Explore writings about Customer Success
Bringing Customer Success to the Spotlight
Building a Powerful Personal Brand: A Comprehensive Guide for Fractional Executives
Finding clients is very hard and it can be a big challenge for fractional executives as they are often working alone and have a ton of tasks to handle at any given moment. I’d like to think that I've learned a thing or two from marketing guru and author Seth Godin that I believe to be universally relevant to anyone building a personal brand. His book "This Is Marketing" is a goldmine of insights, and it's my go-to manual for today's discussion. Let’s dive in. ## Understanding the Fractional Executive Role: Disclaimer: I'm not Seth Godin, but I understand that as a fractional executive, you provide strategic leadership to multiple organizations simultaneously. This isn't about clocking in at multiple jobs. Rather, it’s about delivering high-level insights and guidance to different companies. Godin puts it simply: "People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic." As a fractional executive, your role is not just about selling your services; it's about selling your story, your experience, and the magic you bring to the table. ## Crafting Your Unique Value Proposition: As a fractional executive, what's your unique selling point? What makes you stand out from the crowd? Remember, we're not talking about the "I make the best homemade lemonade" kind of uniqueness here. This is about the unique business value you provide. Identify the unique strengths and experiences that set you apart from the rest. This could be a knack for helping startups pivot or a track record of scaling small businesses. Your unique value proposition is your main storyline, the story you tell the world about why you're the fractional executive they should hire. ## Building Your Online Presence: Your online presence is your 24/7 billboard. It's where prospective clients will go to get a sense of who you are and what you can offer. Your LinkedIn profile? That's your digital business card. Your personal website? That's your online office. Your blog posts and social media updates? Those are your digital water cooler conversations. Optimize your LinkedIn profile with the right keywords (think "fractional CFO," "interim CEO," "part-time COO") so that potential clients can find you. Create a personal website that showcases your portfolio, client testimonials, and thought leadership. ## Sharing Thought Leadership: Thought leadership is not about sharing deep thoughts on the meaning of life (although that can be fun). It's about sharing insights and perspectives that help others see things differently or solve problems in new ways. You don't have to write a book to share thought leadership (unless you want to, of course). You can write blog posts, create podcasts, post on LinkedIn, or speak at industry events. The goal is to position yourself as a knowledgeable, insightful leader in your field. ## Networking and Building Relationships: As Godin wisely says, "People like us do things like this." Building a personal brand as a fractional executive is not just about selling yourself; it's about building relationships with people who see the world the way you do. Reach out to other executives, join industry groups, participate in online forums, and attend industry events. Networking isn't about collecting business cards; it's about building relationships with people who can become clients, partners, or sources of referrals. ## Delivering on Your Promises: Last but definitely not least, deliver on your promises. Building a personal brand isn't just about making big claims; it's about backing up those claims with action. After all, as the ancient proverb goes, "Trust is gained in inches and lost in miles." As a fractional executive, your reputation is your most valuable asset. Deliver on your promises, exceed expectations, and ensure that every interaction reinforces your personal brand. ## Requesting and Showcasing Testimonials: Remember the magic of word-of-mouth marketing? Well, it's not just for local bakeries and mechanics. As a fractional executive, testimonials from satisfied clients can significantly enhance your credibility and attract new clients. Don't shy away from requesting testimonials from your clients. Showcasing these on your website, LinkedIn profile, or other marketing materials can be powerful evidence of your ability to deliver results. ## Continuous Learning and Adaptation: In the words of Alvin Toffler, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." As a fractional executive, you're expected to be on top of industry trends, changes, and innovations. Continuous learning and adaptation are not optional; they're a must. Follow industry news, take courses, attend conferences, and keep expanding your knowledge base. This not only keeps your skills sharp but also provides fresh material for your thought leadership. Remember, building your personal brand as a fractional executive is a journey, not a destination. It's about grinding daily, honing your craft, refining your message, and building relationships. It's about selling not just your services, but your story, your magic, and the unique value you bring to the table. As you embark on this journey, remember the words of Seth Godin: "In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible." Here's to standing out, being seen, and building your personal brand as a fractional executive. Let's create some magic!
