Working in customer success can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. It takes a unique set of skills and personality traits to be successful as someone who works with customers, and different people want to work with customers in different ways. Here are three common career paths within the customer success world, from least to most customer-facing.
Customer Success Manager
This is a classic customer success career path. CSMs are responsible for maintaining relationships with customers, answering questions and helping them navigate through their business experience. To be successful in your role as a CSM, you’ll need to be skilled at providing customer experience and conversational expertise. As you become more familiar with your product and different use cases, you’ll develop a skill set that will allow you to provide on-point support while also explaining products in an easy-to-understand way. Many CSMs come from various customer-facing backgrounds such as sales, service or support – but even if your background isn’t in customer service or sales, having strong written communication skills helps you build trust between yourself and customers. You should always assume that customers have no prior knowledge of how their solutions work; your job is to tell them what they need to know without making it too technical or confusing.
If you are looking to work with people and love a customer service-based role, then becoming a customer advocate could be a good career path for you. You will serve as a primary point of contact between customers and your company’s product or service. This involves solving their problems and making sure they are happy with their experience using your product or service. As an advocate, you need to establish trust and keep a close relationship with them.
A Customer Evangelist works closely with a customer to help them maximize their use of your product or service. This can include researching how they’re using it, providing tips and tricks, and sharing success stories that showcase your solution at its best. While you might think of an evangelist as somebody who travels around spreading a specific message, in CS terms you’re actually advocating for customers—often over other members of your team. These advocates are invaluable to both customers and teams because they give feedback from real-world experience on what will resonate with customers, what issues may pop up, etc. They also work hand-in-hand with your customer success manager to ensure everything is running smoothly. If you want to get into customer advocacy from day one of your career, I highly recommend making it one of your long-term goals before joining a company (either through side projects or education).