Do you like working with people and have good interpersonal skills, sales experience, and business acumen? If yes, a customer success manager career could be perfect for you.
Customer Success Managers coordinate customer support, marketing, and product development teams to develop customer success strategies. They monitor customer feedback and address the concern that boosts client loyalty and builds strong working relationships with customers.
Though optional, having a Bachelor's degree in computer science, business administration, or a related field is beneficial to build the necessary job skills. Additionally, you need at least three years of direct customer service experience and familiarity with MS Office and business software like Salesforce to work in this role.
This blog explores customer success managers' responsibilities, personal and academic requirements, national average salary, potential job openings, career paths, and the steps to becoming one in Australia.
1. What Is Customer Success Management?
Customer success management is a process that focuses on ensuring customer satisfaction, increasing revenue, and promoting customer loyalty.
It involves the implementation of procedures that helps improve the effectiveness of customer service teams.
Customer Success Management is a relatively new industry in the business market, but it effectively improves customer loyalty and retention.
2. What Is A Customer Success Manager?
Customer success managers have good knowledge of what their customers are working on, their goals, and what they expect from the company's products.
They use the knowledge to develop customer service processes that improve customer satisfaction with products and services.
Customer success managers focus on converting the target audience into customers, thereby increasing the customer base in a business.
From prospects to active users, they support customers to generate customer loyalty. This way, customer success managers help customers grow and achieve goals while boosting their relationship with the business.
3. What Does A Customer Success Manager Do?
Customer success managers are experts in management and customer engagement. The exact customer success manager's responsibilities vary by company; their primary function remains to enhance customer retention, upsell, and handle referrals via proactive customer support.
Here is the typical customer success manager job description:
Analyse target demographics
Liaise with customers
Examine customer behaviour and experience while they use products and services.
Collect and analyze data to enhance customer service health
Recommend marketing strategies to gain new customers
Onboard new customers
Follow up on renewals
Encourage upsells and cross-sells
Coordinate the operations of a Customer Service team
Advise companies on customer service strategies
Act as a sales guide for customer-facing employees
Manage a team of professionals
Hire and train new team members
Lead customer success teams
Create strategies for better customer engagement and retention
Supervise the onboarding, satisfaction, and expansion opportunities for new and existing customers
Develop strong relationships by responding to customer feedback
Manage interactions between customers and the company
Implement measures to maintain customer retention and increase customer loyalty
Advocate for the company and build a positive reputation for its products
4. Customer Success Manager Skills
Before applying for a job as a customer success manager, you must evaluate your technical and soft skills to see whether they are relevant. The most effective managers employ the below technical and people skills every day.
Ability to anticipate customer needs and help them with their issues
Strong Communication skills
Able to understand people's experiences
Project Management Skills
Able to train recruits
Relationship Management Skills
Time Management Skills
Data Analysis and Integration Skills
Attention to detail
Writing skills to create clear and informative policies
5. What Qualifications Does A Customer Success Manager Need?
The job of a customer success manager requires an in-depth knowledge of tools and techniques that promotes customer satisfaction and continuous improvement of a company's revenues.
Here are the complete requirements for the customer success manager position:
Consider earning technical CSM certifications to showcase your understanding of data analytics, MS Office, the Google software suite, and frameworks such as Scrum, CRM, Agile, and CSM tools. You may require work experience with industry-specific software, such as finance or healthcare software, based on where you are applying.
Customer-facing experience and account management experience are highly desirable to pursue a career in customer success. Some companies require candidates to have prior job experience handling customer accounts, customer success, and customer loyalty. Gaining an experience with SaaS companies will give you a competitive advantage in the job market.
As customer success managers must manage teams to produce optimal customer success metrics, having good management, interpersonal skills, client service skills, and leadership skills are crucial to success in this profession. Employers who want specialized CSMs to communicate with their clients more effectively usually prefer sales, consulting, or marketing experience.
6. How Do I Start A Career As A Customer Success Manager?
As a customer success manager is a senior-level position, you need both educational qualifications and relevant work experience.
Here is a step-by-step guide you can follow to get started in this role:
Step 1: Complete Tertiary Education
You do not need a qualification or certificate to prepare for this role. However, studying management processes and systems will make you more employable for a managerial position.
Consider getting a 3-year Bachelor's Degree in Business or a related field or relevant field to the skills and knowledge to manage a CS team.
Another way is to attend a local Community College that offers associate degrees and certification programs in various academic fields. It helps you gain valuable skills in the customer success industry and begin your CSM journey.
Alternatively, you could enrol in a coding boot camp that teaches SaaS, CRM tools, and product management.
Step 2: Earn A Professional CSM Certification
The next step in your learning journey is to earn a technical customer success manager certification to validate your customer service skills to potential employers. Not just it adds value to your resume, but it also helps you stand out among your competitors.
Certification programs such as Cisco Customer Success Manager Certification and Certified Customer Success Management Professional cover everything from customer success basics to advanced consulting techniques.
Available at both beginner and advanced levels, the program is based on the core frameworks of customer success and covers each aspect of the central repository of customer success, including:
Customer data analytics
Certification programs have no formal prerequisites. However, they come with a validity period (usually three years), after which you need to retake the exam to keep your skills up-to-date.
Step 3: Gain Work Experience
Considering the seniority of the role, it is a must for candidates to have extensive work experience in customer success.
Once qualified, you can apply for entry-level jobs as a customer service representative, digital marketer, customer specialist, and customer care specialist. Look for opportunities to transit into a team leadership role supervising a small group of employees.
Managing a team of Customer Service professionals will improve your soft skills and build an experience that will, in turn, boost your entry into the role.
