About the Author: Enrique is a passionate advocate of the Customer Success practice. He has more than 7 years in the SaaS industry and has been part of leading companies such as AppsFlyer, Appsee (acquired by ServiceNow), and Yotpo. He has worked with all types of clients, ranging from SMBs all the way to Fortune 500 companies. Enrique's expertise in CS has helped him lead customer retention and growth by focusing on one thing—constantly delivering value to the customer. He enjoys traveling, scuba diving, skiing, playing/watching sports, reading books, and learning new things.
As a CSM you will be involved in everything that is related to your customers, the key to success here is identifying what tasks consume the majority of your time and which of these tasks can be automated so you can be more efficient, and use that saved time to work on higher-impact projects to get your customers closer to their desired outcome.
From my experience, I can say that regardless of the company you’re working at, you will always encounter most of the tasks on this list; onboarding customers, measuring feature adoption, account progress, usage of the product, technical support, building the customer profile, reports, and insights, etc.
These tasks usually take the majority of our time as CSMs, making it more difficult for us to take some time to work on other projects, nonetheless, most of these tasks can be fully or at least partially automated. Here are some tips on how you can save some time by automating and minimizing repetitive tasks.
Time-consuming Customer Success Manager Responsibilities and How To (Partially) Automate Them
Onboarding customers is something that is an essential part of the customer’s success, so regardless of which company you’re at if you’re working in SaaS, you will always need to onboard customers.
The onboarding consists of different stages: a Kickoff Call, Product Training (depending on how broad your product is, this can be divided into a few steps), Product Setup, and Onboarding Review. The way I reduce my time spent on dealing with onboarding tasks is by using presentation templates that I can easily duplicate and just change the variables according to the customer I’m onboarding.
The product features stay the same so that would be your fixed part, the variable part is what you want to modify according to your customer’s needs. This will allow you to maintain a flow that you’re familiar with, that you know it’s successful and even though you’re duplicating templates, you’re still able to tailor it according to your customer.
Feature Adoption & Progress Tracking
As you onboard your customers or you upsell/cross-sell new features, you want to be able to view if your customer is using the features that your product/platform offers. In my experience, if you have the resources, developing internal monitoring dashboards can provide you with a full view of each account’s feature usage, if not, using tools that can give you full visibility can go a long way in giving you a full picture on how your customers are using your product/platform. The analysis would still need to be done by you, but getting a fully automated report can seriously reduce the efforts required to gather the relevant data.
You can even add proactive action, by creating alerts to your email and/or slack for customers that are using a new feature or inactive customers that haven’t logged in in a while to prevent avoidable churn from happening.
This item is a bit different from the previous one seeing as usage monitoring focuses more on user-level usage. It allows you to identify who your heavy users are, potential new champions, opportunities to train more people within the customer’s account thus driving further added value, and usage across your customer’s organization. Similarly to the previous item on the list, this report can be completely automated by implementing a CS platform that can provide you with these insights.
This task can be one of the most tedious tasks, but reaching a quick and correct resolution to a support inquiry will only strengthen your relationship with your customer and their trust in you to solve any issues in the future.
The difficult and time-consuming part is that you always need to track the progression of the query. Where does it stand? Who is the support agent in charge? Does it need further escalation? What’s the ETA? Without the proper tools in place, support inquiries can fall between the cracks and can cause friction between you and your customers.
For staying on top of support progress, I add the ticket to my most important emails within my inbox once the ticket is opened, and set reminders to follow up on a daily basis. Having a support platform in place is key since it will allow you to closely follow the progress being made and know who is the right person to contact in case it reaches a stalemate.
Another way you can be proactive and step in when needed to get the ball rolling is by creating monitoring reports to alert you if too much time has passed without resolution.
Reports & Insights
Collecting data and creating insightful reports for your customers can help you build a better picture of whether your customer is achieving, or getting closer to achieving, their desired outcome. However, collecting this data can be complicated and time-consuming.
The reports you want to build should be related to the followng:
- Impact your product has had on your customers' business
- What outcomes have they seen
- Why it is worth it to continue investing and using your company as a service provider
Therefore, having an internal platform in place that measures, gathers, and accommodates this data will be key to providing high-level analysis reports to your customers. During my time at Appsflyer, our CS Ops team created multiple dashboards that gave us unique reports and insights we could use to share with our customers.
Finding the right customer data/info
Mapping out your customer’s organizational matrix is a key part of being able to increase product usage and reduce churn risk.
I’ve developed a habit of having a clear picture of what the organizational matrix looks like for each of my customers. The problem is, as your book of business continues to grow, it becomes more of a secondary task since it’s harder to maintain and update all of the relevant contact information and details. I set a reminder and some time in my calendar to update this information at least once a month so my managers and myself can have a “customer profile” page that we can trust and use.
All these tasks are examples of tasks that are repetitive in the day-to-day of a CSM, and are generally important to follow regardless of what your product is. In order to minimize the time you spend with these tasks, you first have to identify which ones are repetitive, the second step is to identify the most time-consuming tasks, since it’s the repetitive and most time-consuming tasks you want to be able to automate and make more efficient.
Once you have a list of tasks, you can begin working on automation and finding ways to make your day-to-day work more efficient. At the end of the day, the most important job of a CSM is to showcase and add value to your customers, so any additional time you can save to work on this will only get you closer to achieving your customer’s Desired Outcome.
For Customer Success teams that are looking to automate their CS processes at the department level, and empower their CSMs to create best-in-class customer experiences at scale, schedule a personalized demo of Vitally's Customer Success platform today.