your team is the current state of the economy. While more companies are realizing the true importance of a great customer success manager and team, companies are tightening their belts across all departments. These runway extension plans are cutting vital resources from customer success as well as other important roles.

There are solutions that won't break the bank and can seriously improve the workload heaped on your customer success manager and other team members.

The simple solution is to simply hire a part-time customer success specialist. As with any part-time position, less work equals fewer dollars spent on payroll. This is an especially good solution if your Customer Success Manager is particularly adept at triaging some of these issues, allowing the part-time hire to immediately begin addressing the issues that the CSM has prepared for them.

The most obvious downside to this approach is that your CSM still has to focus on pulling all those tasks together, so while time is freed up, it's not maximized properly. Another downside to this approach is that a part-time hire doesn't always feel like a true member of the team. This can have a terrible effect on team cohesiveness, which is definitely something you want to try to avoid.

A second approach is to hire a full-time, non-experienced worker. With no experience, the price tag on this team member will be lower than an experienced alternative. You will also have the ability to mold that person into the customer success professional that you want on your team.

The downside here is the time it will cost your CSM. Training an employee can take a very long time, and it's time that your CSM already doesn't have. Finding the right candidate to train can also take an immense amount of time that you might not have.

The third solution is to add a full-time, offshore Customer Success Specialist. Because of currency differences, offshore talent is extremely affordable, especially when compared to American talent with similar competence levels. Because of this, you can add top-tier talent at a fraction of the cost.

Some of the downsides to this approach are that this specialist will be 100% remote, which might matter to some companies. Another issue is sourcing these specialists. There are solutions (like Baton) that can find top talent for you, but if you're going to do it alone, the going can get tough and it can take a long time.

Adding a customer success specialist does wonders for your team. There are obvious revenue benefits that come along with adding to your team, but another aspect that is often overlooked is the effect this has on burnout. When your team is overworked, burnout isn't far behind. Adding another head (especially using one of the more affordable solutions above) takes the stress off your team that software often won't.

To sum it all up, customer success managers play a crucial role in ensuring that a company's clients are satisfied with their products or services. They are responsible for maintaining and improving customer relationships, and their efforts can have a direct impact on a company's bottom line. As such, customer success managers often command large salaries, with some earning six figures or more per year. However, it's important for customer success managers to prioritize their work-life balance and take time off when needed to recharge and maintain their mental and physical health. There are several options for expanding a customer success team, including hiring a part-time or full-time specialist, training a new employee without experience, or outsourcing to an offshore worker. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on the specific needs and resources of the company.

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