Apps for Success - Crystal

Each month, John Bowman picks a new cool piece of technology that helps Customer Success Managers be more productive. We call it “Apps For Success” and in this review (#9) he takes a closer look at Crystal. 

This month we’re going to focus on building rapport and connections with your customers and, yes, there is an app for that! If you’re anything like me, you probably send a lot of emails to people you’ve never met or you may sometimes struggle with how to broach a sensitive subject in conversation.

Each person has their own state of mind and emotions in place which can really color the meaning of the text on the page or how you bring up a sensitive topic.

This week’s productivity app for Customer Success Managers, Crystal, helps by giving you a personality profile of the person you’re emailing or speaking with! You can use this information to better communicate with the recipient and ensure they are actually picking up what you are putting down.

How does Crystal create their personality profiles? Their site says, ”With a combination of traditional assessments, social media analysis, and text analysis, Crystal gives you accurate personality profiles for coworkers, customers, candidates, and yourself.”

With some digging I was able to figure out Crystal uses social media profiles to build personality archetypes. For example, you have to sign in with your Linkedin account for some features. There is also an option to fill out your own profile or other people’s profiles.

Consider Crystal a shortcut to getting to know someone or having an effective communication in an established relationship. It can also be very useful in working together as a team because you know how to best create team chemistry.

[Standard disclaimer here. I own no part of any of the productivity apps for Customer Success Managers I’ll be reviewing in this column. The opinions contained in this review are mine and mine alone. SuccessHACKER is kind enough to lend me their microphone. If you happen to disagree, leave a comment and let me know! I love a good spirited debate.]

[Added disclaimer this week - personality tests and profiles are not a hard science. There isn’t really a way to know if Crystal’s results accurately reflect reality. However, the results can be a way to create a shared framework for discussion based upon mutual agreement.]

On to the app.


What do you like best?

I flipping love how integrated Crystal is into my gmail account. It’s a minimal design that in unobtrusive. This is great because I don’t always need to use it! It’s there for me when I think it will be beneficial and it is small enough to ignore when I know I don’t need it.

I also love the idea of changing my wording or approach in the email or conversation based upon the personality type of the person I’m writing or talking to. I know, I know, you can’t fit people into neat little boxes - they are complex creatures with depths of motivation and emotion Crystal just can’t tell me. But I don’t care about all that when I’m writing a cold email - I care about using effective wording and positioning.

You might find Crystal doesn’t have a type for the person. If so, you can fill out a personality test for the person you want to talk with and Crystal will estimate the personality based off your answers.

The app even gives you the wording you should use in the conversation! I love it.

What do you dislike?

I really can’t think of any major qualms. To use Crystal, you have to be willing to use personality testing in your decision making. This can be controversial but not to me (or most companies!).

Secondly, the freemium tier usage is rather limited. You folks know me, I love free apps! But the free version requires you to invite the other person to Crystal and for them to fill out the personality assessment for you to get results.

What business problems does the product solve? What benefits have you realized?

Sparking a rapport with a customer or champion can sometimes be a challenging process and you can’t buy charisma (yet..). Crystal really helps to lower the bar on figuring out what approach or strategy will work with any new contact or challenging business situation.

Furthermore, I found it really useful for internal communications at my company! Every so often, it was good to remind myself our CEO “makes quick decisions.” In fact, it really came in useful during budget negotiations this year! Haha.


Crystal is an extremely useful app if you have to send a lot of cold emails or want to be a better communicator over in general. It’s unobtrusive design and consistent reminders if it can help you really help to make your communications more tactical and effective.

We are living in the time of big data and social media. It’s only natural for a company to take everything we share, aggregate it, and create profiles to help ease social situations.

Give it a shot for yourself! There is a free trial.

About the Author


John Bowman

John Bowman, Esq., is the Director of Customer Success at Jetpack Workflow. He is a rising star in the Customer Success community, leading the The Pittsburgh Customer Success Meetup and the Pittsburgh Gainsight Pulse chapter, as well as moderating the Customer Success Subreddit. John utilizes his 10+ years of professional experience to focus organizations on one goal: the customer's desired outcome.