The PerformYard Blog

A practical look at building and implementing your perfect performance management process.

What is Customer Success? Stories from a CSM at PerformYard

daniil-silantev-367138-unsplashNew customers sometimes ask me, “if the product works like it’s supposed to, why would I need support?” It is a fair question, but it misses 98% of what I do as a Customer Success Manager (CSM) here at PerformYard.

The role goes far beyond troubleshooting issues and answering simple questions. Below I’ve shared some stories that I hope give you a deeper understanding of why customer success matters.

I measure my success by your success

Unlike in a tech support role, I’m not measuring success by how many emails I answer each day, or how quickly I answer your question and get to the next caller. I measure my success by asking how successful are you, my customer?

What that means is my customers are not alone in caring about their outcomes, I am always in their corner.

Project management for a young Head of HR: One of my customers, Sarah, is a young Head of HR at a fast-growing startup. When we first started working together she had been tasked with implementing PerformYard, and creating the company’s first performance management strategy.

It was a lot of pressure, and because HR was a department-of-one at that time, Sarah was already swamped with her regular duties.

I was able to support her as a project manager. We put together timelines and detailed to do lists to keep track of everything she needed to get done and when. We also squeezed Sarah’s trainings into her busy schedule and I ran the trainings for the rest of her company.

The first review cycle went off without a hitch, and today Sarah is a PerformYard rockstar. Also! her CEO loves the company’s new performance management process.

I’m proactive, not reactive

All of my customers have my direct phone number, but I don’t spend the day waiting for their calls.

At this point I know what it takes for an organization to implement performance management software. Even when I work with people who would rather figure things out on their own, I still follow their account carefully to make sure we’re hitting milestones and not going down any paths that could complicate things later.

Checking in on a self-starter: A CPA firm I work with chose to learn PerformYard on their own. They got everything they needed from our support site and ran their own trainings.

One day when I was doing a regular milestone check on their account I noticed that their setup was not conducive to aggregating performance data over time. I knew this was something they really wanted from our initial conversation, so I reached out to show them how they could isolate some questions for long-term reporting (keeping them the same) and still have the flexibility to create new questions every quarter.

We made the change before any forms were sent out to the organization, so from managers and employees’ perspectives the process was right and worked great from day one.

I’m your second set of eyes

The stakes for launching a new performance management process are high. Every employee is going to be involved, including your boss and your boss’ boss.

In the moments before launching a new cycle, I know my customers appreciate having an experienced second set of eyes to double check every detail.

Testing a complex process in a regulated industry: One Financial Services firm I work with had a multi-dimensional review process that included self-evaluation, upward reviews, multiple downward reviews, external reviews and peer reviews. Additionally, their performance process was tied to bonuses. Finally, it was important that not only were the reviewer identities anonymous, but that the content of their reviews was hidden from everyone but the employee’s manager.

All this was magnified by a tight deadline and a high-stakes regulatory environment.

I worked with them to layout this complex process, review every piece carefully, and run test cycles to guarantee everything happened as expected.

When it came time to press the button that would kick-off hundreds of reviews and over a thousand forms, the HR team didn’t even blink. We’d done the work together, and knew it would go off without a hitch.

I stick with you

The first email a new customer receives is from me (or another customer success manager). I then stay with that customer forever, through their first review cycles, performance management redesigns, and anything else they need.

Performance management isn’t transactional, it happens across your whole organization, over the course of years.

By working with my customers long-term I can give guidance that is based on our history together, that takes into account questions their employees asked during the first training, that understands not just what they’re trying to do in the software but the context of what they’re trying to accomplish with performance management.

A goal process with custom training: Once I set up a goal-setting process for a chemical engineering firm. It was a straightforward implementation in the software, but it would also require customized training for their team to ensure data inputs were consistent. Because performance management is almost always about people creating data, clear expectations and good training for the team are very important.

I ran their customized training, and recorded the session for future employees. Even more importantly, when someone from their team needs support, I can not only answer questions about how the software works, but also the details of how their company’s process works too!

So Why Does Customer Success Matter

In conclusion, it's about much, much more than troubleshooting and getting your questions answered (although I'm happy to do that). I get to be the expert partner for my customers. They know their goals, and I know PerformYard. Together we create great processes that transform performance management at their organization.