Thu, May 11
The Art of Pricing: How Fractional Executives Can Determine Their Rate
As a fractional executive, your time is literally worth money. Making sure that you have a rate that is appealing to prospective clients as well as being worthwhile for you is a sweet spot that many fractionals struggle with. Yet there is a formula and a process that can help you find that sweet spot and get paid what you're worth. Let’s dive in. ### Understand Your Value As Seth Godin, the marketing mastermind, often says, "You are not a commodity." You are a unique blend of skills, experiences, and insights. As a fractional executive, you're not selling hours; you're selling the value you bring to a business. So, the first step in setting your rate is understanding your unique value proposition. What do you bring to the table that no one else does? Once you've nailed that down, you're on your way to setting a rate that reflects your worth. ### Research the Market Now, this might sound a bit dry, but bear with me. Market research isn't just for big corporations - it's essential for fractional executives too. Spend time understanding what other fractional executives in your industry and region are charging. This will give you a ballpark figure and help ensure you're not underselling or overselling yourself. ### Consider Your Expenses When setting your rate, it's crucial to take into account your overhead expenses. This could be anything from your home office setup, software subscriptions, or your health insurance. Your rate should cover these costs and leave you with a reasonable profit margin. After all, we're not in the business of breaking even, are we? ### Factor in Your Time As a fractional executive, your time is your most valuable asset. It's important to factor in not just the time you spend with your clients, but also the time spent on administrative tasks, professional development, and networking. Remember, the time you spend on these tasks is time that could otherwise be spent with clients, so it should be included in your rate. ### Communicate Your Value Once you've set your rate, the next step is to effectively communicate your value to potential clients. You're not just quoting a price; you're telling a story of the value you provide. Highlight your unique skills, your proven track record, and the tangible results you've delivered for previous clients. Make it clear that hiring you isn't an expense; it's an investment. ### Be Flexible, Yet Firm Flexibility is key when setting your rates. You might need to adjust your rates depending on the client's budget, the project's complexity, or the current economic climate. But remember, while flexibility is important, it's also crucial to be firm. Your rate reflects your value, and you don't want to undervalue yourself. Setting your rate as a fractional executive isn't a one-time thing. It's a continuous process of assessing your value, understanding the market, and communicating your worth. It's about standing your ground and not being afraid to ask for what you're worth. As you navigate this journey, keep Seth Godin's words in mind: "Price is a story." Your rate is more than just a number; it's a story of your value, your expertise, and the unique magic you bring to the table. Here's to setting your rate, standing your ground, and creating magic as a fractional executive. Let's make it count!
Thu, May 18
Fractional in Focus: Jeff Matlow
### Please introduce yourself to our readers who don't know you. Jeff Matlow, Los Angeles, fractional CEO, COO or, usually, Chief Transition Officer ### What does your day-to-day look like as a fractional executive? At the beginning of my work day, I handle immediate communication (text, slack, email) that came in since the day before. Then I timebox my day between client activities and networking. I will set up 1-3 hours each day for each client and then at least 1-2 hours each day for networking and new business. In the end, it’s about 5-7 hours of client work each day, 1-2 hours of new business, and the rest filled with other shenanigans. ### Can you share with us how you became a fractional executive, and tell us about your first fractional role? I didn’t even know I was a fractional executive until recently. I hadn’t heard of the term. Here’s how it happened… I’m a serial entrepreneur. My last company was acquired by Gannett Media. After the acquisition, I worked within one of their business units for a couple of years before I split from them. Once I stopped working full time over there, I got a call from one of their corporate leaders who wanted to hire me as a consultant to work with the leadership team of a $40m business unit. They needed help turning that business around. As it turns out, three other friends had businesses that needed the same. Next thing I knew, somebody told me that I was a fractional CEO/COO/CRO rolled into one. What’s