CSM Account Handover

 By Guy Galon  🗓 June 17, 2022    In CCO

Account Handover is often mentioned in the context of transitioning between Sales to Customer Success. However, within the CS team there are various situations inevitably leading to account handover between CSMs.

I like to think about this situation same as replacing the lead actor of the show knowing the crowd is looking for the same great experience (as advertised) with no less than flawless performance.

Reasons for CSM handover:

  •     CSM Attrition
  •     CSM Promotion
  •     CSM Underperforming
  •     Account allocation to a new CSM.
  •     Reducing the load of an existing CSM and/or changing the customer mix.
  •     Change in Customer segment leading to a CSM change

There are a few objectives to take into consideration when initiating account handover between CSMs:

  •     Seamless transition (nothing “falls between the cracks”)
  •     ZERO Impact on the customer (customer will not “educate” the new CSM)
  •     Minimize the duration of the new CSM getting up-to-speed

Having these objectives in mind, we have a set of internal and external (customer-facing) activities to perform as part of the handover.

Internal Preparation and Alignment:

  • CSMs should be aligned on the message to the customer explaining the reason for the change.
  • The new CSM should be aware of the customer background including (but not limited) to use case, meeting notes, QBR summaries, action items, account plans and more. Having solid and organized CS platform and or a centralized knowledge base is necessary for a smooth handover.
  • Future priorities and commitments – align on the main customer priorities and any existing or future commitments.
  • Review of stakeholder analysis and plan relevant introduction calls.
  • Review any ongoing issues such as defects, feature request and open questions. Align on any important due dates and commitments,
  • Review existing opportunities already listed in the CRM and potential opportunities that require qualification.
  • Highlight any risks that were already identified, and steps taken to avoid or mitigate them.
  • Plan the transition with the customer including communication, timing, and milestones.
  • In certain scenario (high NRR, major enterprise customer, many stakeholders) consider having an overlap period including shadowing and reverse shadowing between the CSMs

Customer facing Activities:

  • Ensure as part of the preliminary communication, that the customer understands the reason for the change.
  • In case of underperforming CSM, allow the customer to vent out their concerns and ensure their feedback is taken care of.
  • Introduce the new CSM and his/her credentials and relevant experience.
  •  Align the customer on the expected timelines and milestones.  In case of an overlap between the CSMs, then customer should be aware who the lead CSM is during the transition process.
  • During the transition process, assess the customer sentiment and look for signals of discomfort. Proactively handle any issues and ensure the key stakeholders are reassured that the transition process will not impact their business and operations.
  • Few weeks later after the transition is completed, it is recommended that CS leader will follow up to ensure the customer and the engagement is handled flawlessly.

Remember – the show MUST GO ON. Customers expect that any handover will be performed as a background (“backstage”) activity with no impact on the value your product or service already delivers.

 

Special thanks to Guy Galon, VP for Customer Success at Hysolate for sharing this blog and infographic to the Customer Success Community.

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