PiggyVest’s Chiamaka Ewa shares her growth from intern to executive!
How to become a customer success manager
Greetings, ET readers 🖖🏾
Before I dive into today’s topic, I have some news to share with you: this will be my final editor’s note in Entering Tech *cue the sobs*. I’m wrapping up my last week as TechCabal’s managing editor, and will no longer be contributing to this newsletter after today’s edition. I’m incredibly proud of the work Timi Odueso has put into this newsletter from ideation to execution and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with him on several editions. Following my exit, future intros and notes will be written by Timi or another TechCabal senior editor.
Alright then, back to business. In recent times, Nigerian banking customers have taken to social media to bitterly complain about their experience with poor customer service. As someone who has provided basic support services during my tenure in three different fintech startups, I have to say: the complaints are not pretty at all and the PTSD is real.
Customer experience (CX) is a necessary facet in any B2C tech startup and going by the current state of cashless affairs in Nigeria, more startups need to fine-tune their customer experience pipelines. This is where you, an all-around patient person, come in. The best CX associates and managers can function well under pressure and know how to speak calmly to stressed-out customers. If you are easily angered or have thin skin, I would not recommend applying to a CX role in a startup. But if you enjoy chatting with people, solving end-to-end user problems, and coming up with creative initiatives to keep existing customers happy, then you might be a fantastic CX associate.
Read on to learn more about CX and what it takes to meet the needs of any customer.
There’s no CX trivia in today’s edition, but here is some basic trivia that may stump you.
Which tech company recently announced that it was investing $530 million in Africa?
Which African country recently announced that it’s considering legalising crypto?
Answers are at the bottom of this newsletter.
Who is a customer success manager?
If you’ve ever said the words “I’m a people person”, then you should explore customer success management or CX/CSM, for the cool kids.
Customer success involves predicting problems a customer might come across or questions they might ask while using your product and constantly finding solutions and answers. You’ll be the human version of the weather channel—or Alice from the Twilight series if she worked in Silicon Valley 💀.
The goal of this is to keep your customers happy and satisfied, and if you can achieve this, you’ll be able to retain most of them. Happy customers recommend your services to their friends and family, and this translates to more sales for the company.
Roles in CX vary from customer support managers and customer support associates to customer experience (CX) and customer success analysts.
Creating onboarding processes that don’t stress the customers: Nobody wants to use an app that takes forever to sign up, so CX people create sign-up processes that are easy to use and understand.
Educating customers with in-app resources: You know those little pop-ups or subtexts that explain what each button does? Yup, it’s the customer success team that works on that. They help users understand the product and this also includes creating manuals and FAQs.
Mapping the customer journey: Imagination is a skill that is very necessary for customer success roles. CSM teams have to predict users’ future actions, from how they discover the products, to how they’ll pay as well as what difficulties they may face.
Create feedback channels for customers: This can be via emails, calls, in-app chat options, and social media. Customer success is all about the customer and so CSM teams must make sure that customers can reach them to give feedback and complaints.
Liaise with different departments to solve customer issues: To create solutions for customers, CX teams must work with other teams including product and engineering.
The tools of a CX manager
Laptops, phones, and consistent internet connection are friends of CX managers.
CX teams work on different platforms, using laptops to manage different customer relationship management (CRM) tools, meetings and emails; and phones to take customers calls and messages.
Hear it from a CX Executive
Today’s techie is a customer success executive from everyone’s favourite saving app: PiggyVest.
Chiamaka is a content creator and communication specialist with experience in helping brands grow and market their services.
Business Journalist (Internship), The Nation Nigeria September 2017–November 2017
Social Media Manager, TGA Blog August 2018–October 2018
Customer Relationship Intern, Lagos State Government July 2020–February 2021
Realtor, Adbond Harvest & Homes Ltd. April 2021–November 2021
Customer Support Intern, PiggyVest July 2021–November 2021
Customer Support Executive, PiggyVest November 2021–present
Q. What does a customer success manager do?
Customer success associate is a helping hand; they assist customers with requests and concerns. The goal of customer success is to ensure that customers receive maximum satisfaction and issues get resolved. They also answer inbound calls, follow up on issues that have not been served, escalate when necessary and also provide tech support. Sometimes it’s just holding the customer’s hands and taking them to their desired destination, as I would say.
Q. Is CX different from customer service?
I like to say customer success includes proactive roles where you anticipate the users’ needs and wants, and solve those problems ahead of time, while customer service is more reactive. In the latter, the business waits for users to report problems and then tries to solve those problems—think of every failed bank transaction you’ve reported, or every time you’ve DMed an internet service provider for network issues.