that? I asked. When they explained, it made sense. So that’s what I call myself now. ### Can you share one tip that you believe can help other fractionals Never book 100% of your time. 10-20% should always be focused on new business. ### What do you dislike most about being a fractional? Leaders who have no interest in self-awareness ### How do you stay on top of industry news? I read a lot, talk to a lot of people and engage with a few peer groups. ### What's your advice to someone who wants to become a fractional executive? Make sure you have proven experience and then niche down to a target group that is very easy to identify and is willing to spend money to fix their problem. Thanks for sitting down with me Jeff. You can connect with Jeff on[ LinkedIn](https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffmatlow/) If you're a fractional executive who wants to be the subject of a future Fractional in Focus, you can apply [here](https://forms.gle/1oSZqjvqwWCtArto9)
Wed, May 17
Time management as a fractional executive
As the midway point of 2023 looms, fractional executives are gearing up for a busy 2nd half of 2023. As Reforge put it (in their article titled [The Rise of Fractional Executives](https://www.reforge.com/blog/leveraging-fractional-executives)), “Fractional Executives are having a moment – and for good reason.” As more Fractionals join the space, effectively managing time becomes more and more important for business success. We spoke to 2 fractional executives with a combined 20+ years of experience to see how they effectively manage their time. Here is what they said. [Will Simpson](https://www.linkedin.com/in/willrsimpson/) is a Fractional COO who says focusing on the ROI is key to making sure you're spending your time productively. “_If I do not understand or know what the potential return is, I stop and do something else_”, Will replied to my question. The key point here is that there is only so much time in a day, make sure those hours are being used to the maximum and that you have a very clear and precise idea of the ROI you will receive. Will mentioned another key that is often overlooked but is crucial for success in any industry; taking breaks. Knowing yourself or having someone who knows you well enough to tell you when you need a break is critical for you to work at maximum efficiency. In the case of Will, he knows himself well enough to decipher this, as he put it “ _I always try and optimize my delivery to land in my productive spot and take breaks to recharge outside of that zone_.” Finding your zones can take some time and effort, but the return on discovering this can be invaluable. We also got to pick the brain of [Jeff Matlow](https://www.bytitleonly.com/), and he had a different take. As you bring on more clients, juggling them all becomes trickier (insert pitch for how Baton can help 😉). Jeff suggests “time blocking” to make sure you dont get overwhelmed. “_Every day I break out my time between client work and new business. Sometimes it’s not putting specific tasks in my calendar as much as “Client 1” for 2 hours then “Client 2” for 1 hour, etc.”_ While the way you block time may vary, this core concept has helped executives from multiple business types and sizes successfully manage their days efficiently. Jeff also stresses the importance of leaving time open to look for and close new business. “_It’s important to always be looking for new clients. I never book myself for 100% of my time. Client work only covers, at most, 80%. That allows me the equivalent of a full day each week to be looking for new business._” While correctly managing customer relationships is a very important function of your business, it’s important to remember that as a fractional executive, your lifetime at any one business is not permanent. This is why always keeping time to find and close new leads is important and should have a slot on your calendar. To quickly recap all of this, as the demand for fractional executives continues to grow, time management remains a crucial aspect of their success. Experienced executives like Will Simpson and Jeff Matlow emphasize the importance of focusing on ROI, knowing oneself, and taking breaks to maintain productivity. They also advocate for time-blocking as an effective strategy to manage multiple clients and responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed. Lastly, they highlight the importance of allocating time for sourcing and closing new business, as the nature of fractional work implies that their tenure at any given company is not indefinite. By adopting these strategies and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, fractional executives can ensure their continued success in this rapidly evolving landscape. Big thank you to Will and Jeff for taking the time to share their tips on how to better manage your time as a fractional executive.
