The best way to learn is to ask, so...I'm asking.

Dezrah Blinn
Dezrah Blinn Member Posts: 8 Seeker
edited August 16 in CS Conversations
I'm looking at transitioning to CSM and while I think it's a great match for my passions and abilities, I recognize that I'm coming at it as a beginner. So, I'd like to ask the question I ask everyone who has experience in something I'm interested in.  

Please fill in the blank: "If I knew when I started, what I know now, I would have done ________________ differently."


  • Jess Galenski
    Jess Galenski Member Posts: 4 Navigator
    Second Anniversary
    edited January 2021
    Hi Dezrah - Congratulations on transitioning into a CSM role! It is a truly a rewarding and exciting career move. If anything when I started I would have done more of what you are doing now asking the CSM community for guidance. There are so many people in this industry with advice to offer so if you feel stuck or are looking to brainstorm connect with other CSM's you will not regret it.

    Good luck!
  • MC Jarvis
    MC Jarvis Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited January 2021
    Hi Dezrah, 

    Being a CSM is so rewarding. I loved building relationships with clients and interacting in all departments within my company to bring clients (and the company) success. Cirtical to my success as a CSM was learning how to set appropraite boundaries with clients. This helped build rapport with clients and combats over-promising and under-delivering. What I mean by boundaries: 
    • Time is valuable, and a scarce resource as a CSM. Intitially it was difficult to balance calls, followups, emails, and heads down time for projects and research. I time-blocked my day and put my email inbox on pause (and only un-paused during email time blocks) so I could create heads down time or call specific blocks. This creates a space for me to be strategic with my time and not multi-task and demonatrated to my clients that I am not beholden to my inbox - I will respond within our company's SLA but cannot be immediate on every email (within reason and not in times of escalation)
    • Sometimes the kindest thing to say is, "No, we cannot do that" Initially I would tell clients when they asked a question that pushed the boundaries of our service and software, "let me look into that" or "I will ask our leadership team" knowing full well the answer. I thought it demonstrated I was advocating for them, but I was stringing out a delayed no. Sometimes it is ok to set the proper expectations upfront. That does not mean not presenting them with other options when some exist, but not overselling on service and capabilties. 
    • Be careful with over-apologizing. Empathesize with their struggle and their impact to their business and stay solution oriented. Don't throw your teammates, your company or yourself under the bus if there are technical issues or the client had certain assumptions on how things should work. Stuff happens...your role is to provide solutions on how they can get past them. Also, studies show that when large companies are in turmoil, the ones who over apologize are raked through the coals more than those who own the issue and move on. 
    • Know what your software can and can't do, that will help you set expectations on the software. 
    All this seems pretty hard-nosed, but it will help you build trust with peopl when you are open and honest. Be kind, empatheize, and be fair and you will do great!
  • Dezrah Blinn
    Dezrah Blinn Member Posts: 8 Seeker
    edited January 2021
    That is an incredibly helpful and well-thought answer. A lesser person would have turned it into a seminar and charged hundreds of dollars for tickets...but it would be worth it. :)

    Thank you!
  • Jordan Silverman
    Jordan Silverman Member, Success Network Members Posts: 103 Expert
    Third Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Likes Photogenic
    edited January 2021
    @Dezrah Blinn congratulations on the transition! I transitioned over from sales to customer success 5 years ago and have loved it.

    I wish I learned more from people who had "done it before". Would have saved me a few mistakes up front.

    Read books:
    Customer Success Economy
    - Predictable Revenue

    Listen to podcasts:
    - Gain Grow Retain of course
    - Customer Success Leader
    - Saastr

    The more knowledge you can soak up early on the more it will drive your initial thoughts.

    I am also a big fan of Lincoln Murphy and his blog -
  • Dezrah Blinn
    Dezrah Blinn Member Posts: 8 Seeker
    edited January 2021
    Oh, you said the magic words: "Podcasts" and "Books"! Thank you, I'll check those out.