Emotional Intelligence and Customer Success

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a valuable skill that is noted as a requirement of an excellent Customer Success Manager. It’s more than tough skin and can be the difference between a major client renewing their services or parting ways. So let’s get into it.

It’s important to understand your role. At times you may operate as a customer advocate, a liaison, a sales professional, a problem solver or even tech-support. When you are able to quickly identify who you are in the conversation with your client, you are able to respond in the most appropriate and effective way.

For example,

A client calls upset that certain features aren’t working on their account. You look and find they have the basic level package and have not logged in to use it this quarter. They need these features to roll out a new division of their company.

What is your role? How do you help?

Your role is sales associate. You congratulate your client on their growth, point out how the features they are looking for will support their roll out and enroll them in the package that will meet their needs.

Connect quickly. Strong connections lead to lasting relationships. Use EI to recognize and understand the energy level at which the client communicates and match that. This will require you to be attentive and curious. Entering the conversation with too much energy may be overwhelming to the client, too little energy may make the client feel like their urgent needs aren’t urgent, to you. Be aware and regulate quickly to build connection. It also helps to connect around like interests. Your immediate and obvious common interest is their success. Let them know you are personally invested in seeing them succeed.

Be personal but don’t take it personally. Sometimes we get to diffuse situations. When emotions are high it helps to remember that the anger coming across is not towards you but towards the problem. Immediately position yourself as a teammate rather than an adversary by acknowledging their feelings, committing to helping them solve the problem and slowly lower the tension by steadying your speech and giving clear answers.

Try this script, “I understand you’re frustrated. You expected ….. and got ….. Did I get that right? I’m aware of the issue now and I am going to do everything I can to get to this resolved. Let’s start with (go into next steps based on the role you need to be in and the problem you get to solve)”

According to Dr. Daniel Goldman emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to manage their feelings so that those feelings are expressed appropriately and effectively. Appropriately expressing one’s emotions effectively in a customer success management roles hinge on understanding the clients needs, so stay curious friends!


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