12 Time Management Strategies for Customer Success Professionals

CS professionals at every level deal with overflowing inboxes, various internal responsibilities, and, of course, many client accounts, all with their own unique needs. 

Want to know the secret to managing it all and stressing less? 

The good news is that there’s more than one. Maintaining a high level of productivity without burning out is an art form. But with a little knowledge and trial and error, you can master it in no time. 

In this guide, we’ll share insights from real Customer Success leaders, highlight tools you may not have thought to incorporate into your CS work, and discover scientifically backed time management techniques that occupational therapists recommend. 

12 Customer Success Time Management Strategies to Achieve More and Burn Out Less

CSMs are like the orchestrators within the business,” says Rebecca Wilde, Senior Customer Success Manager at Egnyte. “They’re often pulled in many different directions, making it difficult to time-manage.”

The solution? Better tools, processes, and productivity hacks like the ones we suggest below. 

Whether you choose to use one or more of the following, keep in mind that there are seasons to productivity. What that means is you may experience a higher energy level in one calendar season or have more on your plate at work in a certain quarter, for example. 

Regardless, the tips you choose to experiment with below should be ones that help you navigate the busy seasons and make the most out of the slow seasons.

Productivity is an ever-evolving internal project. So consider what works for you now and be malleable about what you’ll bring with you in the future. 

Now let’s dive in! 

1. Create repeatable processes

One of the best ways for Customer Success professionals to save time is to establish a streamlined process for recurring projects such as customer onboarding, engagement, and milestone tracking. This includes getting in the habit of reducing, reusing, and recycling collateral — no more reinventing the wheel every time you need a slide deck. 

Vitally’s own Automated Playbooks are a great example of how a template that includes custom action triggers (e.g. frequency, re-enrollment, waiting periods, and more) can easily perform tasks for you over and over again. 

If you want to go further with creating repeatable processes, browse our library of Customer Success templates and discover all the creative ways that Vitally customers are using workflows and automations to do important things quickly. 

2. Prioritize your schedule

To reduce stress and boost productivity, particularly in the dynamic field of Customer Success, thoughtful daily planning is key. The essence lies in crafting a schedule that not only encompasses critical client meetings, strategic planning sessions, and key deliverables but also offers the flexibility to adapt to the unpredictable nature of customer interactions.

Begin by anchoring your schedule with fixed commitments. These are the immovable pillars of your day, such as scheduled client calls, team huddles, and deadlines for customer deliverables. These tasks take precedence due to their direct impact on customer relationships and service delivery.

Around these fixed points, weave in more flexible tasks. These might include responding to non-urgent client emails, updating customer records, or working on longer-term success plans for clients. These tasks, while important, can be shifted in response to the day's demands.

Crucially, earmark approximately 20% of your day as a buffer zone. This is your safety net for when client calls extend beyond their allotted time, when you need to address urgent issues that clients bring to your attention, or when you have to dive into unexpected problem-solving. This buffer ensures you remain responsive and adaptable without derailing your day's plan.

For an added edge, take a moment each morning to mentally walk through your day's agenda. Envisioning the successful execution of your tasks, especially those directly impacting your clients, can enhance your focus and effectiveness. 

This practice is grounded in cognitive psychology findings, which suggest that visualizing tasks can improve memory retention and help prioritize tasks more effectively, making it a valuable technique for staying on top of your Customer Success responsibilities.

3. Try the Eisenhower Matrix

Rebecca Wilde suggests taking the “don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today” approach, and to “utilize the quadrants of time management to categorize items in order of priority” — which is also known as the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is a time management tool that helps individuals prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. The matrix is divided into four quadrants:

  1. Urgent and Important (Do First): Tasks that require immediate attention and are critical for achieving your goals. These should be done right away. Not sure what should go here when everything feels like a top priority? Rebecca says that one of her most effective time management strategies is “following up on urgent/important items right after a customer interaction.” 
  2. Important but Not Urgent (Schedule): Tasks that are important for long-term goals and success but do not require immediate action. These should be scheduled for a later time.
  3. Urgent but Not Important (Delegate): Tasks that require immediate attention but do not contribute significantly to your long-term goals. These can be delegated to others.
  4. Neither Urgent nor Important (Eliminate): Tasks that are neither urgent nor important should be minimized or eliminated as they are often distractions.

Customer Success professionals can use the Eisenhower Matrix to increase productivity by:

  • Classifying customer issues and requests based on their urgency and importance. 
  • Allocating time effectively between reactive customer support (urgent tasks) and proactive customer success initiatives (important tasks) that enhance customer value and loyalty over the long term.
  • Identifying tasks that can be delegated to other team members or automated using customer success tools. This frees up time for more strategic activities that directly impact customer success and business outcomes.
  • Identifying activities that are neither urgent nor important, such as unnecessary meetings or excessive email checking, and minimizing the time spent on these to focus more on activities that truly matter for customer success.