Q. What are the hardest and more enjoyable parts of being a customer success manager?
One of the hardest parts is how overwhelming it can get; it can be difficult to find balance. With CX, you’re dealing with people on several fronts: numerous customers with different feedback, and the teams you’re working with to solve these problems.
You’ll also have to maintain composure in all situations, even when customers are visibly agitated. In these situations, it’s also critical to know how to calm and reassure customers.
For the enjoyable parts, I’d say gaining more knowledge about the product is the number one for me. Because customers have varying complaints, customer success teams must be knowledgeable about all parts of the product. You basically have to use the product consistently so when customers describe problems to you, you’ll know where to push these problems. Another is getting positive feedback and reviews, those tweets that highlight the value of the product or how the team solved a problem swiftly, pure gold.
Q. Is CX something you stumbled upon or is it a role you chose?
I suppose I stumbled into it. I finished NYSC and I had zero corporate experience but I found an internship that required zero experience, and that’s how I got here. I did have to take several courses to move from intern to executive, but I started off with zero experience in CX and worked my way up from there.
Learning on the job is actually how you learn the most. After all the courses and reading, learning on the job allows you to apply those courses in real-life situations.
Q. What are the misconceptions people have about CX?
The first is that just about everyone can do customer success. That’s false.
CX involves managing people and their expectations, it involves managing human beings at their best and worst. If you’re not great at this—human interaction—then CX is probably not the job for you.
There’s also the misconception that CX ends when the customers’ needs are met. I’ll go one step further and say CX’s job is only done when you exceed your customer’s needs, because a customer whose needs are met and exceeded is sure to brag about your product to their network and this means more sales.
People also think there’s no career progression in CX but that’s also untrue. I started out as an intern and now I’m an executive, anybody can do it too. There are different paths in CX, and it all depends on the person and the company.
Q. What resources should someone looking to become a CX manager consume?
Read books and take courses—some will be listed in this newsletter.
You should also connect with like-minded people and communities. There’s @Cxperts, @ConTechAfrica and @nontechintech on Twitter and IG. Both have Slack communities that help newbies find resources they need to grow.
My Startup In 60 Seconds
In Episode 1 of My Startup In 60 Seconds, Adeola Ayoola tells us why she’s building Famasi Africa, a healthtech simplifying Africans’ access to medication.
Q. I applied for a product management programme that starts in March 2023, and I’m also commencing an AWS cloud computing internship by April 2023. The first programme also has a hands-on bootcamp. Would these help me find a job and relocate with my family by September 2023? And are the two compatible?
First, congratulations on kicking off your tech journey. Both product management and cloud computing are critical and high-demand roles in today’s society. Product management is compatible with all tech roles including cloud computing, as you can transition from cloud computing to DevOps engineering where your product management skills will really shine.
We’d say you should probably focus on one so you don’t burn out quickly or get bored, but the more skills you have, the more hireable you’ll be.
On relocation and finding a job, it’s not likely that these two things—especially the latter—will happen that quickly. Unfortunately, it will take years of learning and work experience before you’re ready to find employers to sponsor your relocation. Even then, the chances are slim.
There’s still hope though; employers on the continent are hiring for those same roles and paying standard salaries too! The road is long, yeah, but all you need is time and skill.
Good luck 💜.
That’s all we can take this week. Have any questions about tech in Africa? Ask away and we’ll find answers for you.👇🏾
It’s Bolt! This week, Bolt revealed that it will invest $530 million more in Africa and create jobs for 300,000 drivers.
Several African countries are toying with crypto, but it’s only Kenya that announced very recently that it wants to legalise crypto.
The Jasiri Talent Investor Programme is looking for highly driven individuals with a history of achievement and/or entrepreneurial action who aspire to launch a high-growth venture. Apply by April 23.
The Catalyst Fund offers grants between $2,500–$15,000 to anyone anywhere in the world who has an early-stage idea or project that addresses pressing global challenges. Apply by February 28.
The Growth Africa Accelerator Programme is calling for applications from ambitious and committed entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia or Ghana with the potential to grow and create impact through their businesses. Apply now.
Applications are now open for the Nigeria Media Innovation Program’s (NAMIP’s) Sustainability Challenge. Winners will be awarded up to $50,000 for their project and join NAMIP’s innovation and capacity-building programme that extends up to 2024. Apply by February 28.
Disclaimer: TechCabal is not affiliated with or associated with jobs and opportunities listed on all its job boards and newsletters. All applicants bear the responsibility of researching the roles and companies they apply to.
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