Customer success is one of the fastest evolving business functions in the modern SaaS industry. Businesses are keen to hire the candidate who can exceed their expectations of a customer success manager (CSM) role. They must have an overall objective of retaining the customers and increasing their lifetime value (LTV). There are some basic skills in a CSM you may want to check through customer success manager interview questions.
A CSM must be able to perform at multiple levels. They need to be an expert in customer service by reacting to the customer queries and providing them bespoke solutions. They should as well be proactive in creating strategies for their customers to succeed. In order to do so, they need to learn about the product and service inside out. This will help them handle customer questions. They must also know when is the right time to approach customers for up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.
If you want to gain a deeper insight about the customer success function then this article can be really helpful. But sticking to the present topic let’s jump straight to the top 12 customer success manager interview questions.
- How well do you know our product niche?
Through this question you are going to check if the candidate has done some market research on your product. Are they familiar with your top competitors and the differences between the kind of service they are offering from yours. They don’t have to give a detailed response but should have an abstract understanding to answer this question. You can also check if they know the basic terminologies and concepts of your niche. This in turn would help them hold valuable discussions with your customers.
- What do you know about the SaaS industry and who are the top players?
Customer success manager is a role that usually exists in Software as a Service (SaaS) based industry. Hence, it is wise to check how much understanding they possess about this industry. Do they know the kinds of challenges faced by these companies? The kind of business model they operate in? And what are the factors that affect the revenues of the companies? Have they gone through a case study of any top players in the SaaS industry? Have they learnt anything from them that can be applied here? A thorough understanding of the working of SaaS industry would be one of the add-on for the role of CSM.
- How do you handle customer queries with your day-to-day tasks?
One of the skills that the candidate should possess to answer this question is multi-tasking. They are going to handle multiple customers. Hence they should know how to prioritize their communication with their everyday tasks. It should not have a least impact on either of those. They should be able to prioritize multiple customer queries based on the relationship status and their business values.
- How would your strategies differ for an organization based on its annual recurring revenue?
Through this question you want to check how aware the candidate is about the average monthly or annual revenues of different companies. Do they know the current valuation of your company and what amount is considered good enough for a small, medium or large enterprise.
This will help them evaluate the kind of customers they are going to deal with and hence they should come up with further questions to you to display their probing and analyzing skills. They can also describe how they can help grow your business.
- How do you handle a situation where you can’t meet a customer’s expectation?
This is one of the most important customer success manager interview questions. The candidate should know that it is not always possible to meet all expectations of customers. But how diplomatically they steer the conversation to deliver the message is what you need to look for.
You can also ask as a follow up question to describe a situation when this has happened in their past experience and what specific steps they took to cover the situation.
- Which was the toughest case you have ever handled and how did you do that?
The problem solving skills and how the candidate handles stress can be tested through this question. You must pay keen attention to the kind of strategies they mention about resolving the issue. Was there any conflict resolution skills that was demonstrated through this question that can also be checked upon.
- What is your experience in interacting with marketing, sales and product management teams?
This is the kind of customer success interview questions which tests how good the candidate is a team-player. As a part of a CSM role, they have to interact with multiple teams in an organization whether to give feedback of the client, resolve a particular issue or just taking a brief up of the client while they are getting onboarded. It is important that they should be able to hold clear communication with different teams for a smoother flow of information in an organization.
- How would you explain in brief about our product or service?
You want to check through this question whether the candidate has a prior understanding of your product or not. This will help you gauge how much time and effort will be needed to give orientation of your service to the candidate and how easily they can adapt to your company to be able to advocate your brand to your customers.
- What changes would you like to implement to our product or service?
Besides understanding your product, a CSM must also be able to interpret the voice of the customer. They must exercise their influence in the organization to give customer feedback to be implement changes in the product. To answer this question they must understand the product from the user’s point of view. Based on that they should be able to guide the product management team for the betterment of the product.
- Why is customer success important to you?
You want to hire a candidate who is self-motivated and hence, if customer success is one of their passions then there is nothing like it. They should understand clearly what they really mean with the success of the customer and how to measure the same. What metrics or parameters are taken into account in order to measure and excel in it.
- What measures would you take to prevent customer churn?
Are they capable enough to handle an at-risk customer who is at the brink of switching the service provider, how would they improvise in their customer engagement activities to turn a no to yes, how early do they identify the at-risk customers and what parameters they measure to get an early warning. These are few of the areas they must touch upon while handling this question.
- How would you help us expand our business?
A CSM should clearly know the importance of customer retention in the business and the potential it has to contribute in any business growth. They must be able to demonstrate their negotiation skills with the customer. When to aim for reaching the customer for feedback to know your Net Promoter Score (NPS) or for tapping the opportunities for upselling or cross-selling should be explained while answering this question.
Remember that a CSM is a client facing role. They should always maintain a balance between what the company can deliver and what the customer needs. They should be expert in creating value of the product in customer’s perception. This demands a thorough understanding of the product as well as an abstract knowledge of the client’s niche. Thus, these customer success manager interview questions would help you examine a candidate from all angles. They would give you a clear idea if they are a perfect match for your company or not.