As a Customer Success Manager, one aspect of our roles that we do not always know how to plan for is customer seasonality. A lawn care service in Chicago is going to have their busy “season” during the spring and summer and their slow season when snow is on the ground. Every business will have seasonal fluctuations.
The unpredictability of seasonal usage does not always work within the expectations placed on a Customer Success Manager whose performance is often measured on a customer’s expected growth throughout a month, quarter, or year. Though the Customer Success role is one where customers rely on your expertise to drive their business and that is no different whether it is their busy or slow season. Below are 3 Tips for dealing with seasonality in a Customer Success role to help you own the peaks and valleys rather than just ride them:
- Get Ahead of Seasonality
As mentioned, Customer Success performance is usually measured by the growth of a customer account. Personally, the growth on our book of business is measured from where revenue stands at the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year. I have a choice to either coast for three quarters and then try to frantically make up for lost time in the final quarter. Or I can save my sanity and be proactive by determining my customer’ business cycles.
Set yourself up at the beginning of the year to meet or speak with your clients and understand when seasonality exists in their industry and how it impacts their business. Then you are getting ahead of the peaks and valleys and will be better informed to support your customer.
Understanding this information on the front end first and foremost makes you more knowledgeable about your customers’ business. It also provides educated insight into times it may make sense to propose expansion into new products or services, demonstrates ownership over your book of business, and sets you up as a partner.
- Strategize Through the Slow Times
The purpose of this is to point out that just because it is a slow time for your customers’ business does not mean it should be a slow time for you. This downtime is a perfect opportunity for you to be busy spending time with your customer.
Making productive use of the slower season involves strategizing how to prepare for the inevitable busy season, conduct an audit to ensure efficiency and effectiveness across the account or taking a pulse check on overall customer satisfaction with your product or services.
Again, it is the responsibility of the Customer Success Manager to ensure the customer recognizes full ROI from their account with you. This is accomplished by providing partnership year-round and proving your interest in setting your customer up for success at the times they would expect it the least.
- Don’t Wait to Be Asked for Help
OK, business is booming again and during this time your customer may not even be aware of what value your business is bringing to theirs. Don’t wait for them to ask you for something in order to prove your value because at that point they could potentially already be questioning it.
This is when a Customer Success Manager should be proactively managing and recognizing your customer is too busy to sift through data. A great way to demonstrate this is by doing the data digging for them. For example, creating a month-to-date report highlighting certain positive trends or making them aware of campaigns that are underperforming. By presenting them the data in a digestible manner it allows them to make actionable decisions and quickly pivot their strategy if necessary.
Taking initiative and demonstrating to your customer that you not only understand their needs but also know how to help them achieve their goals will differentiate you as a CSM and encourage customer retention.
These quick tips are meant to provide a sense of control in a role where we can’t rely on controlling much except for our own behaviors. Just remember that our customers are just as stressed as the Customer Success Manager during the highs and lows as but if you prepare, plan and deliver for your customer you are going to be an invaluable partner to them.