April 07, 2021

From managing customer success to managing a team

by Matas Čenys

Customer Success Team Leader

Does leading a team and managing customer success have any similarities? At first, you may think that these two positions could not be any different even if they tried – one is all about making sure that a group of people can work at 100 % efficiency. The other is focused on ensuring that customers get the best possible experience with the service you provide. However, after working in both positions myself, I can confidently say that they are quite alike – values, determination and even goals are virtually the same.

When I started working as a Customer Success Manager, I was worried – the whole experience was relatively new to me. I’ve only had 3 months of work in the customer success area gained from my summer job and I did not know if I have the knowledge needed to be a successful professional.

I had the determination and eagerness to learn and improve quickly. If I found something hard or uncomfortable to me at work, I would always push myself to the limit to get over it and get better. Complicated to talk with 4 customers at the same time? No worries, push yourself to speak with 6 customers while still keeping up a good chat experience. Six customers at the same time do not fear you anymore? Let’s go for 8 in that case. This was the determination that pushed me forward until I started feeling that my team could trust me on the most challenging days, even with 10 chats open at the time.

And almost one year into my experience as a Customer Success Manager, I get an email with this subject in line – we are looking for a new Team Leader. I did not waste much time sending my motivation email. One challenging practical task, four extensive interviews and too-much worrying after – here I was, approved as the new Team Leader for a Customer Success team. Not only that – also a Team Leader for the department that I had spent almost a year already.

But getting the position wasn’t the end of this story for me – I knew that I still had to get through quite a few challenges if I wanted to be successful. To achieve that, there was only one thing that I could do – use that very same determination and wish to help others that pushed me to become a good customer success manager.

I worked hard to gain and deserve my team’s trust and helped others while staying true to myself and my set of values – trust, honesty, and teamwork. There were harder days, but the team of fellow Team Leaders helped me improve and learn on the way.

Coming back to the initial question – what similarities are there between a Team Leader and a Customer Success Manager? In my opinion, there are quite a few – the determination to move forward, improve as a person and gain skills that will be useful in the further steps of my career. There is also the same wish to help others – be it a customer that doesn’t know how your product works or a success manager who needs your help to achieve his best results and career goals. Last but certainly not least, there are the values you cannot succeed without at both positions – trust, honesty, and teamwork.