By Amin Akbarpour
In every profession, there are the flashy parts of the job and the more mundane, yet necessary aspects. A great example is any musical performer. The peak of their profession is performing live in front of an audience. Before they get to that point, however, there are countless hours put into practicing and fine-tuning their craft until it’s ready to be unleashed. Similarly, client interactions are the performances of customer success. With that said, it’s easy to think that the training, practice, and internal conversations we have are the “practicing and fine-tuning.” In reality, it’s the administrative tasks that prepare us best for performance.
For every email, every phone call, and every meeting you have with a client, you should be jotting down notes. Whether it’s action items for yourself, useful takeaways on what the client is hoping to accomplish, or insight into the client’s business, these are all valuable nuggets that need to be documented.
How It Benefits The Team – Solid documentation gives your teammates a central place to look at past QBRs, business cases, root cause analysis, and other beneficial documentation. It also helps provide a history of the relationship when someone is covering for you. Nothing is worse than having to fill in for a colleague and not knowing anything about the client you’re now responsible for. Don’t be that guy. Set your teammate up for success and ensure that your client doesn’t notice any lags in service.
How It Benefits You – The reality is that logging activities helps you more than anyone else. It lets you store past interactions that you can reference in the future, use to study and remind yourself of key insights, and quickly cross reference to corroborate project details and commercial agreements. This should be especially top of mind for most CS reps right now. Why? It’s February and the beginning of the new fiscal year for most customers. As we’re trying to summarize the prior year’s accomplishments and strategize on how to build on what we’ve done, it’s incredibly useful to have everything documented in one easy-to-access place.
I have one word and one word only – templates. Whenever possible, try to build templates for parts of the administrative tasks that are set in front of you. Not only because it’ll help you be more efficient with your time, but because any type of standardization gives you a good baseline to compare multiple client relationships.
How It Benefits The Team – A standardized way of doing things allows for synergy and success across the team. Imagine that everyone on your team had a different agenda and delivery for QBRs. This would make it very difficult to come up with a common journey to guide clients through. Custom processes = more work, which adds up quickly when it comes to the cost of keeping a client. Giving the team templates and standardized resources helps save time, lower costs, and create a cohesive client experience.
How It Benefits You – Standard processes will save you time as you try to apply best practices across similar clients. A great example here is around data processing. Many customers in a single vertical will have similarities in terms of how they measure their business. That said, there is a slim chance that all of them will have identical goals and outcomes. Creating a template view of common KPIs allows you to quickly plug in multiple clients in a standardized way. What this gives you is the ability to look across an industry and search for trends and outliers based on the data. This can be shared with your client as an interesting nugget that could also create a new opportunity.
As customer success professionals, we’re responsible for providing customer information to various internal parties. Whether it’s helping marketing get a client to commit to become a reference, lining up customer interviews for product, or helping your CS colleagues with a case study, there are a lot of requests for customer connections and materials. Keeping all the collateral on clients in one central place is critical in providing everyone with the information they’re looking for.
How It Benefits The Team – Keeping an up-to-date repository for customer materials helps eliminate the majority of these conversations. Your colleagues can easily go into this collection and find out if you have reference permissions with a specific client, or if there’s a case study, or what feature requests they’ve made and why. It helps them be more efficient, keeps them from having to wait on you to get back to them, and…
How It Benefits You – …it saves a tremendous amount of your own time! Keeping all of these resources in one place allows you to focus on value adding tasks for your clients instead. Not to mention the energy you’ll save not having to eye roll after receiving the same request several times each month!
All in all, it’s impossible to stress enough the significance of the administrative side of a customer success role. It’s with good habits here that we’re able to become better reps and be better equipped to put our clients in the best position to succeed.
Need help getting organized? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers a complete CSM Training Program which will provide you with practical tools to strengthen your professional skills. For more information on this program and our other classes and workshops, please visit TheSuccessLeague.io
Amin Akbarpour - Amin is a customer success coach and architect. With relationship-building at the core of his practice, he molds teams by instilling the necessary principles to transform them into trusted advisors. Understanding what's needed for organizational change, he translates theory and ideology into practice and habit. Amin is one of the founding advisors to The Success League. In addition to his work with The League, Amin currently serves as an account manager for Persado. Originally from Southern California, Amin is a University of San Francisco alum who now calls New York City home.