Tue, May 2
Understanding Customer churn in 2023
In today's world, customer churn, (also known as customer attrition or customer turnover), is a major concern for companies across all industries. Customer churn refers to the rate at which customers stop doing business with a company, and it can have a significant impact on a company's revenue and profitability. While churn affects all industries, this post will explore customer churn in the telecom industry and eCommerce specifically, discuss the reasons why customers will churn, and define the term customer churn. **Customer Churn in the Telecom Industry** The telecom industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world, and companies are constantly vying for customers' loyalty. However, despite the fierce competition, the telecom industry also has a high rate of customer churn. According to a study by the [Harvard Business Review, the telecom industry has a customer churn rate of around 15-45%](https://hbr.org/2015/10/the-wrong-way-to-reduce-churn), with some companies experiencing rates as high as 75%. One of the main reasons for the high rate of customer churn in the telecom industry is the abundance of options available to customers. With so many companies offering similar products and services, customers have the ability to easily switch providers if they are not satisfied. Additionally, the telecom industry is characterized by long-term contracts and high termination fees, which can make it difficult for customers to switch providers even if they are not satisfied. Another reason for high customer churn in the telecom industry is poor customer service. According to a survey by J.D. Power, poor customer service is one of the main reasons why customers switch providers. In fact, the survey found that customers who have a problem with their service and do not receive a resolution are more than twice as likely to switch providers than those who receive a resolution to their problem. **Customer Churn in Ecommerce** E-commerce is another industry that is characterized by high customer churn. According to a study by Invesp, the average ecommerce store has a customer churn rate of around 20%. Similar to the telecom industry, eCommerce also suffers from high customer churn due to the abundance of options available to customers. It is easy for customers to find other similar products or services with a single click, thus creating an environment where loyalty is hard to establish. Another reason for customer churn in eCommerce is poor delivery and returns experience. Customers in eCommerce expect fast and timely delivery and easy and hassle-free returns. If these expectations are not met, they are likely to take their business elsewhere. **Why Customers Will Churn** There are several reasons why customers will churn, including: Lack of value: Customers may feel that a company's products or services are not providing them with the value they need. Poor customer service: Customers may be dissatisfied with the level of service they receive from a company. High prices: Customers may feel that a company's prices are too high compared to competitors. Lack of innovation: Customers may feel that a company is not keeping up with the latest trends and innovations. Better offers from competitors: Customers may be enticed to switch to a competitor that is offering a better deal or more attractive products or services. Lack of personalization: Customers may feel that a company is not catering to their individual needs and preferences. Product malfunctioning: Poor quality product and faulty products will also be a reason for customers to churn. **Customer Churn Definition** Customer churn refers to the rate at which customers stop doing business with a company. It is typically measured as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the number of customers who have churned by the total number of customers a company has. For example, if a company has 100 customers and 20 of them stop doing business with the company in a given time period, the customer churn rate for that period would be 20%. It is important to note that customer churn is not the same as customer attrition, which refers to the overall loss of customers over time. Customer churn specifically refers to customers who have actively chosen to stop doing business with a company, whereas attrition can also include customers who have simply not renewed their contracts or lapsed in their engagement. Here are 6 more resources to learn more about Customer churn The Harvard Business Review has a number of articles that discuss the concept of customer churn and strategies for reducing it. One of the most popular articles is "The Truth About Customer Churn" by Fred Reichheld. The marketing research firm Marketing Metrics has published a white paper on customer retention that provides a comprehensive overview of the subject, including the financial impact of churn and the key drivers of customer retention. The blog of the customer relationship management (CRM) software company Salesforce contains a number of articles on customer churn and how to prevent it. The online course "Predictive Modeling for Business" offered by Coursera, provides a detailed look at various machine learning techniques that can be used to predict and prevent customer churn. The book "Predictive Analytics for Dummies" by Anasse Bari and Mohamed Chaouchi is a good introduction to the field of predictive analytics and how it can be used to predict and prevent customer churn. "Customer Churn Prediction and Prevention" by Xiaofei Liu, provides a good understanding of the customer churn problem with detailed case studies, insights and explains various machine learning models and how they can be used to predict and prevent customer churn.
