A couple of months ago, I wrote about key takeaways from my first 60 days as an Infolock Customer Success Manager (CSM). A lot of folks found that article informative, so I thought I’d share my latest insights after four months on the job.
Leadership prioritizes customer delight
Customer Success emerged as a focused role around 2010 with early SaaS companies like Salesforce. They needed customers to understand the value of their OpEx subscriptions over traditional software CapEx cost models. The question for me was “If Customer Success fits squarely in the SaaS business model, why did Infolock, a non-SaaS services firm, build a Customer Success department?” The answer is because Infolock’s leadership prioritizes delighting customers, and, by making Customer Success a top-down initiative, we ingrain a customer-first mentality into our company culture. With strong project management and service teams, Infolock ensures that its solutions are delivered on time and in scope. Add a Customer Success Manager like me, and you have a resource focused entirely on identifying, reporting, and advocating value for customers. We provide key insights with success trackers, executive status summaries, year-in-review presentations, and other deliverables.
Customer Success is the connector
Much like the Spaghetti Junction highway interchange in Atlanta, Infolock’s Customer Success team connects everyone in our organization. Connecting sales, project management, and service delivery is especially important to ensure smooth handoffs and a constant flow of information. For example, if a customer has a data security pain-point they can’t solve, the CSM serves as a trusted advisor, helping the customer evaluate their options. We might bring in our sales team to explain how we’d solve their problem, but always with an informative approach, never pushy. A CSM can also help our customer’s primary point of contact (POC) connect better with their internal decision-makers. For example, senior management may want both an in-depth weekly project update and a high-level summary of major milestones accomplished. The CSM will coordinate the project plan with our project management team and tailor the milestone summary for executives. That makes it much easier for the customer POC to socialize project progress internally.
Collaboration is the ‘secret sauce’
As a connector of multiple teams, my job as a CSM would be impossible if I worked in a siloed organization with competing fiefdoms. Thankfully, Infolock’s collaborative culture is the polar opposite of a feudal corporate structure. Whether our engineers are responding to technical support emails or our solution architects are enhancing Customer Success deliverables, the Infolock team is eager to answer questions and meet customer needs. Within my first few weeks at Infolock, I had met every department director and almost every teammate. The company wanted me to clearly understand everyone’s roles and day-to-day responsibilities. This helped me assimilate quickly to the company culture and learn how my colleagues could help me delight customers. I’ve yet to have a question or request for help go unanswered from any of my colleagues, including the C-suite.
Fostering a productive, enjoyable, balanced work environment
Lack of egos—check. Fun office activities like virtual beer tasting and prize-wheel bingo—check. Kind, hard-working, and wicked-smart coworkers—check. An entire company with a work-to-live rather than live-to-work mindset—check, check, and check! As the new kid on the block, I felt comfortable right away, not only asking questions but also contributing my own recommendations and feedback. Helping to mature the Customer Success department within a well-established company like Infolock had the potential to be intimidating. But working for leaders who prioritize customer delight, empower CSMs, and foster collaboration has made my role enjoyable, exciting, challenging, and fruitful!