The job title CSM, short for Customer Success Manager, typically refers to a first response enabler and fixer, ensuring that a sold tech product or service is fully understood and correctly applied by the customer. Lately a parallel, more strategic and ”technical” CSM role has also evolved.
Armed With dual tech and business degrees, Phyron’s Technical CSM Rui Zou has spent his entire career qualifying for this job.
So Rui, you should know… is it a marketing job, or a tech job?
Both. And business development, quality assurance, and all of the above. When a buyer of a sophisticated tech solution wants to take it one step further, or adapt it to their special needs, this is rarely a quick fix. It rather requires a proper analysis and evaluation of alternative approaches, and what would be required in terms of special competence, time, money, and so forth.
From the customer’s perspective, it’s ultimately about smooth and competitive performance. Way beyond regular customer support. It usually involves several parts of our organization, like our CTO, the Account Manager, and the CSM responsible for the particular customer at hand.
Some people describe the role of the CSM as a balancing act.
What do they mean?
The general CSM role is primarily about maximizing the value for the customer, ensuring that it is introduced and applied without problems. But, much like customer support, that is also likely to inspire increased or more advanced use, which sometimes generates additional revenue as well. In that sense, it may seem like a balancing act, but I would rather call it a win win.
My job as Technical CSM is a bit different as it begins when the customer is already aware of what needs to be done.
On a daily basis, you interact with people deep inside the customers’ organization. What does it take to succeed?
It’s always about understanding both the business needs and what it takes on the technical side. Mutual respect, and having a keen ear to each customer’s view of what needs to be done. The same goes for varying business cultures.
And, how can you prepare for that?
Knowing a couple of languages is obviously a good start. As a techie and problem shooter you may be an introvert at heart, but to get along with people different from yourself you definitely need to be a bit extrovert as well.
My personal background is a bit special as I have lived and studied in both North America and China, and now I am firmly rooted in Sweden. Before joining Phyron I worked with a rather successful Finnish company and, despite being neighboring countries Finland and Sweden have extremely different business cultures. But that’s another story.