Thu, Mar 23
CSM Spotlight: Katie Snead
Meet Katie Snead. Katie has worked in Customer Success for over 3 years and is currently the Director of Client Success at [Linqto](https://www.linqto.com/). We asked Katie a few questions about her experience in the Customer Success field and a few questions about her as a person. **How long have you been in the Customer Success field?** 'Official CS': 3 years **Can you tell me a bit about your journey to Customer Success? Did your education/life experience play a part in that?** I've been working since I was first able to at 16 y/o & got a job at a fast food spot at the mall. I popped around a bit but stayed in the mall environment working retail for many years. I quickly learned that I not only enjoyed the fast-paced environment that comes from retail but also that I considered myself as being successful when those around me were successful through my help (both internal and external customers). I was a Pharmacy major while working full-time as a Store Manager but started to feel apprehensive about entering a career where I would be away from the same high energy that retail brings. I ended up switching majors to Human Communications and continuing down that path. Once I saw the overall health of brick & mortar failing with the rise of ecomm, I transitioned into tech & was able to find the same customer-centric atmosphere that I loved. I worked as a 'consultative' Account Executive, where the focus was truly on making sure the customers were set up in a way that made them realize if they spent more, they'd get more value, which is how I even learned what Customer Success was. It was always more important to me that my customers were achieving value from our services rather than strictly focusing on how much they were spending, yet I was always a top performer. The rush of joy I would get when someone would confirm that they see me as a trusted advisor was second to none. **What is one important lesson you've learned from your time in Customer Success?** CS does not have a 'one size fits all' model. The general concept is always the same, but how to achieve that is unique to each company. It's important to get it right, but that doesn't mean you have to get it right immediately. Young companies, or young CS orgs, need to spend time listening to their customers and working to figure out what the best model is specific to them. ** What advice/tips would you give someone trying to break into Customer Success?** Customer Success is a mindset, so don't feel as though you have no experience in it. Virtually every role in a company plays a part in Customer Success, so extract those learnings and be able to speak to them when looking for jobs. Also, get involved in the community! The CS community is so strong and accepting; there are tons of free webinars, meet-ups, and social hours to allow you to truly engulf yourself in all things CS. **Is there anything about the Customer Success industry that you'd like to see change?** I'm starting to see this trend with Sales leaders and I love it... publicizing case studies of their 'failures'. What lead up to it and what they learned from it. It is super powerful & impactful, and something the CS industry can do as well. Many speak only about what went right, what perfectly works for their company, etc but for every success, there are many failures that lead up to it. Community learning should be for both the positives and the negatives! **Human spotlight:** In this section, we will learn more about Katie the person, not the CSM. **What are you passionate about aside from Customer Success?** I love experiencing new places! Whether that is a whole new city, a new hiking trail or simply a new restaurant/bar. Also, I'm a sucker for a great plant. Currently working on turning my home into a jungle 🪴 **What is your favorite quote/saying?** "Any problem to overcome is merely a set of smaller problems to overcome in a sequence" - Rhythm of War (book) by Brandon Sanderson **How do you stay motivated when things get hard?** To me, the best way to truly learn is when things are hard... so I remind myself that I'm going through this experience to come out the other side more prepared for the future. Imagine going for a relatively dangerous hike and your friend talks you through all the do's and don'ts... you actively listen and try your hardest to prepare yourself, but it isn't until you accidentally sit on a cactus sliding downhill that you absorb the valuable lesson to ensure you never get spines in your bum ever again (yes, that definitely happened) Big thank you to Katie for being the first in the spotlight. You can connect with Katie on LinkedIn [here](https://www.linkedin.com/in/katiesnead/) If you're in the Customer Success field and would like to be in the spotlight, feel free to fill out [this form](https://forms.gle/z1TWVDxUDn31JMdn9)
Wed, Mar 22
CSM Spotlight : Daphne Costa Lopes
This week, we shine the Spotlight on Daphne Costa Lopes, the Head of CS at Hubspot. We asked Daphne a few questions about her experience in the Customer Success field and a few questions about her as a person. **How long have you been in the Customer Success field?** 10+ years **Can you tell me a bit about your journey to Customer Success? Did your education/life experience play a part in that?** I am a Principal Manager at the EMEA Business, leading our UKI geography (largest region in MRR and HC outside of NAM) and up until last year I also headed up France. Before Hubspot, I spent 10+ years building a CS Start-Up, and helping Scale-Ups and Fortune 500 businesses build and scale global customer success teams to service 100K+ customers. I have a ton of experience driving large and complex initiatives from inception, to experimentation and BAU and managing complex cross-functional global programs. I continue to do board advisory and consultancy for exciting companies and love working with the investor community. Last year I was voted top 50 Female CS leaders, top 25 Customer Success Strategist and Top 20 most Creative CS Leaders by leading industry awards. My roots are in science, product and strategy. I am a chemistry major, with a business degree and a masters in Product Management. I started my career in business analytics. My approach to scaling CS is heavily influenced by this, I’d say it’s my superpower. I have the real on-the-ground customer know-how with a very strategic and analytical mindset and a fine-tuned execution muscle. **What is one important lesson you've learned from your time in Customer Success?