4. Taskify emails upon receipt 

Instead of toggling between your inbox and your project management platform, enable or adopt a tool that lets you create a task right within emails. 

For example, let’s say you're a Customer Success Manager and you receive an email from a key client outlining several issues they're encountering with your product. Instead of switching back to your project management platform to log these issues, an email inbox integration tool (like the kind offered by ClickUp or Wrike) allows you to create tasks directly from the email. 

You can then assign these tasks to the relevant team members, set deadlines, and even prioritize them — all without leaving your inbox.

This approach not only ensures that you capture every detail from the client's communication but also allows you to immediately set the resolution process in motion. It keeps the client's needs at the forefront, ensuring that no critical issue is overlooked due to an overcrowded inbox. This seamless transition from communication to action exemplifies the proactive and responsive attention that is essential in Customer Success roles.

5. Optimize final meeting minutes

Save the last 15 minutes of every meeting to wrap up and reiterate what was discussed. This structured wrap-up should include:

  • Recap of Key Discussions. Summarize the main points discussed, focusing on customer feedback, identified challenges, and opportunities for improvement. This ensures both you and the client are aligned on the conversation's core themes.
  • Action Items. Develop a bulleted list of next steps, clearly specifying who is responsible for each task. This may include items like implementing a feature request, addressing a customer support ticket, or scheduling a follow-up session to review progress on a particular issue.
  • Documentation Sharing Plan. Identify any documents, reports, or resources that need to be exchanged post-meeting. This could involve sharing usage statistics, best practice guides, or case studies relevant to the client's needs.
  • Follow-up Schedule. Agree on a timeline for the next touchpoints, whether they're formal meetings, check-in calls, or progress reports. Setting a date ensures accountability and keeps the momentum going.
  • Feedback Loop. Open the floor for any immediate feedback on the meeting itself or the overall service experience. This not only shows your commitment to continuous improvement but also strengthens the client's engagement with your service.

6. Block off focus time

Whether it’s on your calendar, schedule, or planner, the science says concentrated focus time (a la The Pomodoro Technique) dedicated to deep work is a winner for productivity regardless of what you’re working on. In fact, several Redditors in r/CustomerSuccess agree and provide practical tips for how they’ve pulled it off: 

  • “Block off focus time so that nobody can book a meeting in the middle of it!”
  • “Don't schedule yourself for ‘Tasks’ or ‘focus time’ that you are unable to do.”
  • “Book focus time. Seriously.”

7. Minimize task switching

Task switching, often referred to as multitasking, involves shifting attention from one task to another in a short period of time. This practice can hurt productivity because it leads to increased cognitive load and time lost due to context switching. 

Each time we switch tasks, our brain needs to reorient itself to the new task, recall relevant information, and set aside the previous task's thought processes. This transition period, though seemingly brief, accumulates over time and can significantly reduce efficiency while increasing the likelihood of errors. Ultimately, task switching can only hinder overall productivity.

Consider a Customer Success Manager who, in the midst of crafting a strategic email to a high-priority client, pauses to respond to a series of instant messages from the team. Each interruption not only breaks the flow of thought required for the email but also necessitates a mental shift as the manager engages with the new context of the team's queries. 

After addressing these interruptions, returning to the original task of email composition requires a period of reorientation. The manager must recall the email's purpose, the points already covered, and the tone intended. 

Even if it feels productive in the moment, this pattern can erode the quality of customer interactions and the effectiveness of the Customer Success Manager's role over time. 

8. Know thyself 

In the fast-paced environment of Customer Success, being honest with yourself about your productivity peaks and troughs is crucial. Recognize the times when you're most energized and focused then align those with your most critical customer interactions or complex problem-solving tasks. 

For instance, if you find your concentration is sharpest in the early hours, reserve that time for developing customer success strategies or tackling high-priority client issues.

On the other hand, if you notice a pattern of lower energy or focus (like post-lunch or late afternoons), avoid scheduling intensive client meetings or deep-dive analytical work during these periods. Use these times for less demanding tasks, like updating customer records or responding to routine inquiries.

Additionally, the dynamic nature of Customer Success means that rigid time blocking may not always be practical. For example, client emergencies can arise, requiring immediate attention and disrupting your planned schedule. 

To build more flexibility into your calendar, designate specific times for open-ended client support, allowing you to adapt to unexpected demands without sacrificing planned tasks.

Remember: self-awareness is key. If, for example, you consistently find Thursdays challenging due to cumulative week-long fatigue, it's wise to avoid scheduling critical client strategy meetings or feedback sessions on Thursday mornings. Instead, use this time for internal tasks that demand less external engagement.

This approach not only prevents burnout but also ensures you're operating at your best when interacting with clients, thereby enhancing the quality of your Customer Success efforts. Stay attuned to your personal rhythms and adjust your schedule as needed to maintain peak performance and job satisfaction in your Customer Success role.

