As the new year approaches, one usually reflects on the year we leave behind so, for the purpose of this blog post, I would like to look back at a special moment for me at the beginning of this year – leaving my former job as a Consultant at a leading management consultancy to become a Customer Success Consultant at Alyne.
I would like to start by stating that this should not be a valuation for or against a job. I had a great time both before and after my change and I was always able to learn from my environment and develop myself further. I will start this article by drawing a comparison between working as a Management Consultant and as a Customer Success Consultant. Afterwards I will give an assessment of my current role, in which my experience in consulting helps me conclude this article, emphasising on the importance of a good team.
What is the difference between working as a Management Consultant and as a Customer Success Consultant?
Our Customer Success team is always available to our customers as a technical point of contact – just like a Management Consultant on a project.
One of the biggest differences that you notice immediately after a change is the place where you work. As a Management Consultant, you are usually (unless there is a global pandemic) on site at the customer's premises from Monday to Thursday / Friday. You support as an external expert for the duration of a project and thus also for a closed period of time. Of course, we in the Customer Success team are also on site at our customers premises, but the support in the Customer Success area is rather long-term oriented and independent of projects. The assignment of a project requires a Management Consultant to have full focus and knowledge in it as he or she will be employed or trained as a subject matter expert.
As a Customer Success Consultant, you are the contact person for several customers at the same time. You may need to manage several onboarding projects simultaneously and make the right decisions between competing priorities. This also results in a different working day, in which not only project work is required but also project and account management, training (functional support) and sales support. Read more on this subject in Part 2 of our CS Article Series.
In summary, both positions are challenging due to the different and changing activities, both of which encompass different projects and vary from work day to work day.
Why does a consulting background help in Customer Success?
In addition to the contacts and the great time with my former colleagues, I took one thing with me from the consulting business: Structure, structure, structure.
Structure your work, structure your clients, structure your team.
By taking responsibility early on and reporting to top management, Management Consulting quickly teaches you that without a structured approach, little progress can be made.
This becomes even more important when more and more stakeholders are involved. Various internal activities that occur in addition to customer work, the various inquiries from customers, as well as support in sales processes require prioritisation and the structuring of one's own work. In addition to the knowledge of how to structure your own work, a certain amount of documentation can also help. Read more on this subject in Part 1 of our CS Article Series.
With the structure of your own work it is also useful to structure that of your customers. This is less about concrete improvements in the steps of the customer's work and more about a structured processing of inquiries and the control of these last. If you give your customers a defined structure and a timeframe, you can make both yours and their work much easier.
Alyne is a relatively young organisation and not everything is fixed and predetermined. This is where the experience from management consulting and especially the insight into large, established companies comes into play. By understanding which and how processes are defined, we at Alyne can guide ourselves. With a growing team, keeping the quality of work at a high level is a challenge that can be mastered by introducing certain processes. Last year, for example, I was able to help design processes for feature communication, our user guides or our internal project management tool. In addition, I can help my colleagues, from time to time, to create technically detailed slides.
Finding the right mix - the Customer Success team at Alyne
Felix Schock, Head of Customer Success at Alyne, wrote in Article 1 of this series: “we in the Customer Success team [...] can focus on the functional side of things and fully leverage one of our USP’s: to bring expertise on risk management and compliance to the mix and to the teams of our customers.”
The mix that exists on the side of our customers also exists within our team. Due to the different backgrounds in our team, we have the possibility to react to different requests with the right skill profiles. In addition to our different skill profiles, the consulting background of some team members also contributes to the mix. This helps not only in the conversations with our customers, but also with younger colleagues, who come directly from university. Former Management Consultants help new joiners with proper communication, structuring problems or preparing documents.
On the other hand, the fresh thoughts and creative ideas of unbiased graduates help us to constantly innovate and optimise our processes.
All in all, this mix is what makes up the good team spirit within the Customer Success team at Alyne, where everyone is encouraged and challenged.
Want to learn more about how our Customer Success team can help your organisation? Get in touch with us.