** The secret it's in the name. It's all about the customer. If you lose sight of what your customers need and want, to solve for internal processes, you are doing it wrong. Customers come first, processes, systems, pricing etc comes second. **What advice/tips would you give someone trying to break into Customer Success?** Focus on building the core skills that will get you into Customer Success. I have hired over 200 CSMs and interviewed thousands. I have managed CSMs in start-ups, scale-ups and enterprises. I have worked with high-touch models and low-touch models. I believe the skills I listed here are applicable to every CSM. What are the skills? -> Product Knowledge Consulting Stakeholder Management Business Insight Situational Adaptability Book of Business Management Communication Forecasting. You can find these skills and drills here: https://www.daphnelopes.com/csm-skill-practice-plan-2/ **Is there anything about the Customer Success industry that you'd like to see change?** As an industry, we are very focused on internal success metrics. Very few companies are measuring customer outcomes. But this is the most important thing here to remember that no matter how shiny and efficient your processes are, if it's not yielding outcomes for your customers, it's useless. Specially in this climate, CSMs need that outcomes information to have effective conversations with customers too. **Human spotlight** _In this section we want to learn about you the person, not the CSM._ **What are passionate about aside from Customer Success?** I love the outdoors, I am mad about board sports and there is nothing in the world I like more than getting to see the corners of our beautiful planet! I am just back from a snowboard holidays in France, am heading surfing in Lanzarote and will be at the top of Mount kilimanjaro for the sunrise of my birthday. I also have a love for reading, especially classic novels. Since I wrapped up my masters, I have read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, The Count of Monte Cristo and tons of other classic books! **What is your favorite quote/saying?** I am not a quotes kind of person. I always mess the words or get the author wrong. What I internalise is the sentiment of amazing lessons. And for me, the biggest lesson is that you are the writer of your story. You need to dream big, hold yourself accountable and take responsibility! **How do you stay motivated when things get hard?** I think about the big goal down the line. Thank you to Daphne for giving us some of her time. You can connect with Daphne on LinkedIn [here](https://www.linkedin.com/in/daphnecostalopes/) If you're in the Customer Success field and would like to be in the spotlight, feel free to fill out[ this form](https://forms.gle/Ej5Pj7mUrRkcfrwh7)
Mon, Apr 3
CSM Spotlight : Graham Gill
Today we meet Graham Gill, a CS leader and a dad. **Which company do you/did you most recently work for?** Precursive **How long have you been in the Customer Success field** 10 **Can you tell me a bit about your journey to Customer Success? Did your education/life experience play a part in that?** I sort of fell into customer success by opening my mouth one day. I had built the product marketing function, so providing air coverage for sales. Then I build the sales engineering group to take that material and to work with sales to land clients and then I noticed these clients kind of ended up in some form of support. But who was looking after them? There was a small team of one plus a couple support folks that really didn't have any oversight. I raise my hand and said I'd like to try this thing called customer success and form a team to handle our customers. From there, I went on to grow multiple teams in different industries. **What is one important lesson you've learned from your time in Customer Success?** It's not so much what I learned about my time in customer success, but more a lesson in life, and that is to be transparent and they give as much information as you can. I think the lesson that I apply even to this day I actually learned from being a product manager, and that is every person should expect one of four answers to a question: Yes-Now, Yes-Later, No-Never, No-Not Now. If you can answer one of those questions, at least your clients will understand where you are coming from. They may wanna debate it and they can but at least they understand where you stand. It removes the ambiguity that we often see breaking down communications and relationships. **What advice/tips would you give someone trying to break into Customer Success?** Great question. I guess it depends on what they have done before. I'd actually advise going off and doing something else first if you are early in your career. For me a lot of the skills that I use today in my role I got through real world experience in other roles outside of customer success. That is why I truly believe the best customer success managers are not 'booksmart', but 'streetsmart' getting real world experience and getting out of touch situations along the way. **Is there anything about the Customer Success industry that you'd like to see change?** Yes, I touched on it briefly. Less discussion about the journey mapping, save plays, and all that stuff that feels rinse and repeat. CS is about navigating real-world situation experiences. I don't see that being discussed enough. There is a lot of fluff that sends the wrong message. Also, you need to be tied to revenue or your expendable. We saw that in the aftermath of COVID and we are seeing it now with the recession. You have to be seen as not just an advocate but as driving or retaining real dollars. _In this section we want to learn about you the person, not the CSM._ **What are passionate about aside from Customer Success?