How can someone from a different field transition to customer success?
While it takes many qualities to be a good Customer Success individual, it takes a lot less to become one. You can transition into a Customer Success role from any role. In my career, I have seen many folks transition into Customer Success roles. Not because they were in a dead-end job but because they wanted to seek a different challenge.
If you currently have a customer-facing job and managing some customer-centric projects. You should be able to pick any soft/hard skills required for the job. It would help if you were given the opportunity. As far as education requirements, it depends on the company that is hiring.
Transitioning or a career shift can be challenging, not for the faint of heart. It will have its ups and down, and you need to have that end goal in mind and chase it. Persistency pays!
Transitioning to a career in customer success can be a rewarding choice, as it is a field centered around building and maintaining strong relationships with customers, ensuring their satisfaction, and contributing to the growth and success of the business. Here is a step-by-step guide to transition from a different field to customer success:
Understand the Role: The first step is understanding the role of a customer success manager (CSM). CSMs typically ensure that customers are satisfied with the products or services they've purchased, handle any issues that arise, and work to improve the customer's experience. They also help the company understand customer needs, contribute to product development and improvement, and often have a role in upselling or expanding the company's relationship with the customer.
Acquire Necessary Skills: While the skills needed can vary, there are several key skills that most customer success roles require:
Problem-solving: Ability to effectively identify, analyze, and solve customer issues.
Communication: Both written and verbal communication skills are essential for explaining and simplifying complex information.
Empathy and Active Listening: These skills are essential to understand customer needs and problems and to show them that you genuinely care about their issues.
Project Management: You will often be juggling multiple accounts or issues at once, so strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize are crucial.
Leverage Transferable Skills: Consider what transferable skills you have from your current role. For example, if you work in sales, you already have experience building relationships with customers. If you work in product development, you have knowledge that could help you better address customer issues related to the product.
Get Certified: There are various certifications and short courses available online that can help you understand the role of customer success manager more in-depth and gain a formal recognition of your knowledge and skills. For example, the Customer Success Manager Certification from Gainsight, or courses available on LinkedIn Learning and Udemy.
Network: Start networking with people in the field. LinkedIn can be a great tool for this. Reach out to current customer success managers and see if they'd be willing to talk with you about their role. You might also consider attending industry events or joining professional organizations to meet people in the field.
Gain Experience: Try to gain customer-facing experience in your current role, if possible. This could be through taking on customer service tasks, or working closely with a sales or customer success team.
Apply for Jobs: Once you've built up your skills and have a good understanding of the role, start applying for customer success jobs. In your application materials and during interviews, be sure to highlight your transferable skills, any relevant certifications, and your commitment to excellent customer service.
Remember, a transition to a new career takes time and patience. Continuously learning and adapting will help you get there.
It is certainly a great career move. It is important to understand the roles and responsibilities of a Customer Success Manager and determine that this is what excites and motivates you.
Focus on how you can apply what you have learned previously and reapply to the CSM role.
I’ve seen many successful CSMs come from different backgrounds and functions such as Customer Service, Technical Support, Project Management, Commercial Sales, Business Development ….to name a few.
Many of the people I coach and mentor are those getting into customer success for the first time. So I recommend finding a coach for example via the Catalyst Software Coaching or Customer Success Network Mentoring program.
I highly recommend that they read the following book. “The Customer Success Professional Handbook.” to help you get started,
Depending on your background and experience you may need to start at a more junior level in order to get grounded in the basics - however you can quickly accelerate your progression from there with a desire to learn and improve.