The trick to any successful relationship is ongoing, clear communication. In fact, it's paramount. And this is no different to the relationships you have with customers.

In the world of customer success, mutual engagement plans have been proven to strengthen partnerships and enable a fruitful, long-lasting relationship with your customer.

In order to decipher how you should tackle mutual engagement, we have spoken to Bryant McCombs, Customer Success Manager of MongoDB, who has given us the down-low on what makes communication one of the pillars of customer success.

Make sure you don't miss Bryant's presentation 'CS-Led Mutual Engagement Plans: How to Build a Partnership' at this year's Customer Success Festival.

Q. Tell us a bit about how you got into your customer success career?

A. I wouldn't say that I stumbled into customer success, but I wouldn’t say I was actively looking for it either.

I’ve held a lot of different roles throughout my career and I more or less just kept cherry picking the parts of each job that I enjoyed the most, until I finally landed on customer success.

Q. Over the course of your career, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about brand image and the importance of strong communication with your customers?

A. I’d say the most important lesson that I’ve learned when it comes to brand image is to be as authentic as you can in your interactions with your customers.

I think that when you lead with authenticity and keep your customer’s best interests in mind, everything else just seems to fall into place, and the communication piece feels natural and fluid.

Q. What’s your number one hot tip for creating a strong mutual engagement plan?

A. Make sure that you have the customer’s buy-in and that your engagement plan is aligned with your customer’s goals.

Q. In what ways do you think the pandemic has impacted on the ways in which organizations communicate with their customers, and vice versa?

A. I think the obvious one is that both parties have to deal with the hurdles that come with working in a fully remote environment.

Personally, I really enjoy face-to-face interactions and believe that they can have a profound impact on customer relationships.

With that being said I think that customers and their vendors have been able to form a unique relationship throughout the pandemic. We’ve seen into one another’s homes, met each other’s children, significant others etc. So although the pandemic has come with its challenges, it has also created an intimate and new environment for customer relationships.

Q. For anyone new to mutual engagement plans, can you give us a teaser into the what and why behind them?

A. In short, the “what” is a mutually agreed upon plan between you and your customer with clearly defined action items and clearly defined goals.

The “why” is that they give you and your customers a sense of direction when it comes to your engagement and allows you and your team to be more proactive when it comes to suggestions and setting your customers up for success.

Q. When it comes to customer communication, what mistake(s) do you commonly see businesses make?

A. Meetings for the sake of meetings.

Customers are busy and they have several vendors vying for their attention at any given time. Keeping that in mind it’s important to bring value to every call with your customers and ensure you’re always earning the next call.

Q. What do you love about the evolution of customer success?

A. I feel like it is still the wild west in a lot of ways and that is exciting to me.

Customer success looks very different from company to company and I feel like most companies are still doing a fair amount of experimenting when it comes to building out customer success within their organizations. I love that I get to be on more or less the ground floor of this evolving and exciting industry.

Q. What will people walk away with after attending your talk?

A. Ideally, they’ll be able to take something actionable and impactful that they can add to their tool belts.