9. Sleep well

Yes, really. As one Redditor commented on a thread about time management strategies for Customer Success Managers: 

“Sleep well. Trust me on this when I say quite literally everything will feel like ‘catching up’ if quality sleep is deprioritized. I've only made this switch to committing 7-8 hrs of sleep and it has leveled up almost everything I do. The benefits truly kick in after a full week.”

Did you know? 46% of CSMs report that their job has negatively affected their sleep. (source: Vitally’s ‘Secret Lives of CSMs’ report.)

10. Batch tasks

For Customer Success professionals who often juggle multiple client accounts and internal responsibilities at the same time, allocating specific time blocks for various types of activities can significantly enhance efficiency and service quality. 

For example, you might want to designate certain hours of the day exclusively for client meetings. This will ensure that you're fully present and engaged during these critical interactions without the distraction of pending administrative tasks.

Similarly, setting aside dedicated time for follow-up tasks related to client meetings — such as sending out meeting notes, action items, or additional resources — can help ensure these important steps are not overlooked in the rush of day-to-day activities. This focused approach allows you to thoroughly address each client's needs and concerns, fostering stronger relationships and enhancing customer satisfaction.

And last but not least, reserving blocks of time for recurring administrative work (such as updating client records, compiling reports, or planning customer success strategies) helps to maintain the operational backbone of your role. Having dedicated time ensures these essential tasks receive the attention they need without being constantly interrupted by more immediate demands.

By clearly delineating your day into segments dedicated to different activities, you not only guard against over-scheduling but also enable deeper focus on each task at hand. As a result you can expect to see higher quality outcomes in every aspect of your Customer Success responsibilities.

11. Set work-life boundaries

Use the settings in Gmail and Slack to let team members know your working hours or when you'll be away from your desk. You can also set expectations for when you’ll both check and respond to email messages as they come in. For example, we’ve heard of some professionals who let team members know that they check email once at the beginning of the day and again at the end but not during.

Did you know? 54% of CSMs report checking their chat workspace platforms outside of working hours, and 40% do it even when they are on PTO. (source: Vitally’s ‘Secret Lives of CSMs’ report.)

You should also incorporate regular breaks into your schedule to avoid burnout. This practice is crucial for maintaining long-term productivity and mental well-being. Take a five minute break every half hour or a ten minute break every hour. And make sure that when you take lunch, do not do work or answer emails during that time, otherwise you’ll likely feel more burnt out before the work day is actually over.

And never, ever be shy about communicating your workload limitations to your team — especially when you’re overwhelmed! “I would advise any new Customer Success Manager aiming to consistently stay productive and reach goals despite growing demand to communicate with leadership or direct line managers regularly,” Rebecca says. “If you continue working hard and being overly productive or working late, the business will assume it doesn’t need to adjust for the demand.” 

12. Gain control of time zones

Some Customer Success professionals hold accounts in different time zones. This can be a challenge on work-life balance, your sleep schedule, and your stress levels. While we hope it’s a temporary situation, here’s what you can do to stay on top of it all and make the most of your time management in the process:

  • Be prepared to adjust your working hours when dealing with clients in significantly different time zones. Balance this with your personal time to prevent overwork​​.
  • Tools like World Time Buddy can be invaluable for scheduling meetings across different time zones without causing confusion​​.
  • Suggest more efficient solutions to your organization so that your number of timezone commitments are systematically decreased over the near-term.

Bonus tip: Use a CSP! 

A Customer Success Platform (CSP) can streamline operations, automate repetitive tasks, provide valuable insights, and enhance collaboration—all of which contribute to more effective time management. Here are just a few time-saving features to look out for: 

  • Centralized Customer Information. Having a centralized platform where all customer information is stored (think communication history, product usage data, and feedback) means that customer success teams can quickly access the information they need without having to sift through multiple systems or files. As Rebecca advises, “sticking to one system of note taking for customers” is a time management strategy she relies on to stay on top of it all. 
  • Automations. Tasks that automatically fire when specific triggers are hit can save a significant amount of time on administrative work that would normally disrupt your higher ROI projects. 
  • Customer Health Scores. Analytics help CS professionals be proactive in addressing potential issues. This saves time in the long run by preventing small issues from becoming time-consuming problems. It’ll also help with task prioritization. 
  • Integration With Other Tools. Many customer success platforms integrate with other business tools such as CRM systems, communication tools, and analytics software. These integrations allow for a seamless flow of information and reduce the time spent switching between different applications to complete tasks.

Successful time management improves customer growth and retention

As Rebecca Wilde tells us, “effective time management sets an accurate standard of the need for the business to maintain a CSM function. It also reflects customer needs balanced with the available resources of the company to maximize profit and negate logo and revenue loss.”

Not only that but successful time management also indicates to the market that the company is doing well. “If CSMs manage their time well, they are able to maximize the impact on customer outcomes and retain as well as grow their account base,” Rebecca says.

With these CS time management strategies in place, you and your team will be one step closer to achieving the personal and professional goals that matter most. 

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