5 Questions to Ask When Interviewing for a Customer Success Role

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Have you got an interview coming up for a customer success role with a new company? Congratulations!

You already know you’ll have to answer some tough questions during the interview, but now you need to think about the questions you’ll ask the interviewer.

Asking the right kind of questions shows the interviewer you are prepared for the interview and genuinely interested in the role.

Intelligent questions suggest you’ve done your research on the company and the products they sell. You’re also trying to find out if this role and company is a good fit for you, so don’t waste the opportunity to learn more in the interview.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Five questions you can ask when interviewing for a role as a customer success manager

  • Why each of these five questions are good to ask and what they show the interviewer

  • The different answers you might get from the interviewer and what they mean

1. How Do You Ensure Alignment Between CS and Other Critical Functions of the Company?

This is one of the best questions you can ask in the first sit-down interview because it shows you understand the importance of collaborating with the rest of the business. The interviewer will sense your willingness to be a team player who is eager to collaborate with co-workers and ready to create the best possible customer journey.

The answer you get from the interviewer will paint a picture of the team atmosphere and culture in the office. If there is already consistent communication between teams, you know the company values working together for the customer.

On the flip side, if the company isn’t working together yet, you learn where some of the gaps are and how you can encourage change if you joined the team.

2. What Do Your Customers Love About Your Product or Service? What Do They Hate?

Since you’ll be dealing with customers directly, it’s advantageous to gain perspective on why they’ve chosen to do business with this company. The answer to this question should give you a quick sense of how happy the customer base is and why.

Being able to talk about the company’s products and services by name shows the interviewer how prepared you are. The extra time you spend researching will set you apart from many of the other candidates and bring you one step closer to your new customer success role.  It will also help you connect the dots between what the product does and the value their customers receive from it.

3. What is the Hardest Part of Being a Customer Success Manager Here? Why is That the Case?

Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions in your interview, as they can have the highest reward. A tricky question like this shows the interviewer that not only have you thought out your questions, but you’re not going to shy away from difficult conversations—a necessary skill for customer success managers.

Hopefully, the interviewer will be honest with you and tell you about the biggest challenges the current customer success managers are experiencing. Challenges could range from specific product issues to a lack of communication between the customer success managers and other internal teams.

When listening to answers, be wary of an interviewer who says there are no major challenges, or that they don’t know what the challenges are. You want to work for a company that is dialed-in to their frontline team and supporting them through the tough stuff.

4. What Do You Expect Me To Accomplish in the First 90 Days? What About the First Six Months? The First Year?

Do you ever notice that when companies are hiring, the posted job description is very formal? This question will cut through that formality and give you a clear idea of what is expected of a new customer success manager. The answer you receive should outline the most important goals so you can be sure you’re up to the challenge and that the expectations of the company are fair.

Asking a question about accomplishments and expectations lets the interviewer know you are goal-oriented and already thinking about how to make an impact in this role. If you’re quick on your feet, you can respond to their expectations by elaborating on how you would work to achieve those accomplishments. Make sure you’re prepared for potential follow-ups, like “What would you want to accomplish?”

5. What Opportunities Will I Have to Grow My Skill Set?

A stagnant employee is not a happy employee, so a good hiring manager will be glad to hear you’re looking to further your skills. There are always opportunities to learn on the job as you go through your daily work, but it’s good to have formal ways of growing as well.

Look for a company that provides a few different ways of learning. Perhaps the company sets up regular lunch-and-learns, encourages you to attend online webinars by industry experts, or will send you through a customer success training program.  

Prepare for the Interview Ahead of Time

Many people are so focused on the questions the interviewer will ask that they forget to think about what questions they want to ask. Use these tips to prepare for your interview as a customer success manager ahead of time:

  • DO remember that an interview is a two-way street. The hiring manager wants to know if you’re a good fit for the company, but you also want to see if the company is a good fit for you.

  • DON’T forget to do your research on the company. Look at their Glassdoor reviews, public records, if available, news reports, PR releases, most popular products or services, etc. to get a feel for the product, company, and culture.

  • DO ask questions! Be proactive about interrogating your interviewer, and look for opportunities to demonstrate your interest and your preparation. Try to be unique!

  • DON’T forget to think about the other side of the table! Prepare yourself for some of the questions the interviewer will be asking you.

Robyn Petrik

SuccessCOACHING contributor Robyn Petrik is a freelance copywriter originally from Vancouver, Canada, who specializes in blogging, website copy, and social media content. While she happily spends most of her time writing, you’ll also find her reading, hiking, and eating too much peanut butter.