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2016

The Macmillan Learning Client Success Specialist role is a unique role that requires a unique skillset. When hiring a new Client Success Specialist, there are three main questions we ask. 1. Is the candidate a subject matter expert with teaching experience? 2. Can the candidate communicate effectively both in writing and verbally? 3. Does the candidate have a passion for learning and furthering education? The answer to each of these questions must be “yes” or the candidate is not the right fit for the position.

 

Our Client Success team provides peer to peer pedagogical support to instructors. This level of support often leads to in depth conversations with instructors on how best to use the resources provided in our products to teach certain topics in a college classroom. In order to make the best recommendations possible in these situations, the Client Success Specialist needs to be well versed in the subject matter, the classroom setting, and the platform and resources being delivered to the instructor.

 

Communication is key in the relationship between Client Success Specialist and instructor. The CSS must be able to understand what an instructor is asking for and then be able to communicate the resolution back to the instructor clearly either via email or over the phone. When things are not clearly communicated it can lead to unnecessary frustration for the instructor and the CSS. In addition to being able to communicate effectively with customers, there is a large need for effective internal communication as well. Each CSS needs to be able to articulate to other groups within the company what our instructors are experiencing in the product. Members of the Client Success team work closely with members of other teams across the company including marketing, sales, editorial, and product/technology. Free flowing communication between all of these groups is what leads to the best customer experience possible.

 

Finally, when hiring a Client Success Specialist, we look for someone who has a passion for education and learning. A CSS is in the business of helping instructors create successful learning experiences for their students. While each instructor might define the metrics of that success a bit differently, at the end of the day we all want the students who participated in the course to leave the course with a better understanding of the subject matter that was presented. We want students to be successful after they move on from the classroom and into the world.

 

The role of Client Success Specialist must be filled by someone who exhibits the characteristics outlined here, or the candidate will not be successful in the role.

Do you get frustrated by computers, tablets, and phones in your class? Do you feel that students are not paying attention to the material you carefully crafted? In a recent conversations with a few intro biology instructors, I discovered some innovative solutions to the in-class technology conundrum.

 

Create a Digital District in your Class

Firstly, acknowledging that everyone is a different learner is important. Sure, some students might be browsing Twitter, but some individuals need stimulation and input to be engaged and effective listeners. In the same way, a student with back problems might choose to stand rather than sit for an hour of class.

 

If one student's screen is distracting other students, that is a different scenario. You have the option to intervene. However, consider instead creating a “digital district” at the start of class to proactively prevent this issue. You know that all the students with computers are going to cluster on the side of the lecture hall with electrical outlets. So at the start of class, indicate that students using devices can sit in a particular area.

 

Now comes the fantastic part of this deal. You have instant access to any online resource through the students using devices in-class! You let the digital district know that you may call on any student with a device at a moment's notice to look up a fact or confirm a finding.

 

So imagine you are midway through a lecture and a student asks a questions that you don’t know off the top of your head. You might normally respond, “I’ll get you an answer for next time”. But now that you have a Digital District, the world wide web is at the fingertips of your students with devices. Simply ask one or two of them to investigate and come back to get an response a few minutes later.

 

This makes researching, fact checking, and understanding additional material part of the learning process.