1. Be a people person
This was the one that came up time and time again. To be the best CS person you need to have strong people skills and a high EQ score (emotional intelligence). This is especially important at enterprise level, where the ARR is high.
A key factor in the job is relationship building, they must be able to communicate effectively to be able to clearly understand, validate and then take ownership of a customers problem. Going a step further they need to be able to articulate this to the customer so they feel they are in safe hands.
An empathetic CSM will be able to hold more effective conversations with customers and ultimately prevent the costumer from logging out of the product for good.
The level of people skills your CSM will need is also affected by the complexity of the product they are working on. The less complex the product the lower the MRR and the message becomes “one to many” using more automation and rapid follow up.
4. be a salesperson, but don't sell
There is plenty of debate in CS around where the revenue quota should sit - with Account Management/Sales/Business Development or should CS hold the responsibility and be rewarded. Regardless of who holds the revenue target arguably CS people need to have a good grasp of the sales process and well developed sales skills.
CS people must be commercially astute, They need have the gravitas and confidence to challenge clients. They should not be afraid to push back and crucially they need to be both curious and highly practiced at asking the right questions in order to control the conversation and establish the customers potential problems. They use this information to identify new opportunities and increase the value for the customer but they are not hunters. Customer Success people are farmers who are proactive and use their emotional intelligence to pull together different teams internally and externally with the one goal - to deliver value to the customer so that they do not churn.
Customer Success Manager sell without selling. They should care about the customer above all and be motivated by the success and not their commission cheque.