customer success leaders

To All the Customer Success Leaders: Some Important Questions You Should Ask

The position of Customer Success leader imposes specific responsibilities on the holder.  There is so much pressure to solve day-to-day problems; you solve one problem and another two pop up. It is like chipping at an iceberg when most of it lies beneath the surface. You jump from one problem to the next, and before you know it, the future has overtaken you. I am not suggesting that you ignore these issues; you should not! You should, however, reflect on the big picture and the changes happening around you.

Even those who do have time frequently assume that next year will essentially be a continuation of this year. That may be acceptable in slow-moving industries where competition is limited and technology is trivial, but do such industries still exist? Most of us face competition from both direct and new competitors, as well as other ways customers can spend their limited time and money.

For you as a Customer Success leader to be able to fulfill your job promisingly, you need to implore and answer certain questions. These are some of them.

1. What objectives do customers desire that we do not provide?

No software product does everything, which implies that there are possibilities to broaden your scope to address other issues and goals that customers have. This necessitates a thorough understanding of customers, which survey data and consumer research are unlikely to provide. Only by studying your chosen customers and their work will you be able to effectively identify ‘new’ needs. The best approach is mapping the use of your product: documenting what your target customers do and where existing approaches and technology fail to meet their needs effectively.

Another useful technique is to try to understand your customers’ customers. This can really widen the difference between your competitors.

Additional Resource: How does Product Analytics help in Reducing Churn?

2. Which aspects of your process elicit the most feedback?

It’s all too easy to dismiss seemingly pointless complaints – whether from a customer or a member of your team – as the result of a confrontational personality, a one-time occurrence, or only marginally associated recurrences.

However, feedback can assist you in identifying process issues. As a result, it’s critical to keep a record of feedback, both good and bad, so you can figure out what’s working, what’s causing minor inconveniences, and what’s jeopardizing your customer retention.

When auditing, you should go over all feedback and issues, both those that are clearly related to your processes and those that aren’t. 

When evaluating specific feedback, you can use the “5 whys” method, which states that you should ask “why” five times to get to the root cause of any problem.

Quarterly Business Review Template

Assume a customer success manager (CSM) is behind on scheduling customer renewal meetings.

  • Why? Because the CSM’s calendar is always full, they do not have enough time to complete daily tasks.
  • Why? Because the CSM makes repeated calls to the same set of customers.
  • Why? Because this subset of customers is constantly complaining about the workarounds provided for their product’s use case.
  • Why? Because the workarounds are inconvenient and only account for about 40% of the product’s total functionality.
  • Why? Because these customers are a poor fit for the product and should never have been sold it.

At first glance, you might think the CSM’s chronic tardiness is due to poor scheduling or procrastination. However, when you ask “why” to peel back the layers of the problem, you discover that it originated in the sales process.

Drive Customer Success throughout the Customer Journey!

Take customer and team feedback seriously, but don’t always take it at face value. Investigate further to discover the true meaning of the words.

Learn how to create a solid customer feedback loop.

3. Where do you have bottlenecks in your process?

A bottleneck occurs when a point in your process slows or stops a specific workflow. Bottlenecks occur for a variety of reasons, but identifying and correcting them is critical to the success of your process.

What are the tell-tale signs of a bottleneck?

To get to the bottom of a bottleneck, you must first identify its symptoms. Typical bottleneck symptoms include:

  • Long waiting periods
  • Backlog of work High levels of stress
  • Deadlines are consistently missed.
  • Repeated process delays

If you want a permanent solution, you must treat the source, not just the symptoms.

What are the different types of bottlenecks?

You must first identify the type of bottleneck in order to determine the best course of action for resolving it. The majority of bottlenecks fall into one of the following categories:


  • Chronic bottlenecks: A regular report, for example, is always late because it is highly manual and time-consuming to create.
  • Temporary bottlenecks: For example, if a team member is absent due to illness but is the only person capable of completing the work, the entire process is slowed.


  • Bottlenecks in Action: For example, a person may take longer than necessary to complete a task.
  • Bottlenecks in the system: A process error, for example, exists in a system-generated report that is required to proceed to the next step.

4. Are you getting the accurate Data needed for the Job?

Having a place to start is essential for measuring change and staying on track. You are the most knowledgeable about your company. You must be able to look at your product and set goals that can be measured accurately. Determine your goals and make sure they have a measurable output that you can track over time. Then, develop new processes or tweak existing ones to help you reach your end goal. If a process isn’t assisting you in reaching a goal, reconsider its purpose.

Additional Read: 7 Data Points that drive retention

Take stock of your available data sources and data points, and then ask yourself:

  • What metrics and key performance indicators am I currently monitoring?
  • Am I getting the data I need to track the KPIs I want?
  • Do I require increased customer visibility?
  • Are my baseline metrics pointing in the right direction?
  • Is it possible for me to demonstrate ROI in order to justify my staffing and budget?

All of these questions point to the importance of having not just data, but the right data.

It’s a problem if you’re evaluating your process based on positive leading indicators that have negative downstream consequences. If your new onboarding process reduces implementation time but overburdens CSMs with new customers, you’ve only shifted the problem. Track the entire process from beginning to end to ensure that no unintended consequences are overlooked.

Additionally, don’t assume that your team’s subpar performance is the only reason that you frequently miss your goals. Investigate the actions that led to that metric. Is there a step in the process that’s impeding their output? Goal-setting failure, particularly when it affects the entire team, may point to a need for process change.

In a similar vein, you must ensure that the measures you use to gauge performance encourage the desired behavior. A procedure that mandates a set customer engagement cadence for CSMs, such as QBRs, values the number of interactions over the quality of those interactions. Instead of focusing solely on the total number of meetings held, consider the engagement’s outcome (new learning, reoriented priorities, positive relationship).

You should be able to see through your metrics and processes whether the performance of your team has a good or negative impact on the results of your organization.

Although your individual goals will determine what you monitor, typical customer success measures include:

  • Client-to-CSM Ratio Renewal Rate Churn Rate
  • Time to Onboard
  • Time to Value
  • Days needed to reach the minimum adoption saturation of a new feature
  • Churn Rate


In a way that not every employee can, leaders have the special chance to influence culture and encourage change. It is the duty of customer success leaders, in particular, to represent the interests of customers across the entire organization.

Grow your multi million dollar portfolio with the best Customer Success Software!

By establishing protocols and procedures for the exchange of feedback between CS and other teams, such as product, support, and sales/marketing, customer success leaders can improve team alignment. They can do this by establishing connections with department heads. Providing information and reports that are simple for teams to share is another important responsibility of customer success leaders. You can try our Customer Success training courses to advance your knowledge. 

Jahan Patel is a content marketer at CustomerSuccessBox. He loves languages and loves writing about growth & businesses. On his off time, you can find him sitting in a cozy cafe reading a book.