What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

by | Nov 28, 2023

Many educators transitioning from education to the corporate world consider the role of customer success management. But what exactly does a customer success manager do?

What is a Customer Success Manager (CSM)?

Customer Success Managers (or CSMs) have the challenge of supporting new customers and turning them into loyal customers. The overall goal for a CSM is to help the customer reach their goals (for profit, efficiency, etc.) while also increasing their own company’s profitability.

Have you ever purchased something that you were excited about but then, after a week or so, the excitement wore away? Maybe you had trouble figuring out how to make the “thing” do what you were promised it would do. Perhaps it was too hard to use. Or, you might have just forgotten about it, and then it rusted in your garage.  In any case, you stopped using that purchased product. This certainly did not lead you to be a loyal customer.

This is where a customer success manager would have been helpful!

The Purpose of Customer Success Management

 A customer success manager’s job is to pick up where the salesperson left off. Their job is to ensure that the customer gets started using the product right away – and that they have success with it. Success should be easily identified within the first few days, weeks or months of using the product, and it should also be long-lasting. (For example, weight loss apps want you to see success within the first week by losing a pound or two right away. But they can’t stop there. They need you to keep having success, or else you will stop using their app.)

Success looks different for each product and each customer. For some, success might mean saving time. For others, it means making more money. In EdTech, success often means getting more teachers and students to use the product and seeing meaningful results because of this usage. “Meaningful results” could be an increase in test scores, student engagement, or attendance rates. The customer success manager helps the customer define what success means for them and devises a method of tracking data with the customer to measure success. 

Why is Customer Success So Important?

 If a customer experiences success and meets their goals, they will be more likely to continue using the product and may even purchase more from the company. Buying more means the company makes more money.

If the customer does not experience success and does not meet their goals, they are likely to stop using the product altogether or reduce what they are using. This is called churn, and it is what a CSM desperately wants to avoid.

Qualities of a Customer Success Manager

A Customer Success Manager is a relationship-builder who balances the needs of the customer with the needs of the company. They serve as a voice for the customer to ensure that there is success and not churn. CSMs are able to guide customers through the process of getting started with a product (which is where teaching and facilitating learning can be helpful.) Active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution are key skills of a great CSM, but so are organization and time management as CSMs will support multiple customers at once. Depending on the company, CSMs may also be the ones having conversations with the customers about renewals – providing quotes and negotiating the price for the upcoming year of service.

What is the Overall Goal for a Customer Success Manager?

The overall goal of a great customer success manager is to do whatever they can to ensure that each customer they partner with experiences success, year after year, resulting in not just a happy customer, but a loyal one. These customers will not only continue to purchase new and existing products and offerings but will ultimately become marketers for your company by telling others about you.


For more information on customer success management, check out these resources:

Customer Success Association – Provides fantastic resources and links for current and aspiring CSMs

Gain Grow Retain – A podcast and blog dedicated to all things CS

Trying to determine the best new role for you? Consider my Preparing for Change course. This course introduces you to over a dozen roles in the corporate world and is designed to help you determine what roles fit your interests, passions, and work-life needs. Or join my Facebook group for transitioning teachers. You can also subscribe to my newsletter to learn more about upcoming events.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.