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Customer success is booming not just here in the U.S. but abroad – it only felt right to go international this week and speak with Maor Ben Ishay.

Maor is based in Israel and has been at the forefront of the country’s tech and CS scene for about a decade now. He’s currently the VP of customer success at MBI Success Consultancy, where he’s been since 2019, and up until July he was also the global VP of customer success and services at Namogoo, a SaaS company. 

His journey started, like many others in CS, in sales. But “something was missing,” he recently told UpdateAI’s Josh Schachter, when it came to building a stronger connection with his customers – Maor said needed something that really “engages people.” Luckily, he found that in CS, and he’s hoping more will follow in his footsteps. 

You can watch his full interview with Josh on LinkedIn by clicking here. And you can read the key takeaways from their conversation below: 

What Is Customer Success?

Maor said that, within the industry, there is often so much emphasis on what CS isn’t that people lose track of what CS actually is. 

Josh took that comment as a golden opportunity to jokingly use one of Maor’s favorite interview moves against him and ask “What is customer success?” 

Maor was happy to be in the “hot seat” for a moment and share his CS definition. Ultimately, it comes down to amplifying the value of your company’s product for the customer, Maor said.

His money quote: 

“CS is a proactive person – [they’re] the driving force behind whatever you’re doing with that company. It’s basically an accelerator – I see CS as an accelerator of value,” he said. “In most cases, it’s not that the product can’t match up to expectations – but even if it can, even if it’s a perfect product – CSMs are there to accelerate what would’ve happened in a month [and make it happen] in a week… that’s kind of how I see the role, as an accelerator of value.”

Maor and Josh also agreed CSMs need to be proactive, rather than reactive in their roles, whenever possible. The more you are able to nip potential issues in the bud – before the customer has brought them to your attention – the better off you will be. And similarly, that also means being proactive in seeing how your product can help the customer in ways they haven’t seen yet. 

“If you’re not there to create impact, you’re not really doing customer success,” Maor said. “Therefore, all of the reactive versions of CS… they’re just not enough.”

Your Mindset Matters

The biggest indicator someone will find success in a CSM role isn’t their educational background or what their previous career stops were, Maor said.

No, what it really comes down to is their mindset. 

“I’m a strict believer that the CSM role [necessitates] a mindset of growth, rather than a fixed mindset,” Maor told Josh. 

If you’re not familiar, a growth mindset means you embrace challenges and don’t view failure as a stopping point; instead, failures are opportunities to grow and develop your abilities. (A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is where someone believes their skills and intelligence are rigid traits.) 

In the business world, the emphasis on growth mindsets has rapidly increased over the last few decades. Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, first brought growth mindsets to the forefront in the early ‘90s. 

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point,” she said. “This view creates a love of learning and resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” 

(You can hear Dr. Dweck discuss this more in detail by clicking here.) 

And more recently, interest in growth mindsets and how they apply to business has been spurred on by the 2017 book “The Growth Mindset: A Guide to Professional and Personal Growth” by Joshua Moore and Helen Glasgow – a book both Josh and Maor have read. 

This mindset is critical, Maor told Josh, because it means the CSM is looking to “Make the most out of every situation… we’re turning risk situations into success.” 

One Essential Piece of Information to Track

Maor said there’s one thing he likes to track from every customer call: “How well are we doing? How do you perceive your collaboration with us at this very moment?” But the key is to get that answer without explicitly asking it. 

That comes down to asking relevant questions and being an engaged listener; to serve the customer best, you need to hear their feedback and find where they may be running into issues. That allows you to put yourself in their shoes and then go back to the drawing board to come up with solutions. 

Ideally, CSMs will be able to track what their customers say at least twice a month, if they have scheduled bi-weekly calls. Be sure to take notes and document the dates – this will allow you to take a macro view of the customer relationship and see the journey you’ve been on together. 

This is an important facet in transitioning customer success from more of an art to a science, Maor said. By doing so, CSMs can gather and read data – and then provide important context to their customers. 

 

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