Seven Ways Customer Success Managers Can Prevent Burnout

By July 9, 2020Blog

CSM burnoutRachel started her career as a Customer Success Manager bright-eyed and hopeful. 

Then the accounts kept coming. And the hours got longer. And the “must-do” list outpaced the “nice-to-do” list. Those bright eyes? They got a bit dull. 

Forty-four percent of CSMs like Rachel say the No. 1 challenge they face is having to take a reactive approach to customers — with the majority of organizations having CSMs covering 16-200 accounts per person. This constant firefighting takes its toll, often in the form of CSM burnout. 

Here’s how you can prevent that from happening:

1. Set boundaries 

One of the most significant ways you can protect your mental health at work is to set boundaries. It’s tempting to answer one quick customer message on the weekend, after all, but that can set a precedent. 

Choose your work hours. Set a plan for handling off-hour requests. And if a lingering notification is too tempting, consider shutting notifications off outside of work hours. 

2. Batch your work 

CSM time managementCustomer Success is a balance between harmony and chaos. In an operations role, you can’t always rely on schedules when apps break or fires rage. 

But do know this: Context switching is a major time suck. Research has found that switching between tasks can cost up to 40% of someone’s productive time.  

CSM time management

“Eating the frog” can help CSMs check off undesirable tasks.

List everything you typically do. Consider using systems such as the Pomodoro Technique to stay on point. Many apps are available for this. 

3. Prioritize your work

Depending on how many accounts you handle, it might be impossible to communicate with everyone within your work limits.

That’s why you need to prioritize. This is where tools such as customer health scores come in handy.

In addition, have you heard of eating the frog?  This technique focuses on you accomplishing your least desirable task early to get it out of the way. 

4. Communicate with numbers 

CS PM alignmentIf you’ve been here before, you’ll know alignment between customer success and product teams is critical. CS should be embedded in the entire organization. 

To make the most of this partnership, set up times for discussions.

But also know that product managers are human just like the rest of us. Use stats like health scores and let the numbers speak for themselves to avoid making anything personal. 

According to the 2019 Customer Success + Product Management Alignment Report, 31% of CS + PM teams meet weekly and 13% meet daily. 

5. Know thyself

Another way to optimize your workday is to learn when you do your best work. Is it easier to focus on emails in the morning? Or are you more energized by analyzing data when you first sit down?

Setting up your schedule to match your energy levels and interests can make your to-do list feel less like pulling teeth.

6. Conduct reviews 

Avoiding CSM burnoutSeventy percent of employees feel that their bosses aren’t doing enough to prevent burnout. 

Communication is critical for ensuring that all team members and departments can do their best work.

Simply taking the time to talk to departments about how they’re feeling and what roadblocks they’re experiencing can help you spot problems before they get out of hand. 

7. Connect goals to company success

While your workload impacts burnout, your goals — or lack thereof — can also leave you feeling disengaged. Without clear goals or a way to track them, you may ask yourself what the point of all your hard work was.

Need help making sense of your strategies and goals? We’ve got helpful downloads across the customer journey here

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