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Customer Success Manager for a Project Management Company

Q: Where are you located?

A: I am based in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

Q: What is your role title?

A: My role title is Customer Success Manager.

Q: In your words, describe what you actually do?

A: As a CSM, I ensure customers are getting value from our product. I onboard new customers, provide training and support, and serve as the main point of contact when issues arise. I collaborate cross-functionally to align teams around customer needs.

Q: How long have you been doing this role for?

A: I've been a CSM for 3 years.

Q: How did you get to this point in your career?

A: I started in sales but moved to customer success because I enjoyed building relationships with customers. I worked hard, took on new responsibilities, and advocated for the CSM role.

Q: When it comes to remuneration, what are your three B’s? (Base, Bonus, Benefits?)

A: My base salary is $80k. I have an annual bonus up to 10% based on customer retention. Benefits include health insurance, 401k matching, and unlimited PTO.

Q: I’m not going to ask you who you work for, but, what industry is your company in?

A: I work at a SaaS company in the project management space.

Q: When it comes to work flexibility, is your work primarily office-based, fully remote, or a mix of both? Which do you prefer? Does your company allow you to be flexible?

A: My role is fully remote. I appreciate the flexibility to balance work and personal life. Our company is fully distributed.

Q: What does an average week or a typical day look like for you? Can you walk me through your day? What time do you arrive and start at work, what are your main tasks/responsibilities, who do you interact with, what meetings do you attend, etc.?

A: I start my day checking emails and triaging any urgent customer issues. I spend mornings onboarding new customers or providing training via video calls. Afternoons are focused on proactive outreach to check in on customers and address concerns. I collaborate closely with sales, support, product, and engineering teams.

Q: What does a typical day look like when things are going well vs a more challenging/stressful day?

A: On good days I can complete training sessions and prepare helpful resources. Challenging days involve handling escalated issues and dissatisfied customers. I have to troubleshoot problems across teams.

Q: What skills or knowledge are most important for your day-to-day work?

A: Communication skills, project management, and product knowledge are essential. I need to understand customers' needs and the product capabilities.

Q: What are some examples of recent accomplishments or contributions you've made in this role?

A: I created a new onboarding framework that increased retention. I regularly receive positive feedback from customers.

Q: Do you have a supportive manager and do you feel valued?

A: My manager trusts me to manage my accounts independently but is supportive when needed. I feel valued for my contributions.

Q: How much time do you spend collaborating with colleagues vs working independently?

A: It's a mix - I collaborate closely with other teams but have autonomy over my accounts.

Q: Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting this role?

A: I wish I had known how much influence CSMs have over the product roadmap. I can now align it to customer needs.

Q: What do you hate most about your role?

A: I dislike having to handle angry customers. But it's an opportunity to turn them into advocates.

Q: What do you love most about your role?

A: I love building relationships with customers and ensuring their success with our product. It's very rewarding.

Q: What’s the next role for you and when do you hope to achieve this?

A: In 2 years I hope to be a Customer Success Director managing a team of CSMs.

Q: Is your next role going to be with the same company or a different one?

A: I plan to grow into leadership roles at my current company.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who aspires to reach your position?

A: Build trust with customers and become their advocate across the org. Focus on their long-term success.

Q: It’s Day 1 for someone in your role. What one piece of advice would you give them to succeed?

Here are a few tips I would give someone on their first day as a CSM to set them up for success:

  • Thoroughly study the product – Become an expert on the product’s capabilities, limitations, ideal use cases, and roadmap. This will make you a trusted advisor to customers.
  • Shadow other CSMs – Sit in on calls and meetings to learn best practices for onboarding, training, account management, and communicating with customers.
  • Review your accounts  Get familiar with each customer’s use case, goals, contacts, and history. Prioritize onboarding for new accounts.
  • Set expectations – Make sure customers know your role and when/how you’ll be communicating. Set a cadence for check ins.
  • Build relationships – Learn about your contacts as people. Know their goals and challenges. Build rapport and trust.
  • Communicate proactively – Don’t wait for customers to come to you. Reach out early and often to advise and check satisfaction.
  • Collaborate cross functionally – Develop connections with sales, support, product teams to align on customer needs.
  • Develop processes – Create templates and document best practices for onboarding, training, account reviews, expansion, and more.
  • Analyze metrics – Understand and track customer health scores, retention, expansion, surveys. Surface insights.
  • Stay organized – Keep CRM updated. Log all communications. Create project plans and task lists to stay on top of accounts.
  • Ask for feedback – Check in with manager and customers on how you’re doing and where you can improve.

The key is being proactive, delivering value, and building strong relationships, especially
early on.

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