At 383, the role of a customer success manager (CSM) goes far beyond customer support - we provide a strategic and proactive approach to building long-term relationships, driving business growth, and enhancing success for both us and our clients.
And that all starts with a well-crafted client onboarding. Our approach to onboarding not only sets the stage for a successful partnership, but also helps our clients better realise the full value of the new products and services we deliver for them.
I’m one member of a very talented customer success team here at 383, alongside my colleagues Liz, Jenny and Jordan. Read on to find out what our client onboarding process looks like, and how our CSMs help our clients reach not only their business goals, but their career goals too.
The voice of the customer
The aim for a CSM is to understand the client, their goals, and what we can do to help them grow.
The tagline we use in the Customer Success team is that we are the voice of the customer. We’re the bridge between the client and all the teams working at 383 Project, building solid relationships to achieve long-term success.
When we start a project, the first things we ask ourselves are:
- What can we do to help this client reach their business goals?
- How can this project help our client do a better job / reach their targets faster / get a promotion?
Once we have our answers, the client will be allocated a project team. That might include our project management, product, design, engineering and QA, and digital marketing functions, depending on the scope and the client’s goals. This can be a lot of people to talk to, so this is where a CSM earns their money!
We are on top of every part of the project and this means, to keep things really simple and easy for the client, they will mostly only ever need to come through their CSM for project updates.
Client onboarding itself is a learning journey; learning about the customer, why they’ve chosen to work with us, and the expected benefits of the project they’re undertaking with us.
Depending on the client’s needs, they can expect to meet their allocated CSM when it is most beneficial for them, and when they need us.
That could be when they have signed the contract for their project, but it could also be pre-contract, if they need more support from us at an earlier stage. From our point of view, the earlier we can meet our client, the better!
We have a really thorough client onboarding and we don’t consider the process fully complete until we have delivered the first project. Depending on the project length, the timeline for this might be a few months, or it could be 12 months or more.
31 simple steps
Once we’ve met our client, we start the onboarding process, which involved 31 steps.
We know - that might seem like a lot…! But over the course of a project, those steps ensure we are always providing the best possible experience for every client.
Steps range from simple things such as sending out a welcome gift (you’ll have to become a client to find out what it is 😉), to more complex things like signing contracts, having regular project syncs, or helping to problem solve internal and external roadblocks.
These 31 steps are a roadmap to successfully managing projects and ensuring our clients are happy, well-informed, and the project keeps moving.
When we first work with a client, we define their goals and discuss the delivery of their project. We measure project success based on the agreed deliverables; how those deliverables are measured depends on how we can quantify success.
We often use analytics tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel, which are really good tools to quantify success in the form of web traffic, acquisition, users, bookings etc. When a deliverable isn’t as easily traceable, we use scorecards to measure success and will give feedback to the client with these internal metrics.
Our job as CSMs isn’t just to support clients through the project and wave goodbye, but to provide on-going support and ensure their product or service continues to achieve their goals.
A big part of our job is giving feedback to and getting feedback from our clients throughout their onboarding.
From our side, the CSM will gather information from every team member working on the project, and we have a call every couple of weeks with the client to look at progress, sticking points, and next steps.
We also measure client satisfaction regularly throughout the onboarding process - something that is really critical to us.
We use Net Promoter Score (NPS), tracked every quarter, to monitor how happy our clients are and make notes of feedback - what’s going well, what isn’t working or needs improvement, and how we can take action to resolve things.
When it comes to the end of a project, the transition from onboarding to a long-term client relationship is really smooth, and this is where we as CSMs make the shift into monitoring mode.
This transition comes at the end of a project review, where we present back what we have delivered and achieved for a client.
We’ll then get to working with the client on next steps. How often shall we touch base? How are we tracking the success of the project? And to do this, we will plan a quarterly sync to look at the data and chat about what support they might need.
This quarterly sync also gives our client the opportunity to raise additional requests and ideas with us. What other projects do they have planned that we might be able to help with?
The end of the project and onboarding isn’t the end for CSM, but hopefully the start of a great and lasting relationship with the client!
A partnership built to last
From initially understanding our client requirements, to providing continuous feedback, and ongoing support, our client onboarding process enables us to align our services with client goals and expectations. And most importantly, not only meet them, but exceed them.
By demonstrating the genuine care and commitment we have to our clients' success, CSMs strengthen reputation and help 383 stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Interested in finding out how our brilliant team can bring your project needs to life? Chat to us about your goals today!