Emilia D'Anzica, VP of Customer Engagement at WalkMe has returned to Helping Sells Radio to talk about what to do when customers want to take an approach that customer success managers know will not lead to success and how to educate customers on why they should take a different approach. In other words, Emilia wants you to lead your customers to success.
"One of the biggest challenges that customer success managers have is convincing customers that what they are doing will fail," Emilia told us.
These are not harsh words at all. In fact, customers often purchase software to help solve a problem. Some customers customers know how to solve it. Some don't. Others think they know how to solve it, but don't. In the case of the latter, you need to tell a customer what they are doing will fail.
Or you do not care about their success.
But customer success managers do care, and this is where the expertise of a talented CSM comes into play.
Emilia admits you will never say it so directly to customers, but if you can show a customer how other customers have been successful with a certain process you can steer a customer to success. CSMs can lead customers to a more successful outcome by helping customers learn from your other customers.
We talked about this idea with Chris Doell in a previous episode about leading customers down a path to success.
Emilia tells a story of a Fortune 500 customer that wanted six specific processes implemented in the next 30 days. The customer told her team that if they could implement those new processes in the next 30 days, the project would be a success.
Emilia's team looked at each other and knew it would not work.
"We knew then that we had to educate the customer and tweak this project.....and do it without offending them."
In other words, you have to lead your customers.
How a customer success manager should lead customers to success
The funny thing is, customers tell Emilia in surveys that they want her company to educate them on the best ways to use the product for their circumstances.
Many customers start a new project and dictate to the CSM what they want to do and how they want to do it.
There is a conflict there.
A skilled CSM knows how to:
- Recognize when this conflict is happening
- Steer that customer in the right direction using other customer examples and doing it with empathy.
Emilia says, "Sometimes you might be right, and the customer may think otherwise. You never want to make them feel bad. You just want to move forward and deliver to them what they are looking for."
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