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Becoming Customer Success Manager

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

I decided to share my journey to becoming a customer success manager today in the hopes that it will encourage others who are considering to take on this position.

My childhood dream was fashion designer. Watching my mum sew and craft as a child inspired me to become someone who creates and designs. It changed when I was in my teens, and I wanted to be a journalist who travel the world, meet new people and sharing stories that may inspire and educate others. Well...dreams don't always come true, and according to a statistic I saw somewhere, just 4% of people were successful in landing the career of their childhood dreams. I didn't belong to that 4% either, so I chose to pursue a job in technology.

In early 2000s was a decade of insane technological advancement like electronic pet - Giga, buttonless phone - iPhone, saying goodbye to floppy disk - Flash Drive. In essence, it was developing the technology that we use today. It was wowing people and it also wowed Zaya. So I made the decision to learn more about technology and become a part of the future.

After my graduation, I got a job in consulting firm and until now I am still in this industry. First, I worked as Technical Consultant which gave me opportunity to use what I studied as a developer while also learning how to translate business needs into technology.

Today, I work as a Senior Customer Success Manager for a well-known Unicorn SaaS company in Singapore, where I get to work with my awesome clients who are world's most recognizable companies. I travel for work in neighbouring countries and interact with different nationalities from all around the world. You easily can find role and duties of Customer Success Manager online. I'll thus share with you some ugly also amazing aspect of being Customer Success Manager.

As a Customer Success Manager, my day starts with reviewing my schedule and prioritising the tasks while I'm having my coffee. This helps me to start my brain working and focused. Then mid-morning, I will have a daily huddle with my team and check-in with my manager to fill them in on what are the priorities of the day and what support I need from my manager. Recently, we started following SLII framework which allows us to get relevant support from our manager in a given situation.

Then the fun begins in mid-afternoon: account health reviews, onboarding new clients and check-in meetings with my partners who needs assistance with issues, as well as assisting them in developing strategic ideas for upcoming campaigns and mapping them into action plans. The account health and check-in meetings are part of my KPI and as Customer Success Managers, it's important to maintain good product adoption as well as ensure that our clients strategically accelerate their growth with us.

I prioritise the tasks that related to clients by account type and status. For example, Enterprise and Multi-Domain clients are high priority. But if their status is onboarding OR in risk status, I would make it higher priority and spend more time and attention. Specially, onboarding clients are very important because, understanding their requirement and mapping their needs into our solution is key to grow them as successful client. For those accounts, which involve collaborating with multiple internal and external stakeholders, so project management expertise is important. The project may need to be planned out in phases at times and it requires managing their expectations which sometimes overwhelming.

As much as I enjoy managing projects, I love working on strategy and coming up with new idea. I feel energized and full of ideas 90% of the time when I'm working on strategy and making business reviews. This is the part that connects with my creative side - creating customer journey, thinking of solutions to over come their marketing challenges and increase their sales conversions.

Later in the day, I will have a periodic meetings with product team and share feedback for the products and get to know about new product features so that I can help partners take full advantage of all technology they invested in.

I finish the day by cleaning my inbox, making plans for tomorrow and reflecting on it while listening to lo-fi music.

There is never a dull moment in a CSM's life because every day is different. My motivation to get out of bed in the morning is always renewed by the chance I have an opportunity to empower my partners. I find my work to be so fulfilling when my partners overachieve their objectives with solution I advised.

Despite the fact that I didn't pursue careers as a fashion designer or journalist, my work as a CSM still enables me to network internationally, tell success stories about business problems, geek out about technology, stay ahead of the curve, and, most importantly, make a difference. By looking back to 19 years old me making decision to pursue a career in Software and Mathematics Engineering, I am so proud of her. There is so much to learn, and I am continually honing my skills every day by learning from the industry and our clients with whom we collaborate at Insider.

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