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What is a Customer Success Manager (CSM)? [Roles & Responsibilities)

All the top questions about customer success managers—answered.

The Hugo Team
The Hugo Team
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What is a Customer Success Manager (CSM)? [Roles & Responsibilities)

What is a customer success manager?

A customer success manager is responsible for ensuring the happiness and success of customers who use the product. They accomplish this by building relationships with the customers and being an advocate for them, solving problems that arise, and ultimately increasing overall user adoption of the product.

What is a typical CSM day like?

Customer success managers spend most of their time talking to customers, whether it's via phone, email, support tickets, in-product chat, or in customer meetings. They'll also typically meet regularly with development/product managers and executives where they can discuss customer needs and help the team to prioritize new feature development.

What types of people do well in the role?

Customer success managers must be extremely friendly, self-motivated, organized, and have excellent communication skills. They generally should have a strong background in either previous account management or support roles since they'll be interacting with customers similarly to those roles.

What skills should a person have to become a customer success manager?

  • Customer-facing experience, particularly in sales or support
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities
  • Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Exceptional ability to prioritize tasks and work independently
  • Ability to handle stress and pressure
  • Proactivity

Then, what is customer success management?

Customer success management, which also uses the acronym CSM, involves creating partnerships with customers to ensure their long-term engagement and satisfaction.

Put another way, CSM is what CSMs do.

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What does a customer success manager do?

A customer success manager (CSM) is responsible for ensuring the happiness and success of customers who use the product. They accomplish this by building relationships with the customers and being an advocate for them, solving problems that arise, and ultimately increasing overall user adoption of the product.

Customer success manager roles & responsibilities:

  • Act as a liaison between the customer and the product team
  • Identify, troubleshoot and proactively solve customer problems
  • Create positive relationships with customers to turn them into brand advocates
  • Meet with customers a regular basis
  • Manage billing disputes and upgrade/downgrade requests
  • Provide feedback to the product team on how customers will use the new features
  • Provide product feedback to help shape future versions of the product
  • Conduct post-launch customer reviews
  • Maintain a thorough knowledge of the product and its capabilities
  • Help to define success criteria for customer accounts
  • Ensure all contractual obligations are kept up to date, including payment terms.

What is it like being a Customer Success Manager?

Customer Success Managers are the middlemen of a SaaS company.  They are the liaison between the customer and the product team. They must understand problems a customer is facing, how they can be solved, and then communicate those solutions to the product team.

Customer Success Managers at SaaS companies typically focus on three goals:

  1. Increasing user adoption of your company's SaaS offering
  2. Solving customers' pain points by building relationships and communicating successfully with both the product team and customers
  3. Ensuring that customers renew their subscription to continue using your company's SaaS offering

Customer Success Managers deal with a lot of pressure. They must also be able to juggle many different responsibilities at once and stay on top of everything.

The day-to-day work activities of a Customer Success Manager include:

  • Meeting and talking to customers to conduct training, and learn about customer needs and pain points
  • Working with the product team, sales team, and customer support teams to solve problems

What does success look like for CSMs?

Successful customer success managers are able to do the following things for their company:

  1. Increase customer satisfaction by effectively communicating with customers, solving problems for them, and helping to define success criteria to better understand how to help them succeed
  2. Grow revenue by increasing user adoption of your SaaS product
  3. Decrease churn rates by handling billing disputes, upgrade requests, and other items to ensure that customers are happy with their subscription

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