In our 5th “quick ones” article, we’re honored to interview Catherine Wells, the customer success manager at Thinkific.com.
Thinkific is a platform that helps people build, market and sell their online courses – without any pre-course building experience needed.
With customers ranging from individuals creating an online business as an extra gig, to full-time instructor and organizations – Thinkific needs to provide a positive and frictionless experience to all different levels of technical experience and different needs.
As a product that guarantees effortless course building that suits all, customer success is an essential necessity and core promise.
How does Catherine handle this challenge daily? Read her interview below to get the nitty gritty of being a customer success manager.
How would you define the roles of a customer success manager?
The key roles of a Customer Success Manager as I see them are many and varied.
As the name implies, our aim is to make our customers, well, successful! This goes beyond tech support and answering questions about the platform you work for.
Not only do you want customers to be successful at using your platform, but you also want to them be successful in reaching their goals.
It’s about considering: “Why are they a customer?”, “What are they trying to achieve?” and “How can we help them get there?”
Thinkific is a platform for creating and selling online courses.
Our customers range from individuals running an online business in their spare time to full-time instructors looking to scale their efforts, to organizations using us for employee or customer education.
These customers all have their specific aims for their courses and their businesses.
Because of this, Customer Success Managers at Thinkific will find themselves switching between the roles of course and content creation advisor, marketing and business strategist, and tech support ninja, all at the drop of a hat.Not only do you want customers to be successful at using your platform, but you also want to them be… Click To Tweet
What does your day to day look like?
Every day is different!
I’ll usually spend some time in the morning answering customer questions via email and phone. And I’ll often have a few scheduled calls with customers throughout the day.
These are opportunities to chat through specific issues a person is having – figuring out what they need and how we can help them.
In between those calls, I’ll be working on a variety of projects – all focussing on how to keep our customers happy and successful.
For example, I could be working on an article for our help center ahead of a new feature release, or to provide a quick answer to a common question from customers.
Keeping the help center up-to-date and optimized is a major aim for me as it enables customers to find instant answers to their questions, allowing them to get up-and-running with their courses as smoothly as possible.
In addition to the help center, we also have a training site where we provide customers with free courses on content creation, marketing, and so on.
The idea behind these is to educate our customers who are just getting started on how to launch successful courses and grow their business.
So I regularly find myself working with our awesome Lead Product Educator, Aaron, on his latest course. It’s lots of fun!
Name 5 tools you use daily as a Customer Success Manager
(In no particular order)
Calendly – I’ll often throw a link to my calendar into an email, offering to jump on a call with a customer and give them a hand with something.
Calendly makes it super easy to schedule calls. You just send somebody a link and they choose which time works best for them, no awkward back-and-forth. Try it here.
Freshdesk – We use Freshdesk for handling our customer emails as it allows you to prioritize messages by urgency, type, etc.
We also use it to host our help center and community forums, keeping all of our customer communications in one place. Try it here.
Support Hero – Support Hero allows you to provide in-app contextual help to customers, so they can get help with a particular feature without leaving the page.
When somebody gets stuck, they just need to hit the “Need Help?” button at the bottom of the page to see relevant articles.
It also provides analytics on failed help center searches, providing useful data for optimizing your knowledge base. Try it here.
Trello – I organize pretty much my whole life (personal and professional) using Trello!
It’s where I keep my to-do list and track customer product feedback for discussion with our Product team.
It’s also how I collaborate with my teammates on the knowledge base and other customer success resources. Try it here.
Thinkific – Cheesy, I know, but Thinkific is how we deliver our training courses to customers.
We host them all on our training site at training.thinkific.com. It allows us to demonstrate features to our customers in a real-life course setting.
We also use the progress reporting and feedback surveys to understand engagement with the courses and make improvements. Try it here.
What tips would you give to an up-and-coming Customer Success Manager
In every interaction with a customer, take the time to consider what it is that they need.
They may be asking a simple question that you could answer with one line, but think about why they’re asking what they’re asking and address that in your response.
For example, if a customer is asking for a particular feature that you don’t support, think about why they want that feature – as in, what they’re hoping to achieve by having it.
Can the same goal be achieved by a feature that you do currently have? Could it perhaps even be a better solution?
The aim is to provide the customer with the best possible option for their needs, while of course treating all feedback as valid.
This kind of thinking will also allow you to make a real difference to your customers and to the product that you work with.In every interaction with a customer, take the time to consider what it is that they need. Click To Tweet
For example, if you start to spot trends in customer questions, consider why the same thing is coming up so much.
Is it that your documentation is confusing? If so, update it! Is it that the user interface in the app itself is not clear enough? Tell your Product team!
As the person in the front-line of communication with your customers, you are in the best position to know what customers want.
You’re able to make things better for them so that they can focus on being successful and loving your company.