By Ashley Hall
If there is one concept that unites a majority of the population it is that, "Change is hard." How often have you been given this counsel by a mentor, or thought about it yourself while going through a tough transition? This old adage is one that rings true and can be experienced time and time again when working at a startup. It is easy to get run down or discouraged when faced with a lot of change, and especially when you are the main communicator to a group of clients. As a client-facing liaison it is your duty to do everything you can to ensure that internal changes have the minimum impact on your clients. Here are some things to keep in mind when facing this scenario.
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." Maya Angelou
Keep your head up
We’ve confirmed that this is going to be hard, so now what? Spend some time identifying your points of challenge or stress and share them with your manager. Make those items known, work toward a solution and move forward. It's understandable to take some time to adjust to a change but you cannot function well in the middle of frustration. Once you've aired your concerns take some action. Create a plan of attack. Plan for how you will handle the change internally and then shift your planning to clients, where it really counts.
Did you know that checking items off a to-do list releases endorphins? Having a clear organized plan will keep you on track, ensuring that not a detail is missed. Not only will this provide you and your client with comfort and direction, but it will also allow you to interact effectively with management at your company when you are inevitably asked, “How are things going?”
Put the client first
The most important thing, of course, is to make sure that your clients are not negatively impacted by what your company is changing. Tailor your communications: Certain clients may need to know more or less information to be comfortable with the change. In some cases the messaging might be better received from your company’s leadership. Don’t hesitate to collect feedback from your client once the change has been communicated. You can always start with how you might imagine the change is impacting them, but confirm your thoughts and ask them if there is anything you're missing. Clear communication, even when you’re talking about change, can be great for relationship building.
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." Winston Churchill
It is without a doubt this change is coming from a desire to improve something. Although this can create challenges for both you and your client along the way, the result should be a better experience with your brand. It is a given some clients will be upset or not like the change, but keep things in perspective and know that while change will come again in the future, it is generally accompanied by enhancements to your product or service that many clients will appreciate.
There will be some highs and lows throughout your startup experience. Take transitions one day at a time. Remember to keep your head up, stay organized, prioritize your clients, and have a little fun along the way. Executing a well thought out plan for change will benefit you, your brand, and your client!
Does your CSM team need training on how to handle difficult conversations with customers? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that works with executives who are ready to build and develop a top performing success team. Check out our training program at www.TheSuccessLeague.io
Ashley Hall - Ashley loves to lead account management teams; from training newbies to building processes out of chaos to working directly with customers. With an eye on the future she is a powerhouse in building scaleable frameworks that support and drive growth. Ashley serves as an advisor to The Success League, and is currently working for Sparkcentral as an account manager. She holds a BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and enjoys living in San Francisco, CA.