Project Management Tips and Tricks for Succeeding in Customer Success & Support

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Project management tools can come in handy for individuals and teams that fall well outside the realm of what is traditionally labeled as project management. One great use case, per Zendrive’s Marissa Bowman, is for those in customer success and support. Zendrive collects driver data to make the roads safer, and as the Director of Customer Success, Bowman regularly integrates PM tricks from her previous consulting roles to help her succeed. These are three of Bowman’s recommendations that she discussed at this month’s Support Superheroes meetup that have proven themselves immensely useful for her team.

1. Beware of “We”

When dealing with customer tickets and issues, it’s often easy to say things like “we’ll take care of x and y.” And that’s okay! But it’s important to clarify the “we” part of that statement within your team immediately after conversing with the customer. There needs to be a single owner for each specific task laid out to ensure that it actually gets done in a timely manner. That’s not to say that there can’t be a secondary owner assisting with the task, but only one individual should be fully responsible for its execution and completion in order to maintain an efficient workflow.

2. Use “Due Dates” Responsibly

When you make a promise to customers, even a seemingly informal one, they will take it to heart. So it’s important to manage their expectations accordingly when discussing due dates and timelines for responses and solutions. Fixing a problem may have moving parts and therefore require a more fluid timeline, so make sure to build in float (buffer time). Use “due dates” only when they are necessary, and if the process is taking longer than expected, make sure to keep your customers fully in the loop so that they understand what’s happening and don’t feel like they’ve been forgotten. At the same time, don’t be intentionally vague either: that’s just annoying.

3. Find “The Critical Path”

In project management, finding the critical path sets realistic expectations in terms of identifying tasks that will take the longest to complete, and setting a timeline accordingly. In customer success and support, identify the tasks necessary to meet the minimum requirements to make progress on behalf of the customer, and base your action plan around those items. Essentially, underpromise and overdeliver…and you can never “over-escalate” if you need to speed up the process!

Did you know that Support Superheroes meets monthly? Check out our next Support Superheroes meetup, organized by Helpshift, coming up on June 21!

Published May 26, 2017
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