In the world of customer service, customer success has quickly gained notoriety as a must-have function of customer service teams. However, despite its newfound popularity, customer success is still a relatively new field. Many businesses are now realizing the value of customer success and are just beginning to adopt customer success teams as part of their service offers.
If your business is looking to add a customer success department, you'll need to put together a team of employees who are dedicated to strengthening customer relations. This is done either by hiring new employees or by relocating current employees to your customer success team.
Whichever option you choose, you'll need to ensure these employees are capable of building mutually beneficial relationships with your customers. Aside from the hiring process, one way to confirm this is to have your team undergo customer success training to sharpen the skills they need to be successful in their roles.
In this post, we'll discuss the skills customer success teams use, as well as the different training options available to improve your team.
Customer Success Training
Your customer success team plays an important role in facilitating your customers' short- and long-term growth. Your team's success is dependent on its ability to develop relationships with customers and demonstrate your company's value over time. To do this, your customer success reps need to possess a range of communication skills that will help them connect with your customers. Here are a few skills they should master.
One of the most important skills to develop as a customer success rep is active listening. Active listening is a communication skill that demonstrates one's understanding of a problem or message. Customer success reps need to use active listening to comprehend their customers' situations and provide personalized advice that's best for each customers' needs.
Active listening begins with listening to the customer. Absorb what they're saying and identify the customer's goal as well as the roadblock preventing them from reaching it. Reps should show the customer they listened by repeating the problem using the customer's words and phrasing. This demonstrates that your reps are invested in their customers' problems and are dedicated to solving their issues.
Emotional intelligence refers to one's ability to read and respond to other people's emotions. This is critical in customer success as your reps need to understand what your customers value most and know how to respond to them if their needs aren't being fulfilled. If a customer is clearly upset with their experience, it's up to the customer success rep to intervene before things get worse.
These cases often require your rep to demonstrate a strong degree of emotional intelligence as unhappy customers will often be sensitive or dubious of your company's messages. Knowing the right response to deliver in these situations can be crucial to preventing escalations and reducing customer churn.
Critical analysis is your reps' ability to observe a problem and understand why it is happening. This is important for customer success teams as reps need to understand customer problems as well as the factors that are contributing to them. Many times customers only highlight the result of the situation and won't realize the value of investigating the initial cause of the issue. Recognizing why a problem is occurring makes it easy for success teams to explain the roadblocks and provide a solution.
Problem-solving is the skill that is executed immediately after critical analysis. Problem-solving refers to a rep's ability to find effective solutions to problems once a roadblock is identified. This is a major function of customer success teams, and reps will often be tasked with helping customers overcome issues with your product or service. The better solutions your reps provide, the more successful your customers and your customer success team become.
Organization is an indirect communication skill that influences your reps' ability to communicate with customers. As your customer base grows, your reps need to be organized to keep up with customer demand. If your success team is overwhelmed, customers won't receive the same high-quality service that led your company to its current growth.
One of the best ways to keep your customer success team organized is to adopt customer service tools like ticketing systems and a CRM. Ticketing systems keep track of customer requests and a CRM can log information about your customers to be used later. That way, your reps can easily keep track of their open cases with customers as well as refer to historical data that may be relevant to future cases.
Mastering these skills are imperative for your customer success team's success. However, now that you're familiar with the different skills your team should possess, let's take a look at the certifications they can earn to become proficient in their roles.
Customer Success Certification
If you want to build a strong customer success team, you'll need to find reps who have proven their ability to foster relationships. Whether your hiring new employees or relocating current ones, requiring your reps to have customer success certifications is a great way to ensure your team's ability to communicate with customers. Below are 8 certifications your reps can earn to prove their customer success skills.
1. Customer Success Manager Certification by SuccessCOACHING
Success Coaching offers its "Customer Success Manager Certification" training that teaches users the foundations for customer success. The great part about this training is that it's web-based, so users can easily access the courses from a phone, tablet, or computer. Additionally, when you pass the course, your certification is put onto a shareable URL and can even be included as an achievement on your LinkedIn profile.
2. Inbound Service Fundamentals by HubSpot Academy
HubSpot Academy's "Inbound Service Fundamentals" teaches users not only how to engage with customers but also how to measure customer success. That's incredibly important as it lets your team know if your efforts are successful. The training is a 6-part video-training concluded with a final exam and shareable certification.
Once you complete that course, HubSpot Academy also offers a "Fundamentals of Conversational Growth Strategy" training. This training discusses how and why conversational channels like email, phone, and chat can help grow your team's relationships with your customers. Additionally this course also shows you how to create and develop your own conversational growth strategy for your business. This training is provided in a four-lesson set and also includes a final exam and shareable certification.
Duration: 3 hours
3. Cisco Customer Success Manager Specialist by Cisco
Cisco offers a customer success certification that's based off a three-day course, however you don't need to complete the course if you just want to take the final exam. The course focuses on the skills your reps will need to build positive relationships with your customers. This is done through practice exercises that simulate real-life customer situations. Also, since the course is taught in person, your reps can receive direct and personalized feedback from a certified instructor.
Duration: 72 hours
4. CSM Certification Program by The Success League
The Success League offers a customer success manager certification course that enhances every skill used in a customer success role. This includes developing account plans, managing portfolios, onboarding new clients, and more. Additionally, this 16-part course provides recommended exercises and optional readings that users can refer to after they complete the course. That way they can brush up on any concepts or lessons without having to pay again.
Duration: 16 hours
5. Customer Success Manager 101 by Udemy
Udemy's "Customer Success Manager 101" training is designed to train people who are new to the customer success manager role. It breaks down what customer success is and why it is important to your business. The course also discusses the different responsibilities of the customer success manager and even comes with "bonus" audio resources your reps can keep after they complete the final exam.
Duration: 1.5 hours
6. Customer Success Online Training Course by Adopttec
Adopttec's "Customer Success Online Training Course" is an interactive online training program with over 20 lessons to choose from. It talks about how your reps can establish a strategic relationship with your customers as well as what your team can do to enhance your business's value in the eyes of the customer. Finally, this course wraps up by discussing what your company as a whole can do to align your customer success team with your customer's values.
Duration: 4 hours
7. Managing Difficult Customers by ICMI
ICMI's "Managing Difficult Customers" training is a bit different than the rest of the certifications listed in this section. Rather than looking at every customer success skill, this course focuses on handling customers who are unhappy with your business. It teaches your reps about the three types of difficult customers as well as how your team can best manage each type. It also includes five specific techniques for handling demanding or stressful customers without impeding the customer's goals and risking potential churn.
Duration: 2.5 hours
8. Customer Success Strategy Workshop by CSM Practice
CSM Practice offers its "Customer Success Strategy Workshop" which breaks down how your team can develop its strategy for customer success. This involves teaching your reps how to create playbooks, customer lifecycles, and a customer engagement model. The course also discusses how customer success managers should be setting goals and provides instructions on how your company can create and execute a long-term customer success plan.
Duration: 168 hours
Completing these courses should help your customer success team foster and build constructive customer relationships.
If you're looking for more courses to improve your customer service team, check out our catalog of trainings listed on HubSpot Academy.
Originally published May 17, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2021