What Does a Customer Success Manager Do in a Business?

A customer success manager helps clients meet their short-term and long-term goals with your product. This helps increase your retention and revenue.

Daniel Ternyak
February 8, 2023

Customers always have a vast amount of products to choose from. If a product doesn't offer value, it's easy for them to jump ship and opt for another brand. But sometimes, the product isn't the issue — it's a lack of guidance that makes successful implementation harder. 

Customer success managers (CSMs) help clients discover value in a product, so they have a reason to buy and stay long-term. So what does a customer success manager do exactly? We'll guide you through the role and how to excel in it in this blog post.

What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

A customer success manager is in charge of helping clients meet their short-term and long-term goals. During the sales process and onboarding process, CSMs get to know clients' needs and pain points, so clients can achieve their first wins with your company's product. Even when clients become loyal customers, CSMs continue to build strong customer relationships by following up with them.

Some specific responsibilities of a customer success manager may include:

  • Educating clients about how to use your product with their goals in mind
  • Collecting customer feedback about your product or your overall customer experience
  • Upselling or cross-selling loyal customers to increase your customer lifetime value

CSMs are highly customer-focused and help personalize each customer's experience. As a result, they play a large role in boosting customer satisfaction.

3 Ways Customer Success Managers Help Businesses

The customer success manager role has become a staple position within many SaaS companies. Now, the demand for CSMs is rising across industries, with the amount of LinkedIn listings with the job title rising by 34% in 2018. It's clear that customer success management is a growing need.

So why is this position so important? Well, here are three ways CSMs can help your business.

1. Improve Customer Retention

What does a customer success manager do: two people shaking hands

CSMs build long-term relationships with clients to ensure they're meeting their needs over time. Instead of largely ending communication once clients make it through the sales funnel, CSMs consistently check in with customers. They can act as customer advocates within your company by identifying what product features clients are struggling to use, which features are in high demand, and how you can improve your customer experience.

As you improve customer loyalty and satisfaction, your churn rate — or the percentage of clients who leave within a certain time frame — can decrease.

2. Increase Recurring Revenue

Most (65%) of an average company's revenue comes from existing customers. By nurturing your customer base, CSMs make it possible to not only maintain your current profit margins but also increase it through upsells and cross-sells. CSMs help clients discover more and more value from your product over time and give them reason to keep upgrading.

Client success managers can also contribute to your company growth rate by turning freemium or free trial users into new customers, which is another form of upselling.

3. Work More Proactively

While account managers and customer support teams play key roles in meeting customer needs, much of their role involves responding to client questions and complaints. 

CSMs tend to take on a more proactive role. Instead of reacting to problems as they arise, customer success managers prevent issues from happening in the first place. CSMs ensure clients know how to effectively use your product to alleviate a pain point or achieve a goal. This way, you can spend more time improving the customer experience than fixing it.

How to Be a Good Customer Success Manager

A great customer success manager can help your business thrive. If you're a CSM or planning to take on the role for your business, you can use these tips to excel in your position:

1. Track the Right Metrics

What does a customer success manager do: person doing calculations

In order to lead a successful customer success team, you need to know that your efforts are actually making a difference. Keeping an eye on customer success metrics — the ones that indicate your clients are getting value from your product — is key to uncovering what you're doing right or wrong.

Some metrics that you can track include:

  • Customer satisfaction score: This is the average rating that clients give a product or specific feature — perhaps after you ask them to rate it on a scale of 1-10.
  • Customer retention rate: This is the percentage of clients who stay with your business within a set time period. Some CSMs track retention rate specifically for the customer onboarding process, during which new customers may be prone to dropping.
  • Churn rate: This is the percentage of clients who stop using your product within a certain time period.
  • Monthly active users: This is the amount of people who use your product every single month within a specific time frame. You can zoom in on customers who meet a specific level of engagement to understand if clients are regularly using your product as intended.

Make sure to set goals — ideally, exact numbers you want to reach by a specific date — before you start tracking these metrics. This way, you'll know if you're on track to your goals.

2. Use a Customer Success Platform

To improve your customer success management, you can invest in software that's specifically designed to help you help your clients. Platforms like Gainsight and ChurnZero offer instant customer health scores that help you predict which clients need more support to gain value from your product.

Customer success platforms can further help you collect feedback, map out your customer journey, and capture key metrics.

3. Personalize Your Client Interactions

When you want to help clients in a way that customer support agents and salespeople cannot, you need to add more personalization into your conversations. Clients won't benefit from the same marketing emails that you send to your entire customer base. CSMs must focus on providing guidance that's highly relevant to each customer's needs and goals.

One way you can add personalization is by using a live video chat tool like ServiceBell, which allows you to onboard clients or provide one-on-one support. With ServiceBell, clients simply need to hop on your site and tap a widget to speak to your team members face-to-face.

To further ensure every customer interaction is as personalized as possible, even when you're creating bulk campaigns, you can consider investing in sales management software. Doing so allows you to track customer data and record insights. This way, your CSMs can successfully segment your audience — perhaps based on the value you need to provide — for automated interactions, or reference data when chatting with clients live.

Embrace Customer Success Management

So what does a customer success manager do? They're focused on helping clients achieve their goals over the course of their relationship with your business. It's a proactive role that can help your team impress clients, rather than wait for issues to arrive to act. As you take on the CSM role, make sure you're maximizing your own success by tracking key metrics, using customer success software, and keeping every interaction as personalized as possible.

If you're interested in adding live video chat to your site to help you improve your management, sign up for a free ServiceBell account. After adding a small snippet of code to your website, you're all set to take calls from your clients.