Identifying Customer Success Heroes Opentalk

This article was originally published in the second issue of Opentalk Magazine.

Building a great team comes down to finding the right blend of skills, personalities and emotions in the interview process. Anyone who is taking a job as a contact center agent needs to be organized, friendly and calm under pressure, but the right candidates for a customer success team need a little bit more.

To illustrate the process of building a success team that truly allows customers to flourish, here are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions.

Why is customer success important?

Without it, you don’t really have a company. Customer success is the crossroad of the product, the company and its customers. It’s the company’s glue. There’s something special about the responsibility to your customers to be genuinely cross-functional within your respective company. Good success managers thrive o the responsibility to build relationships with stakeholders across every part of the organization — finance, billing, sales, product or support. There’s something appealing about the risk involved as well. If you can’t stand and deliver on being the nexus of your company for the customer, it becomes very apparent, very quickly, that you’re not serving them in the right way.

What are the must-have qualities in a great success manager?
There’s a lot that goes into being a great success manager, but it all comes down to four essential characteristics: emotional intelligence, hustle, accountability and having a consultative approach.

What does emotional intelligence look like in a success manager?
A success manager with a high emotional intelligence (EQ) has a knack for reading a room and a keen sense for the needs of different audiences. They know how to tailor interactions based on the type and temperature of a specific customer. Success must interact across a customer’s entire organization in a wide variety of situations. A low-EQ, one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it.

In the interview process, how can a company test for this? One of the best tactics from an interview standpoint is a role play exercise where the candidate is the success manager and the interviewer is an irate customer. The interviewer’s role is to channel everyday pain points into a high-temperature dialogue. What you’re looking for from the candidate is their degree of competency in an off-the-cuff situation. Can they maintain their composure? Are they able to take a narrow, tactical conversation and elevate it to a broader, more strategic one?

The best success managers aren’t just firefighters; they are strategic partners to their customers. They’re always thinking about how to more effectively align with the customer and help them to leverage their particular solution in the most advantageous way. Last, they should always look for signs of follow through. Did a candidate outline their takeaways and action items? Did they discuss a timeline for those action items? Attention to detail is critical; job applicants can’t just answers question about this aspect, they need to show it with their actions.

Read the full article in Opentalk Magazine by clicking the image below.