Step 4: Consider Specialisation
Gaining at least a relevant bachelor's degree is the best way to increase your chances of landing a CSM job, but earning a master's degree in a related field can open up your employment opportunities even further.
Aspiring CSMs should work towards a specialization, such as product development. Next, seek a customer success manager position within your company, or apply to similar companies.
With the specialised knowledge and relevant work experience, you are ready to apply for customer success manager positions.
7. Careers In Customer Success Manager
There is a wide range of careers available in the customer success industry.
Below you can find some good entry-level positions that relate to customer success:
Customer Care Specialist
Customer Success Manager
Chief Customer Officer
Customer Success Leader
Customer Success Specialist
Customer Onboarding Manager
Senior Customer Success Manager
Customer Success Operations Specialist
Customer Experience Manager
Customer Success Director
8. How Much Does A Customer Success Manager Earn In Australia?
A customer success manager's salary varies by company, Location, and years of experience. According to PayScale, the customer success manager's salary in Australia is AU$83,378 per year.
Most customer success managers (CSM) also earn commission and a base salary, depending on the types of services or goods sold.
Salary Based on Experience
Entry-level CSMs (<1-year experience) - AU$70,315 per year
Early career CSMs (1-4 years of experience) - AU$77,069 per year
Mid-career CSMs (5-9 years of experience) - AU$97,476 per year
Experienced CSMs (10-19 years of experience) - AU$109,150 per year
CSM's salary in their late career (20 years and above) - is AU$117,447.
Salary Based on Location
Canberra ACT - $99,167 per year
Melbourne VIC - $88,993 per year
Sydney NSW - $87,852 per year
North Sydney NSW - $84,980 per year
Sydney Central Business District NSW - $80,245 per year
Perth, WA - $79,135 per year
Brisbane QLD - $78,287 per year
Gold Coast QLD - $77,219 per year
Surry Hills NSW - $72,019 per year
9. Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Differences Between Customer Success and Customer Service?
Though both roles may share similar goals, their responsibilities usually differ. Customer service professionals assist customers and inform them about the features of products and services. They also help them help customers in the usage, repair, and maintenance of products.
Customer success professionals, on the other hand, focus on customer satisfaction. Unlike CS professionals, they don't directly assist customers with issues but research those issues and design policies to prevent their further occurrences.
In addition to customer support, they also handle a few more business aspects, that includes marketing and sales.
What Is A Customer Success Manager Career Path?
Traditional career paths for CSMs involve managing people and transitioning into leadership positions.
As you build experience and expertise, you can move into other management positions or follow the company's sales or marketing pathway departments.
Furthermore, highly experienced and successful CSMs can even pursue the positions of chief customer officer or vice president of sales.
Can You Become A Customer Success Manager Without A Degree?
More than academic education, companies are interested in hiring candidates who have an experience in managerial and leadership roles. Companies in the tech sector seek proficient and experienced candidates in product training or management.
Thus, experience is more valuable than academic education when qualifying for this role. However, you can attend a boot camp or enrol in relevant online customer success manager courses to learn product management, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and CRM software.
As more companies adopt remote work culture and switch to digital solutions, their preference to hire candidates with technical experience will only increase. Experience in customer service or as a customer experience expert or account manager can give you a competitive edge.
How To Become A Customer Success Manager With No Experience?
Leadership and management experience are vital as it helps build crucial sales or tech skills you will need while working in this role.
If you can't get professional experience, you can look for other options to build relevant experience while studying. Some of these include the following:
Attend an online sales boot camp. Bootcamps are more affordable than traditional colleges and universities and take less time to complete, so you can join the job market sooner.
Take certifications courses to gain practical hands-on experience and learn customer service skills.
Tech-savvy professionals may consider enrolling in short courses in cloud computing, customer experience strategy and design, etc.
Attend short-term intensive boot camps on relevant subjects such as SaaS, product management, and CRM software to build industry-relevant and job-ready skills.
Flatiron School, Thinkful, Kellogg, CRMBase, App Academy, and GrowthX Academy are recognized institutions that organize coding boot camps on product management and SaaS.
After completing a boot camp program, you can enter entry-level customer success roles and move to management positions.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Customer Success Manager?
It can take six to eight years to develop the educational background and industry-relevant experience to become a CSM in Australia.
Most CSMs complete 3-4 years of a relevant Bachelor's Degree and an additional 2 to 3 years of work experience to pursue this profession.
In place of a bachelor's degree, you can take advantage of alternative educational pathways such as coding boot camps and online courses. However, this academic route requires more years of industry experience as employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree.
Is Customer Success Manager A Difficult Job?
Yes. Getting into the senior role of a customer success manager can be difficult. You need to work hard to develop a background and skills that proves your ability to meet customer goals and maximize company profits.
Is A Customer Success Manager A High-Paying Job?
Yes. Of the high demand and the immense value that customer success managers bring to the business, the job ranks among the well-paid professions with strong future growth.
Are Customer Service Managers In Demand?
A customer service manager job is an evolutionary step from traditional sales or account manager roles.
Companies prefer retaining existing customers because of the higher costs of finding new customers. CSMs ensure that old customers get excellent support and aim to keep them happy. They create solutions from customer feedback and enhance their products and services.
CSMs benefit a company by increasing profitability, maintaining the current business, and expanding organically through referrals; they are in high demand across companies in diverse sectors.
How Many Hours Does A Customer Success Manager Work?
The customer success manager position is considered low- or mid-level management. They primarily work in an office setting during standard weekly business hours. Their working environment is usually business-casual, which may vary based on the employer.
There must be more than effective marketing strategies to maintain customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Customer success management is a valuable business tool that helps businesses develop productive relationships between their brand and customers and meet their customers' goals.
If you are a people person and can easily connect with customers, follow the above steps to start your journey in Customer Success Management.
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