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Bianca Ker

Leading With Empathy: How to succeed in Customer Success

Leading With Empathy: How to succeed in Customer Success Image

Customer Success is one of those jobs that your grandparents give you a quizzical look when you try to explain that no, you’re not in Customer Service and no, you’re not in Sales, and yes, you work in this thing called “Enterprise Software”.

My career has been focused on working with people, solving their problems, and often being the bearer of bad news. The bad news can take the form of a timeline adjustment, perhaps a feature that didn’t make it into this sprint, or that a customer has chosen not to renew. Either way, the job of a Customer Success Manager is a combination of therapist, punching bag, and tech-shaman.

Our whole “raison d’etre" is to make the jobs of the people that work at organizations beyond the products and services they buy, easier and more effective. We may not be saving lives, but I do like to think that we’re helping people in other ways. Whether it’s getting home in time to have dinner with their family, or impressing their boss with their improved efficiency and higher impact. So if our entire mode of existence is to help people, then we should be leading with empathy; Empathy for those that have never been tasked before with learning a complex new software. Empathy for those that were experts in the old way, and are being forced into using a new tool their boss gave them. Empathy, because they’ve got a deadline, and your product just made an update, and now they can’t find anything.

In the world of startups, we’re constantly rewarded for the “move fast and break things” mentality, but too often there’s little thought to the breakage along the way, if the end goal is optimization. I love CS, because we are the necessary balance to constantly delivering new value to our customers, and not forgetting about our current customers. Companies that build Customer Success teams that lead with empathy, humanize their help tickets, create forgiving and evangelizing customers, and promote platform engagement that just can’t be replicated with an automated product tour.

By leading with empathy we acknowledge that our customers are not just logos and renewal dollars, they’re human beings who put their necks out to purchase our product instead of someone else’s. They’re ambitious leaders who are jockeying for a promotion. They’re overworked marketers spending late nights creating reports, and they’re creatives who are trying to marry their creative vision with performance data.

As the Head of Customer Success at Tagger Media, an influencer marketing software platform, it’s my job to set the standard for how every team member, from LA to Serbia to Sydney, treat our customers and their problems. Out of that culture we’ve launched an internal “Voice of the Customer” program, where we specifically carve out time in our sprints to make improvements, and build features that directly speak to our customer’s feedback. As we expand into new avenues each year, it’s our empathy that will help us understand the needs of the market and drive good product development, and best in class customer experience.

If you'd like to see how Bianca and her team help top global brands and agencies maximize their influencer marketing success, click here to schedule a free, live demo of Tagger's award-winning platform!

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