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Customer Success Manager

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Customer Success Manager Interview questions

A Customer Success Manager (CSM) helps customers get the most out of their product so they achieve better results and are more likely to keep the product. Through thorough analysis and exceptional problem-solving abilities, the Customer Success Manager helps the customer gain more value from the product. This leads to higher customer satisfaction, retention, and in-product spending, which in turn benefits the company.

As such, the person filling this position can prove an immensely valuable asset to your business. That’s why you want to ensure that you hire the right candidate for the job. To do so, you need to start by asking the right Customer Success Manager interview questions as early on in the hiring process as possible. Your questions need to reveal whether the candidate has the right skills and experience to fill the position.

Examples of qualities and skills to look for when interviewing an applicant for the Customer Success Manager position include:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills to audit customer accounts and find areas for improvement.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to quickly and effectively build rapport with customers.
  • Proactive self-starter who doesn’t just follow orders but who independently finds and suggests ways to improve.

Interviewing a Customer Success Manager

As soon as you’ve written and multiposted your job ad across platforms the applications from qualified candidates will (hopefully) come streaming in. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to invite the first few applicants to an initial interview. Since the lucky person to join your team will have such a large impact on your business it’s of vital importance that you ask them the right Customer Success Manager interview questions. That’s why you need to ensure that you go into the interview prepared with great questions.

Below you can find a list of helpful interview questions (and the sort of answers you’re looking for). These questions are tailored to the Customer Success Manager role and help you determine whether the candidates possess the right skills and character traits.

Bear in mind, though, that these questions are suggestions for earlier stages of the interview process and for candidates with average work experience. Depending on the level of experience you’re after these questions might be a little general.

How to open the Customer Success Manager job interview

Most candidates will be nervous about the interview. This is completely normal, but it does mean that going into the interview too hard straight away might throw them off for the remainder of the interview. Instead, we always advise you to start the interview with a few positive opening questions.

These questions don’t require any specific knowledge or preparation on the part of the interviewee, which means they should always be able to answer them. You want these interview questions to be interesting, fun, and informal. You should also try to make them open-ended so they encourage conversation.

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Also see our Customer Success Manager job description

For the interview

A positive opener to start

Why did you decide to become a Customer Success Manager?

What has your career path been like so far?

What do you love most about your job?

Behavioral Questions

Describe how you would normally deliver bad news to a customer.

As a Customer Success Manager, you can’t always help your customers be as successful as they would hope. That’s why your candidate must know how to deliver bad news to a customer.

De-escalation is an essential part of your role. Give me an example of a time when a customer got angry and how you dealt with the situation.

The Customer Success Manager will have to deal with angry clients. It’s simply part of the job. This question teaches you how the candidate deals with such a situation.

How would you go about getting to know our product better to prepare yourself for your role?

The candidate has to have a solid understanding of your product as they need to be able to help customers use it and convince them that your product is the best on the market.

How do you prioritise your workload?

A Customer Success Manager doesn’t just work with one customer at a time. They often have to juggle multiple accounts at once, which means they need to be able to organise and prioritise their workload effectively.

How do you demonstrate value to potential customers from the first point of contact?

First impressions matter, especially when dealing with hesitant or new customers. That’s why it’s essential that the candidate can demonstrate value directly from the start.

Soft Skills

How do you handle stress?

This job can get stressful, especially if several customers are complaining at the same time. This question teaches you a bit more about how the candidate deals with stress.

How do you cope with angry customers?

No matter how great the candidate might be as a Customer Success Manager, they will run into angry customers. Coping with them is an important part of the job.

What do you think is the most important skill to have as a Customer Success Manager?

This is a great question to ask as it shows you what the candidate sees as the most important skill or quality to have for the job. In most cases, this will also be the skill they consider themselves to be best at.

As a Customer Success Manager, you don’t always deal with the most engaged, enthusiastic, or even friendly customers. How do you stay motivated in a role that requires you to stay upbeat?

Sometimes working as a Customer Success Manager can feel like bashing your head against a wall. Customers are unengaged, unmotivated, and don’t seem to care. Dealing with this and staying motivated is an important part of the job.

Hard Skills

How would you explain our company’s product to a customer in just one sentence?

The candidate has to have a solid understanding of your product as they need to be able to help customers use it and convince them that your product is the best on the market.

How would you prevent customer churn?

A standard Customer Success Manager question, as customer retention is one of the most important (if not the most important) parts of the job.

How would you define customer success?

This gives you an idea of what the candidate sees as a successful customer relationship and a job well done.

Give me an elevator pitch about our product.

The CSM will have to give elevator pitches to customers to quickly sell them on your product or service. They won’t have a fully fine-tuned elevator pitch prepared yet, but this question helps you see how they might do one in the future.

What tools do you generally use to report to clients?

A simple yet specific question about their experience. It also gives you an idea of how much initial training they might need.

How much experience do you have working in our industry?

In most cases, they don’t need to have experience in your industry but it would be a nice perk to have.

What’s your process for creating a (quarterly) business review for a customer?

Again a very specific question about their experience.

Operational / Situational Questions

A customer claims to know how best to use our product even though you know for a fact that there is a better way of doing it. What do you do?

Dealing with customers who think they know better is part of the job. See how your candidate handles this.

A customer disagrees with something you’ve done and complains directly to us / higher management. How do you handle this situation?

Again, complaining customers are a somewhat sad reality of working in this position. See how the candidate copes.

You have tried to explain the same thing to the customer three times now, but they still don’t understand what you mean. How do you proceed?

Some customers simply won’t understand what you’re trying to say, no matter how often you try to explain it to them. Being able to stay calm during this situation is important for a CSM.

After analysing the account of our biggest, highest paying customer to find ways for them to improve their usage of our product you notice our company has mistakenly overcharged them for months. What do you do?

This question helps you learn more about the candidate’s ethics and what type of person they are in such a situation.

Higher management thinks there is a potential to upsell to one of your clients and asks you to make it happen. What do you do?

This question is aimed at getting a clear understanding of what type of process or strategy the candidate follows to upsell to a customer.

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