The COVID-19 crisis opened the doors for a lot of business change. Companies were focused on driving revenue and gaining market traction. Now, the same companies are encountering crises in aspects such as sales, marketing, operations, shortages, and more.
The challenge is more pronounced with customer success leaders. Customer success managers need to handle customer issues, enhance customer experiences, and make sure they get value even in times of crisis. A customer success manager needs to develop resilience in the times of crisis. Braving storms must come easily to them to offer the best to customers. The customer success team needs to keep up their performance and fight many battles to reach their goals. This is because the company’s future depends on the customer success team to a large extent.
A customer might be happy with nine experiences, but it takes just one bad experience to break the company’s reputation. Customers always seek value. It can be challenging to deal with customers who are frustrated, or systems that won’t work, or more. This is why customer success leaders need to cope with all forms of changes and tough times to create a resilient customer success team.
For any crisis, you need to evaluate the following aspects-
- Does the crisis impact normal operations?
- Is the crisis long-term?
- Can the impact be long-term if not dealt with?
- Is the customer frustrated?
- Will customer cash flow be impacted?
- Would the customer consider churning?
- How many customers are facing this issue?
- How much time will it take for the issue to be solved?
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How to Lead Through a Crisis: A Guide for Customer Success Leaders
To lead a customer success team through a crisis, here are some aspects a customer success leader can do. This guide will help customer success leaders ace any crisis.
Envision your strategy with challenges
Know that frustrations, challenges, and failures are part of the journey, and include them in your plan. You need to keep adequate setbacks and unique challenges in mind. These plans need to be made keeping the whole team in mind. In a time of crisis, you need to mold the process to suit the need for changing shapes in the structure.
Track KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and accounts
For customer success managers, it is important to handle crises in a just manner. You need to keep track of KPIs and accounts to notice any chances of churn. Organizing team meetings to discuss critical to ensure you support each other in this journey. It is critical to have KPIs that manage churn, can help track overall health, identify trends, and more. These KPIs are helpful to keep customers happy and ensure the company that all goals are on track.
You need to automate as many tasks as you can. Automation helps make lives simpler. You can handle repetitive customer success tasks and efforts to reduce manual workload. For example, if many customers face one crisis, you can automate the process to fill as a solution. This will reduce the time taken to complete the process as well. You can also prioritize and personalize tasks to ensure process improvements.
Keep employee satisfaction a priority
Employee satisfaction needs to be the priority in times of crisis. If there is a financial crisis, employees may feel threatened and work with reduced productivity. Your team needs to feel like a joint unit. The way to do that is to engage in building resilience within the company. You must be part of team building activities to build a deep bond. A good relationship with employees can help you tackle many challenges and find winning solutions.
Take feedback and rejection as the learning
In crisis situations, you may receive a lot of feedback from frustrated customers. It can be tough to take negative comments. However, you need to take feedback to improve customer experience. Customers in times of crisis may react harshly to most customer success managers. You need to be strong to accept them and notice spots of learning. Rejection will be rampant, and customer success managers must stay calm instead of escalating the situation.
Keep resources ready for any situation
You need to be ready to face any possibilities and ready to learn. You must keep resources like blogs, tutorials, case studies, and plans ready for unforeseen situation. If you are prepared for any situation, it builds confidence that you will handle it. This leads to CS leaders becoming resilient to various situations. You also need to listen to customers, communicate frequently, take their ideas, and engage with empathy. Resources like videos, brochures, and workbooks can help with the research.
Build a customer-centric organization
It is critical for any company to be customer-focused. The customer success culture at any company will ensure all crisis formats are dealt with. All teams in the company need to vote for customer success, especially in times of crisis. Business success depends on customer success, and if teams are customer-led, it is better. It is also important to help customers succeed, create appointments with client managers, and provide real information on the product.
To handle any crisis, customer success managers need to define priorities. They need to build consensus and identify top issues. Ensuring the customer is able to use the product or software at the earliest is the priority. Building resilience in the customer success team is important to deal with stressful deadlines, crisis situations, hard deadlines, and more. You can improve your skills and attitude in the process.16
The best way to avoid any further crisis is by involving customer success software such as SmartKarrot to help you improve processes and systems. SmartKarrot offers a suite of customer success solutions to manage, track, and reduce customer success crises such as churn. You can also improve the number of upsells, track renewals, and enhance customer retention.
Stanley Deepak is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 15+ years of experience. He loves tech products and book reading. He writes on philosophy and culture on LinkedIn.
Published May 16, 2022, Updated March 02, 2023