What Does It Take To Be a Client Success Specialist? Which Are the Top 5 Books on Client Success?

Do you aspire to become a client success specialist? If yes, check out this blog wherein we have mentioned the top 5 books that will help you become one of the best.

What Does It Take To Be a Client Success Specialist? Which Are the Top 5 Books on Client Success?
What Does It Take To Be a Client Success Specialist? Which Are the Top 5 Books on Client Success?

The main objective of your entire revenue organization is client success. Client success occurs when your clients perceive the ROI (return on investment) they seek from your offering. An account executive would have been in charge of this in the past. 

Keeping customers satisfied is now the job of the client success specialist because customers are expecting more from the things they purchase and because products are becoming more complex. 

The dynamics of relationships are fundamental to SaaS (Software As A Service) sales. No transaction is enormously successful until the customer has fulfilled their end of the bargain (perhaps with an upsell or two along the way). 

Considering how sophisticated and expensive SaaS products are, it is critical to make sure that every customer gets the most out of their purchase. In times of genuine market uncertainty, this commitment to client success is even more crucial. 

This was especially the case during the forced lockdown period of 2020 when we observed client success specialists attending an increasing number of remote meetings. 

Let us analyze the profile of a client success specialist, consider their regular responsibilities, and determine exactly what benefits they may provide your revenue business. 

Who exactly can be termed a client success specialist?

A customer success specialist, as the name suggests, is a professional dedicated to ensuring success for a business’ customers. A business or an organization can never be successful unless its customers are.

Client success specialists work closely with clients to ensure they have all the information and resources to fully utilize the company’s app. They make the clients feel that they are getting the full return on their investment. The services of these professionals aim at turning each new client or subscriber into a loyal long-term customer. They maintain such a relationship with customers that they feel valued thus improving customer retention and leading to the company’s growth.

Every B2B SaaS business requires specialized professionals who can hold the hands of clients and smoothly guide them throughout the launch lifecycle. The work of a sales representative ends when a prospective customer makes a purchase or subscribes to a service. Without a client success specialist, the customer may not be able to fully utilize the services of their subscribed app and may never renew the subscription because it feels like a waste of money

Who works with a client success specialist? 

As customer success specialists are dedicated to making the customers feel successful, they need to have multiple touchpoints within the organization. They will not be able to justify their key responsibility if they are tied to any one department. They need to be a centerpiece to many conversations going around within the organization. The major people who need to collaborate with a customer success specialist include –

  • Customer Support Professionals
  • Product Designing and Development Teams
  • Marketing Teams
  • Sales Representatives

Key responsibilities of a client success specialist 

The entire task bundle of a customer success specialist can be divided into three basic key responsibilities.

Control the onboarding process of new clients 

Customer success specialists must ensure that customers fully use the features of their company’s app. For this purpose, they need control over the onboarding process of new clients. Once the sales representative successfully closes a deal with a new client, the client success specialist takes charge of making the onboarding process seamless for the customer. They need to make sure that the customer faces no issues in navigating through the app. 

Enhance retention rate and decrease the churn ratio 

The next key responsibility of a customer success specialist is to improve the customer retention rate and decrease the churn ratio. For this purpose, they need to keep an eye on every upselling and cross-selling opportunity. Further, they need to monitor whether the customers are using the app regularly and extend a helping hand whenever the need is felt. They also need to follow up with clients whose subscription is about to expire and convince them to renew the subscription. This way the client churn ratio can be decreased, and customers can be retained for longer.

Accumulate and scrutinize client feedback 

Another important but often overlooked responsibility of a client success specialist is to gather client feedback and analyze them to extract essential information. Client feedback is one of the most precious pieces of information one can have to improve their product and services. Each department, including product development, marketing, and sales, can benefit from customer feedback collected by client success specialists. Asking for feedback not only brings valuable information but also makes the customers feel valued and heard.

Skills to look out for in a client success specialist 

You need to choose a professional as a client success specialist for your business keeping their importance in mind. You must look for some critical skills before taking someone on board as a client success specialist.

