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Top 3 Priorities of a Customer Success Manager

Earlier last month we posted a poll on LinkedIn asking other customer success managers:

“What should be the first priority of a customer success manager?”

The majority of CSMs voted:

#1 – Growing customer lifetime value,

followed closely in the #2 slot by:

– proactively engaging users at risk and

– growing user adoption.

Customer Success Manager Priority

How to grow customer lifetime value?

So if growing customer lifetime value is the goal, the question is: how do we do this?

Most pricing models these days are based on:

  • the number of users (seats);
  • some measure of usage or capacity (number of contacts, storage space used, etc.), and;
  • the number of features used (plans with access to more features costs more on a a per user basis than plans with less features – think Salesforce.com).

So simply put, if you grow the number of users, usage or the functionality used, you will grow customer lifetime value (and your revenues). So far so good, but the bigger question is: how to grow the number of users, usage and functionality within an account?

This is the key question and our primary business at Totango.

Engagement plays to drive usage and adoption

Let’s look at some examples of how companies drive usage and adoption – we call these “engagement plays”.

Engagement plays tend to fall into one of four categories:

  1. Customer interaction management – contact the right user at the right time with the right message
  2. Contextual training – in-app training and how-to customized based on actual user behavior
  3. Incentives to users – top users lists, other gamification features
  4. Community – put end-users in touch with each other to get help and tips at the right rime.

Some examples of engagement plays:

  • Zendesk sends email reminders to their new users to complete tasks that will enhance their experience (based on their research), and whenever they reach a yearly anniversary with a customer, they get some cool swag to commemorate it! Building a great relationship is a good start to growing lifetime value.
  • Dropbox’s success depends on their users just absolutely NEEDING more space! To do this, they make it seamless and frictionless to upload your content to your account. For example, when you plug in your smartphone they make it easy to automagically import your videos and photos to your account or sharing them with others! Running out of space? That’s when you realize you can’t live without them, next thing you know you’re pulling out your credit card…
  • Salesforce charges by the number of features you use. In order to get people to adopt their new features (and maybe even opt to add more to their current plan), they offer impressive (and frequent) training for a lot of their features. Once you realize you can manage and plan your reports on sales and social media stats with a brand new module you think was made just for you, there’s no going back to your plain old Salesforce without all the bells and whistles.

What are some other tactics your favorite services or apps have employed to get you hooked?

If you are interested in this topic, we have a great webinar coming up on Thursday October 25th 11AM-noon PST with customer success experts from BlueJeans, Clarizen and Totango.

Ellis Luk

I'm the marketing and communications manager at Totango - but you can call me Chief Content Officer. When I'm not writing, you can find me obsessing over memes, debating grammatical usage or getting distracted by the latest Tumblr gif blogs. Customer love starts with a friendly hello!

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