What Steps Should a Customer Success Manager Take to Resolve a Client's Crisis?


    What Steps Should a Customer Success Manager Take to Resolve a Client's Crisis?

    When crisis strikes, swift and strategic action is paramount, as evidenced by a CEO who emphasizes the importance of listening before acting. Alongside industry experts, we've gathered additional answers that provide a spectrum of strategies for managing a client's crisis. From the initial step of empowering team decision-making to assembling a cross-functional team, these insights offer a roadmap to resolution.

    • Listen Before Acting
    • Leverage Survey Insights
    • Prioritize Pressing Issues
    • Maintain Open Communication
    • Analyze Data for Solutions
    • Empower Team Decision-Making
    • Assemble a Cross-Functional Team

    Listen Before Acting

    As a recruiter, I'm used to dealing with frazzled clients. Hiring is stressful on everyone, and good managers and CEOs know that businesses failing at this step will suffer long-term. By the time they come to me, they're often losing hope that they will ever find the right person for the role.

    Recently, I realized that jumping into action during these high-stakes conversations with panicked clients was the wrong move. I thought it made me look determined and goal-oriented, but actually, my clients needed a chance to unload before I offered a suggestion or solution. It makes sense; when I'm frustrated, I just want someone to listen.

    Once they feel heard, it's my chance to move. Since I've listened actively, I know exactly what to do to solve the issue.

    Linn Atiyeh
    Linn AtiyehCEO, Bemana

    Leverage Survey Insights

    One of my clients, an up-and-coming internet provider, was working on a new infrastructure to lay underground fiber optics for high-speed internet on Fripp Island, a remote upscale resort and living community off the coast of South Carolina. An established, well-known internet provider had already established itself as the monopoly provider on the island, and many residents and vacation property owners were reluctant to switch from the trusted big-name internet provider to a smaller, newer company.

    I created an online survey on behalf of my client that addressed their internet connectivity concerns. We included the survey as a link in the monthly Fripp Island e-newsletters with a prize incentive offered to resort members who completed the survey study. Those who completed the survey would have a chance to win the grand prize drawing.

    We used the survey findings to address particular issues the resort residents had with their current provider and established leads of those residents willing to switch to a new provider.

    Not only did the survey findings help us be proactive in addressing ongoing issues regarding internet pricing, billing transparency, customer service, and more, but the survey also helped us acquire a 30% lift in new acquisitions in the first month.

    Mary Thomas Tiller
    Mary Thomas TillerAccount Manager, WSAV

    Prioritize Pressing Issues

    A customer success manager should swiftly identify the most pressing issues and give them immediate attention. This involves evaluating the severity of various concerns and deciding which ones could have the greatest impact on the client if not addressed quickly. Minor tasks should be assigned to other team members to ensure that the manager can focus on the crucial issues at hand.

    This approach allows for a more efficient resolution process. The manager needs to ensure that everyone involved understands their role in addressing the crisis. Respond promptly if facing a customer’s critical issue.

    Maintain Open Communication

    Establishing an open line of communication is critical when dealing with a client's crisis. A customer success manager should set up a system where updates and information can be shared instantly and where the client can easily reach out for any queries. This can involve using real-time messaging apps or a dedicated hotline.

    The goal is to maintain transparency throughout the resolution process, ensuring the client stays well-informed and confident in the manager's ability to handle the situation. Staying connected in such a manner helps to build trust and can alleviate client concerns. Keep the communication channels active and reassure your client regularly.

    Analyze Data for Solutions

    When faced with a client crisis, a customer success manager must drill down into the available data to fully understand the core issues. By analyzing metrics and feedback, one can often discover patterns that reveal the source of the problem. This data-driven approach can help in crafting an effective strategy to address the issues at hand and prevent them from recurring in the future.

    Understanding the problem in-depth will also enable the manager to communicate effectively with the client about the solutions being implemented. Always let data guide your crisis resolution strategies.

    Empower Team Decision-Making

    Empowering the team to make decisions can be a powerful step in resolving a client's crisis quickly and effectively. A customer success manager should ensure that team members have the authority to take action without waiting for approval on every step. This speeds up the process and leverages the expertise of the whole team.

    When team members feel confident to act, they can handle aspects of the crisis in parallel, which can lead to quicker resolution times. Encourage your team to take the initiative and use their judgement to overcome obstacles.

    Assemble a Cross-Functional Team

    Forming a cross-functional team can be an effective method for dealing with complex client crises. A customer success manager should gather individuals from various departments, each bringing different skills and perspectives to the table. The combined knowledge of this diverse group can lead to innovative solutions that a homogenous team might not consider.

    Moreover, this approach ensures that all aspects of the client's crisis are viewed from multiple angles and addressed accordingly. Assemble a versatile team to tackle the crisis from all sides.