  • Empathy – The most important quality a client success manager must have been the quality of empathy. They need to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the customers and find a solution to their issues. A person without empathy cannot look at things from the viewpoint of others and thus will never be able to deliver complete satisfaction to the clients.
  • Relationship management – A customer success specialist must have the soft skills of relationship building and management. It is they who need to build long-term relationships with clients on the behalf of their company. So, they must have a knack for relationship management and must enjoy their work of relationship building.
  • Data Analysis – The skill of data analysis is also particularly important for client success specialists. They need to analyze loads of data to understand customers’ needs and identify common issues faced by customers. They must understand the customers’ journey and their experiences through data and improve customer experiences utilizing data analysis skills.

What is the best way to become a client success specialist? 

A client success specialist needs to be very efficient in soft skills. Someone who wants to build a career in this profession must know the skills of understanding customers’ issues and offering solutions to ease their journey.

Conflict resolution 

A client success specialist must have the knack to resolve conflict and pacify people. Sometimes clients can be really angry when their expectations are not met. A client success specialist must have the patience to listen to the complaints and find a solution to the issue. They work like a bridge between clients and the company, so they always need to be ready to resolve any conflict and satisfy both ends.

Predictive and expectation management 

A good client success manager will be one that does not wait for an issue to arise. These professionals must be predictive in their approach so that they can weed out any issues that a client might encounter in their product journey. They must have the art of expectation management so that they can exceed customers’ expectations rather than fulfilling them.

Listening and understanding 

When customers contact someone in a company they need to be heard. When they are investing their hard-earned money in your product, they will expect you to listen to them. As a client success manager is a professional that would come in direct contact with the clients, they must have listening and understanding skills.

Efficient use of IT (Information Technology) methods 

To be a good client success specialist one must also be efficient in using IT methods. This is important because the client success specialist needs to deal with a huge amount of data. Without being efficient in using IT methods, professionals will find it tough to fulfill their duties.

Top 5 books to read on client success 

Learning is a never-ending process regardless of the place we reach in our careers. Despite all the advances in technology, reading books is still considered the best way to learn skills and advance a career. Here are the top 5 books one can read to advance their career in client success.

The Seven Pillars of Customer Success: A Proven Framework to Drive Impactful Client Outcomes for Your Company by Wayne McCulloch 

Wayne McCulloch is a chief customer officer leading a global success function with more than 25 years of experience in the software industry. In this book, he shares his experiences divided into seven pillars for easy understanding.

The Customer Success Professional’s Handbook: How to Thrive in One of the World’s Fastest Growing Careers—While Driving Growth For Your Company by Ashvin Vaidyanathan and Ruben Rabago 

This book is considered a definitive reference book for Customer Success Managers and other similar roles in the field. This manual is filled with practical knowledge for beginners as well as for professionals in senior managerial positions.

The Outcome Generation: How a New Generation of Technology Vendors Thrives Through True Customer Success by Paul J Henderson 

This book by Paul J Henderson gives a big bold statement – “technology vendors should focus on customer outcomes, not products.” This book comes with a lesson that success for entrepreneurs, especially technology vendors hinges on ‘outcome-driven thinking.’ This is an enjoyable read for anyone wishing to build a career in customer success.

Onboarding Matters: How Successful Companies Transform New Customers Into Loyal Champions by Donna Weber 

This award-winning book by Donna Weber is a must-read book by customer success professionals as well as others from the related field. The book deals with an important topic for customer success professionals – ‘customer onboarding.’  This is a book that can have a transforming effect on customer success professionals regardless of their current position.  

Practical Customer Success Management: A Best Practice Framework for Rapid Generation of Customer Success by Rick Adams 

This book by Rick Adams is considered a complete handbook for CSM (Customer Success Manager) professionals at all levels. Rick Adams has trained and coached hundreds of customer success professionals and this book is a compilation of his experiences and practical lessons.30

Final Thoughts 

Think of client success as a progressive investment. With the rise in your role as a client success specialist, you can expect to get deeper into the entire client success team. This will ensure that you commit yourself to doing the best for your clients by ensuring they get the most out of your product. 

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