** My Family. I also coach girls hockey. It is pretty cool to see the kids use the sport as a vehicle to open doors. **What is your favorite quote/saying** I don't have one specific go-to quote. I think there are a lot of great quotes for whatever moment you are in. I have been reading and listing a lot about military organizational theory lately and came across this one the other day that I wrote down: "There's likely a place in paradise for people who tried hard, but what really matters is succeeding. If that requires you to change, that's your mission." - General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army Retired **How do you stay motivated when things get hard?** I don't often lack motivation. When times get tough, I'll take a break and work on something else. Whether it's picking up some piece of technology on my desk, hitting the gym, basically anything to clear my mind that usually recharges me. Or I'll try to write. Now that frustrates me. I'm a failed writer. After a couple minutes of that, I'll go back to whatever the challenge was. Thank you to Graham for giving us some of his time. You can connect with Graham on LinkedIn [here](https://www.linkedin.com/in/gngill/) If you're in the Customer Success field and would like to be in the spotlight, feel free to fill out [this form](https://forms.gle/5w3o3XVowJJV9Bwv5)
Mon, Apr 17
The CSMs guide to Customer Success in 2023
2023 is almost upon us. Companies are preparing by setting goals, building content calendars, reallocating capital, and other tasks that will affect their 2023 success. But what can a Customer Success Manager do to prepare for 2023? What should the areas of focus be for an overworked Customer Success Manager? We spoke to many leading Customer Success Managers to ask them for 1 tip on how to conquer 2023 if you're an overworked Customer Success Manager. Here are answers from 2 of them. Alec Silva is a Customer Success Manager at [Enable](https://enable.com/), a company that helps businesses turn rebates into a growth engine. When asked to share a tip for 2023, Alec responded: _“So for me, it would be understanding the scope, then prioritizing and delegating. E.g., understanding companies' goals and your individual contribution to that goal (OKR/KPI). Use existing and/or implement new processes to take ownership and delegate the rest; taking a project management perspective to achieve the goal (OKR/KPI)”_ This is a great tip for effective Customer Success Managers to understand the scope of their role and the goals of their company and use this understanding to prioritize and delegate tasks effectively. This may involve setting clear objectives and key results (OKRs) or key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overall goals of the company. By taking a project management perspective and using existing or implementing new processes, Customer Success Managers can effectively take ownership of their work and delegate the rest to their team or other departments. This allows them to focus on the most important tasks and make the greatest impact on the company's success. By prioritizing and delegating tasks in this way, Customer Success Managers can more effectively achieve their OKRs or KPIs and contribute to the overall goals of the company. We also asked Josh Loe, Chief Customer Officer at [Hostaway](https://www.hostaway.com/) (a company that offers scalable solutions to fast-growing vacation rental property managers), for his take on a 2023 focus. Josh responded: _“Provide customers with a high-quality, personalized experience. Take the time to get to know your customers, ask questions, and understand their needs and preferences. This will help you build trust and loyalty with your customers, and make them feel valued and appreciated.”_ Providing customers with a high-quality, personalized experience is crucial for building trust and loyalty. By taking the time to get to know your customers, you can better understand their needs and preferences, which will allow you to tailor your products or services to better meet their needs. This can be as simple as asking questions and actively listening to their responses, or it can involve more in-depth research and analysis. Regardless of the approach you take, it's important to make your customers feel valued and appreciated. This could involve offering personalized recommendations or discounts, or simply taking the time to listen to their feedback and concerns. By making an effort to understand and meet your customers' needs, you will be able to build stronger, more lasting relationships with them, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. While this might seem like an obvious answer, the application of this principle is key. Anyone can say this, but actually doing it takes time and effort. The name of the game is Customer Success, but the road to accomplish that is paved with strong relationships. Josh and Alec took vastly different approaches to this question, and I believe that each answer has its merits. Alec's answer is more of a solution to run a more efficient organization and free up the time of an overworked Success Manager. Josh's approach is actionable on a working level; Take the time to build those relationships that are so crucial. It's important to recognize that neither Alec nor Josh are suggesting that doing this one thing will lead to success. What they've offered is valuable insights on how to be an effective Customer Success Manager when resources are limited, and what to prioritize. Alec emphasizes the importance of understanding the scope of one's role, setting clear objectives and key results, and using project management techniques to prioritize and delegate tasks effectively. Josh, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships with customers by providing a high-quality, personalized experience and taking the time to get to know them and understand their needs and preferences. At the end of the day, the goal is to build strong relationships with customers and ensure their success, and both Alec and Josh have provided valuable tips on how to do just that.
