☕️ 12 Things Great CSMs Never Do
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1) Pretending they know it all
Curiosity and creativity are key to Customer Success.
The thirst for knowledge and applying your learnings in practice is a key differentiator when it comes to building strong partnerships with your customers.
But at the same time, pretending you know it all can also damage the trust you established over the months and years.
Simply saying “I don’t know” is the perfect opportunity for you to reinforce your credibility.
It sounds counter-intuitive but as a famous African proverb goes:
A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything.
By doing this, you literally say you’re acting with integrity and honesty which in return builds up confidence with your customers.
So, it’s okay to say you don’t know.
Just investigate and get back to your customer by the time you promised!
Great CSMs are busy talking to their customers and taking action so they don’t have any time to complain!
In fact, people who have a habit of complaining are literally toxic.
They make you feel bad or unintentionally part of a situation you’re not concerned with.
They project their negative thoughts on you and drain your energy.
Please do a favor to yourself.
Limit your interactions with such people who complain all the time, and worse, don’t come up with any solutions.
If possible, go a step further and cut them off from your network!
Simply said, complaining makes you appear weak like someone people cannot count on!
So, never complain and always bring in ideas to overcome challenging situations and keep moving on!
3) Saying Yes to everything
Great CSMs know they don’t have to “own” everything.
They know when it’s appropriate to say “no” so they can spare time for other important activities on their way to achieving their goals.
In fact, opening up the doors to everything that comes your way is destructive of your time, energy, health, and even relationships.
Knowing when to say “No” is life-changing and I believe it’s the ultimate productivity hack.
Things change when you intentionally chose the tasks you want to focus on while limiting your activities to the most important ones as I described in a previous edition with the Parkinson’s law.
Here’s a formula to decide if you need to say Yes or No, and it goes like this:
If it’s not a “Hell yeah!”
then it’s a big “No!”
As simple as it is.
Give it a try and watch your happiness soar!
4) Focusing on weaknesses
Great CSMs are aware of their weaknesses but focus on their strengths instead.
It’s a false belief that successful people have it all figured out and that they have no problems.
In fact, they are the people who learned how to solve their problems.
They’ve spent years to make that appear easy to you.
Like the tip of an iceberg, you only see their success and not all the hustle they had to struggle with behind the scenes.
This is why you need to understand the areas where you know you’re not crushing it and focus more on doing things you believe in and can improve.
Focusing solely on your weaknesses is a loss of time and energy.
So, look for the skills that make you feel better and double down on them.
5) Playing the short-term
Great CSMs know there is no shortcut to success.
You have to plant the seed, water it, and take care over the weeks, months, or even years while you watch out for the weeds!
And at some point in time, later on, you’ll collect the fruits of your efforts.
This is why having solid plans and a roadmap to achieve success with your customers is critical.
Moreover, it will make you feel more confident in your abilities.
All you need to do is to stick to your goals long enough without getting distracted along the way.
Having a clear objective is what will set you apart from others who are drifting into the unknown.
In short, you need a plan and a timeline in the long run.
So, set your goals.
If you don’t, others will set them for you!
6) Stop learning
Great CSMs are those who keep learning and leveling up their skills every single week.
If you stop exercising, your muscles will atrophy, right?
It’s the same for your mind. You need to constantly nurture it to get the best in return.
A common error is when people stop investing in themselves as soon as they get a job.
They will learn everything related to the specifics of their particular job, but they stop going beyond and learning new things outside of their work. What a waste, isn’t it?
So, ask yourself every day: how can I learn new ways of doing things, and improve my service to my company, my customers, and everyone else around me?
Your rewards will be in exact proportion to your service.
This is why great CSMs never stop learning!
7) Waiting the perfect timing
Great CSMs know tomorrow never comes until it’s too late.
This is why they have a growth mindset and a natural bias for taking action.
If you wait until it’s perfect or you are ready, you’ll never do anything valuable and might even be waiting for your entire life!
You need to be prepared so you can act when an opportunity shows up. This is what we commonly call “luck”.
You know what? Forget about it.
There is nothing such as the “right moment”.
There are just people taking action and others watching things happen.
So, stop waiting for it.
And just do it!
8) Avoiding conflicts
Great CSMs always tackle conflicts in a constructive way without letting them occur again over time.
If you don’t address something that annoys you, it can only become worse.
Something you don’t prevent from happening again will continue.
It’s okay if you wanted to avoid conflict for more productive interaction in a particular situation.
However, failing to prevent this in other circumstances can only make you suffer and feel the pain of not addressing it in a timely manner.
So, define the issue, listen actively, communicate, overcome objections, and come up with a win-win solution!
9) Blaming others
Great CSMs own their sh**!
They are accountable and responsible for their actions.
They own their successes as well as their mistakes.
They are also comfortable saying they are sorry when things go wrong.
But they don’t just get stuck in there. They move on.
It’s too easy to blame the conditions, environment, your colleagues, or even your customers. But over the long run, this can only hurt you and your reputation!
Listen: you can’t control what happens.
But you can always control how you react to the events.
And your attitude is a signal to everyone around you including your customers that you’re capable of managing the situation, or not.
So, stop blaming.
Just own it!
10) Checking their emails all day long
Great CSMs don’t do things based on where the wind blows.
This is why you need to limit distractions while you are focused on completing a given task.
Without planning for the most important things for the day, it’s easy to waste time checking your emails and constantly waiting for something to do.
And other people’s priorities end up becoming your priority!
But the only way to be proactive with your customers is to move away from things that trigger reactive emotions and actions.
And you can do it by prioritizing your emails based on importance and urgency as I described in the Eisenhower decision matrix here.
So, every morning, decide on the most important 3 tasks you want to accomplish for that day and stick to them until you finish!
11) Envying others
Envy is a toxic behavior.
This is why great CSMs rather praise their colleagues’ success.
They know they can do it often and publicly, why?
Because they are not selfish but self-confident in their own abilities!
Seeing other people succeed makes them happy, feel inspired, and motivated to deliver even more.
In fact, celebrating other people’s success is a proven growth hack for yourself.
By elevating others around you, you simply set the bar of honesty and integrity.
And as per the law of reciprocity, you gain the trust and confidence of your colleagues in return.
What a win-win situation, isn’t it?
So don’t envy, celebrate instead!
12) Not being grateful
And finally, gratitude.
Most people focus on all the things that can go wrong but underestimate all that they already have!
This is why great CSMs know how to be thankful!
They know how to show appreciation for the people who helped them out.
They feel blessed for the amazing opportunities opening up to them as they start their day.
And most importantly, they know they can’t succeed alone.
They are grateful every day in and out.
So, be grateful,
and enjoy the journey!
And that’s it!
Customer Success is the fastest-growing job in the world! And you just need to consider a few fundamentals to succeed.
Here are some more quick resources I posted on Twitter that will help you stand out from the crowd:
- 5 additional things great CSMs focus on.
- 5 other skills to land a job in Customer Success
- Empathy, one of the most attractive skills of a CSM
- 5 daily habits to become a great CSM
Check them out!
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And as always until next Sunday, take care friends!
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Hakan Ozturk is a Paris-based Customer Success leader with over 15 years of experience in the computer software industry. Passionate about driving growth and delivering value to strategic customers, Hakan has established himself as a trusted industry expert. As the Founder of The Customer Success Café Newsletter and TopCSjobs.com, Hakan provides valuable industry insights and daily-updated job opportunities worldwide in the field of Customer Success. Connect with Hakan to unlock your company’s potential for success.