Customer Success Managers, by description, are responsible for things like relationships, desired outcomes, and monitoring usage. What ends up happening is this job description snowballs into a sea of emails, calls, projects, and internal meetings with every other team.
Do you ever get paralyzed by the number of things you could be doing but aren’t sure if it’s what you should be doing? Do you find yourself asking, “where did the day go” only to think back and wonder why you didn’t get more done? Do you feel like you have more to do by the end of the day than when you brewed that first cup of coffee?
If you’ve read Paul Graham’s Maker vs Manager article, you may have noticed that both types of tasks are required of Customer Success Managers. For me, the multi-modal nature of customer success makes time management challenging. Customers always need something, meetings are never at convenient times, and becoming a savant within the software requires extended deep thinking.
So without further adieu, here’s 4 tips that help take me from Customer Success Manager to Customer Success Ninja.
Begin the Day with Project Work
Maybe you’re not responsible for building within your platform. If that’s the case then I’m sorry because because being a bonafide badass within your software is critical when aligning your customers’ goals. Project work often requires deep concentration and extended time. Remember, you’re being a maker in this space. Minimize potential distractions by starting early before the hustle of the day takes over.
Emails in the Morning, Calls in the Afternoon
Sometimes this isn’t possible. Customers in different time zones can throw a wrench in your plan, but try to set a tempo to your day and group your manager tasks into blocks of time. I like to keep calls for the afternoon because when you’re on with a customer, it’s go time! Can’t be lazy, can’t lean into that post-lunch/mid-afternoon slump, have to be on your game.
Turn Off the Email When it’s Time to Focus
Sometimes in order to do more you need to start by doing less. Keeping a high level of productivity is all about stopping passive distractions… like checking your inbox every five minutes. I’ve found this having ancillary benefits as well. Sometimes customers get clingy — hey it just means I’ve earned their trust — but they end up reaching out to you instead of support. Train the customer into the appropriate behavior, let them learn that although you could answer every question that there are quicker avenues for assistance.
Use 20/10 or 45/15 Minute Call Blocks
I’ve stopped scheduling 30 or 60 minute calls. Now they’re 20 or 45. The secret though is that I still block the time for the full 30 or 60 minutes. I normally have to send a follow up email with resources or update something in the good ‘ol CRM after a call, but if my schedule’s bumper-to-bumper then it gets pushed or even worse, forgotten. Allocate time to fully complete a task and empty your plate. You’ll appreciate minimizing the mental gymnastics, your customers will appreciate your prompt replies, and your CRM will appreciate logging details when they’re top of mind.
What are your best time management strategies for juggling the various responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager?
Originally published at j-hsu.com on January 20, 2019.