Customer Success Managers
Education and Training Requirements
Customer success managers spend a lot of time interacting with clients via e-mail, through video chats, on the telephone, and during in-person meetings, so you should take as many English, writing, and speech classes as possible to hone your communication skills. Taking a foreign language will increase the number of customers you can assist, and increase your value at your company. Other recommended classes include computer science, business, and social studies.
Many companies require job applicants for customer success management positions to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Typical majors include marketing, sales, computer science, and business, although CSMs have degrees in a wide range of fields. Some companies prefer applicants who have master’s degrees.
Some colleges and universities, such as Drexel University, offer minors in client development and customer service. Classes in Drexel’s minor include Customer Service Theory & Practice; Client Relations Management; Interpersonal Skills for Virtual Teams; Selling and Sales Management; and Brand and Reputation Management.
Additionally, online learning platforms offer classes in customer success management. For example, Udemy offers Customer Success Manager 101, which provides information on job duties for CSMs and how to break into the field.
A few colleges and universities offer certificates in customer success management, while many offer certificates in marketing, sales, and business management. For example, RMIT University in Australia offers a graduate certificate in customer success management to students who complete the following classes: Customer Value Strategy; Customer Solution & Value Analytics; Customer Relationships & Influencing Stakeholders; and Future Skills Elective (which focuses on Customer Experience Strategy & Design or Digital Leadership + Digital Delivery with Agile). Contact schools in your area to learn more about available programs, some of which are available online.
Other Education or Training
Online learning platforms such as Udemy and Lynda offer classes in customer success management and related fields. Professional associations such as the American Marketing Association, Association of Support Professionals, and the Sales Management Association offer in-person and web-based continuing education opportunities that will also be useful.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Some tech companies provide certification programs for CSMs. For example, Cisco offers the Cisco customer success manager to applicants who pass an examination that tests their knowledge of the field. Gainsight, a customer success platform provider, offers the following certification credentials: customer success manager-certified professional; customer success manager-advanced certified professional; customer success manager-expert certified professional; customer success leader-certified professional; and customer success executive-certified professional. No licensing is required for CSMs.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
The career of customer success manager is not an entry-level position in most instances. The majority of companies require applicants to have three to five years of experience in lower-level, customer-facing customer success, account management, customer service, or strategic consulting positions at a SaaS company or at other businesses.
Key traits for customer success managers include excellent communication, interpersonal, listening, customer service, and persuasive skills; attention to detail; top-notch organizational and time-management skills; self-motivation; enthusiasm; diplomacy; tact; poise under pressure; confidence; leadership skills; drive; ambition; and strong critical-thinking and analytical skills.