You Need To Solve Your Ruthless CS Dilemma Now.
Forcing CSMs to choose between customer goals and company goals will cost you more than you think. Solve this dilemma now - before it's too late.
It was just another day at the office for Heather. Until a customer reached out to her and asked to downgrade to a smaller subscription. She read the email over and over again, hoping that the request will magically change. But it didn't. Heather's heart began to race as she realizes the dilemma she is in. What is the best way to handle this request with such a high quota? Sure, she could convince the customer to stay with their current subscription, but that would be a waste of money and she worked so hard to be their trusted advisor. Should she just let them downgrade? It might give her more time to help them achieve their goals.
Do you recognize the feeling? Have you ever faced this dilemma before?
What is the CSM Dilemma?
Just like Heather, I am very familiar with this situation and the dilemma it creates.
It happens when the customer goals (or requests) do not match the company goals. This situation leaves the CSM wondering -
"What should I prioritize?"
On one hand, the CSM works for a company with specific goals and business objectives that serve as both motivation and boundaries.
Since these goals are always geared towards increasing revenue, every downgrade = less revenue for the company.
On the other hand, the whole idea behind Customer Success is to ensure the success of the customers.
If the CSM ensures success through a downgrade, aren't they just doing their job?
The Price is Just Too High
This dilemma takes its toll on everyone involved but mainly on the CSM.
It takes a LOT of mental and emotional energy to properly and delicately solve this dilemma.
Depending on the company, one wrong decision could get the CSM fired.
Leadership - Don't Lose Sight of Your CSMs (and Customers)
Here is what leadership must keep in mind when setting goals and business objectives:
You can increase the likelihood of achieving your goals by simply ensuring that your customers achieve their desired outcomes with your product.
To do that, you should start by integrating and aligning your goals with the customers' goals.
Leaders - Align Your Goals
Get to know your customers, including: a. Their desired outcomes. b. What success means for them and what it looks like.
Select the desired outcomes and demands that you can meet and exceed.
Set clear (and achievable) goals that are also aligned with the customers' goals.
Managers - Set Clear Milestones
Make sure that the CSMs fully understand the company goals.
Break those goals into smaller milestones that are relevant for the CSMs and set priorities.
Be an advocate for your CSMs and help them make the most out of every situation.
CSMs - Be Creative
As you are committed to the company, always act within its boundaries.
Be creative - is there a middle ground that will ensure the success of the company in the long run?
Throughout the customer lifecycle, keep the customers' goals in mind and ask yourself - "what do I need to do to help them get there?"
Back to our story, while Heather let the customer downgrade, she made it a point to work with them throughout the year and ensure they're successful. As a result, they upgraded the following year.
My recommendation for you is to be as creative as possible. If I did it, so can you.
If you found this article insightful, I'd really appreciate it if you can share it with others so that they can be successful too.