Thu, Mar 23
Customer Success Specialist Job Description 2023
As a Customer Success Manager, you play a critical role in ensuring the satisfaction and success of your company's customers. Your primary responsibility is to establish and maintain long-term relationships with customers by providing them with the support and guidance they need to achieve their goals. To attract top talent to this role, it's important to craft a clear and detailed job description that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the position. When writing a customer success specialist job description, consider the following elements: **Objectives of this role:** Outline the primary goals and objectives of the customer success specialist position. For example, you may want to highlight the importance of increasing customer retention rates, improving customer satisfaction, or expanding the company's customer base. **Responsibilities:** List the specific tasks and responsibilities that the customer success specialist will be expected to perform on a day-to-day basis. These may include account management, providing product support and training, conducting customer onboarding and onboarding, and working with cross-functional teams to resolve customer issues. **Required skills and qualifications:** Identify the minimum skills and qualifications that applicants should have in order to be considered for the role. These may include strong communication and interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities, and experience in customer service or account management. **Preferred skills and qualifications:** In addition to the required skills and qualifications, you may want to list any preferred skills or qualifications that would be beneficial for the customer success specialist to have. For example, you may prefer candidates with experience in a specific industry or with certain technical skills. By including these elements in your customer success specialist job description, you can attract qualified candidates who are well-suited for the role and committed to driving customer success for your company. **Sample Customer Success Specialist Job Description** Here is a sample job description for a customer success specialist: **Position:** Customer Success Specialist **Location:** [Company Headquarters] **Overview:** As a customer success specialist, you will play a critical role in ensuring the satisfaction and success of our customers. Your primary responsibility will be to establish and maintain long-term relationships with customers by providing them with the support and guidance they need to achieve their goals. You will work closely with cross-functional teams to resolve customer issues and identify opportunities to improve the customer experience. **Objectives of this role:** -Increase customer retention rates by providing exceptional customer service and support -Improve customer satisfaction by proactively addressing customer needs and concerns -Expand the company's customer base by identifying and pursuing new customer acquisition opportunities **Responsibilities:** -Manage a portfolio of customer accounts, including conducting regular check-ins, providing product training and support, and conducting customer onboarding and onboarding -Work with cross-functional teams to resolve customer issues and identify opportunities to improve the customer experience -Identify and pursue new customer acquisition opportunities by analyzing customer data and identifying trends and patterns -Collaborate with sales and marketing teams to develop and execute customer success strategies -Track and report on key metrics, including customer retention rates, customer satisfaction scores, and customer acquisition rates **Required skills and qualifications:** -Bachelor's degree in a related field -3+ years of experience in customer service or account management -Strong communication and interpersonal skills -Ability to effectively prioritize and manage multiple tasks -Experience with customer relationship management (CRM) systems **Preferred skills and qualifications:** -Experience in a specific industry (e.g., software, healthcare, financial services) -Technical skills, such as experience with programming languages or data analysis tools -Project management experience -Fluency in multiple languages To sum this all up, a customer success specialist plays a crucial role in ensuring the satisfaction and success of a company's customers. To attract top talent to this role, it's important to craft a clear and detailed job description that outlines the objectives, responsibilities, required skills and qualifications, and preferred skills and qualifications for the position. By including these elements, you can attract qualified candidates who are well-suited for the role and committed to driving customer success for your company. Some useful resources for creating a customer success specialist job description and learning more about the role include: [_The Customer Success Association_](https://www.customersuccessassociation.com/): This professional organization offers resources and information for customer success professionals, including job descriptions, industry insights, and networking opportunities. [_Customer Success Manager Job Description_](https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-success-manager): This blog post from HubSpot provides a detailed job description for customer success managers, which can serve as a useful reference for customer success specialist job descriptions as well.
Thu, Mar 23