Does your SaaS company need to hire a talented customer success manager to help it provide excellent customer service, upsell, and cross-sell its services and products?
You will need a thorough approach to evaluate your candidates’ customer success manager skills and ensure they fit your organization.
Two of the best methods to assess candidates’ knowledge and experience are skills testing and interviews – and to make the most of the interviewing process, you’ll need to prepare a list of the right customer success manager interview questions.
In this article, you’ll find a list of 30 interview questions you can use to find your next customer success manager.
You’ll also find some tips on how to effectively use skills assessments in combination with interviews to make the right hiring decision.
Table of contents
- 6 general customer success manager interview questions and answers
- 17 problem-solving customer success manager interview questions and answers
- 7 customer success manager interview questions and answers about terms and definitions
- When should you use these customer success manager interview questions?
- Which type of interview is best when asking customer success manager interview questions?
- Why use skills assessments as part of your hiring process?
- ✅ Hire a talented customer success manager with the right skills tests and interview questions
6 general customer success manager interview questions and answers
In this section, you’ll find six general customer success manager interview questions and answers to assess your candidates’ knowledge.
1. Can you explain what our main product or service does?
Candidates should have researched the products or services your company offers. Do they understand your main product’s features or unique selling points? Look for responses that show that your candidates are enthusiastic about it and have done their homework.
2. How would you improve our product or service?
Have your candidates tried out your product? Can they use critical thinking skills to explain some areas of potential improvement?
Candidates should recognize the potential limitations of your product or service from a customer’s perspective and be confident in pitching their suggestions.
3. Which skills are required to be an excellent customer success manager?
Some of the critical skills required to be an excellent customer success manager include the following:
4. In what ways would our organization benefit from hiring a customer success manager?
Your candidates should understand how a skilled customer success manager can make a difference to your customers’ experience.
Look for responses that demonstrate your candidates have researched your organization. Does their idea of what the customer success manager role entails align with yours?
5. How do you stay up to date with new industry trends?
Are your candidates proactive in seeking information about new trends and developments in your industry?
Listen for responses that outline at least a few approaches for keeping up to date with the latest trends – this is vital for the constantly evolving SaaS industry.
6. Why do you think customer success is essential?
Responses to this question may vary. Strong candidates may mention that customer success is vital for reducing churn and increasing retention rates. They may also explain that it can drive revenue or increase the average customer value.
17 problem-solving customer success manager interview questions and answers
Here are 17 interview questions to help you determine whether your candidates have the right problem-solving skills for your organization.
1. Have you ever had to explain a major product update to a customer? How did you do this?
Listen for responses that suggest your candidate can adapt to product updates and changing requirements.
If your SaaS product undergoes a major update, how would your candidates put themselves in the customer’s shoes and help them understand what’s new?
Do they know how to communicate effectively the reasons behind the product change while making sure they’re able to retain customers?
2. Which approaches do you use to prioritize tasks when working on several customer projects?
Candidates should have a system for efficient multitasking.
They may mention that they have strong task delegation skills and that they regularly monitor progress on the tasks they have delegated to ensure the successful project completion. They might also explain how they evaluate tasks in terms of urgency and importance to prioritize them effectively.
3. What was your most challenging experience with a customer?
Are your candidates able to learn from challenging customer experiences?
Listen for responses that outline proactive approaches to finding a solution. Candidates should use experiences like these to stay motivated and strive toward customer excellence.
4. How do you develop long-term customer relationships?
Can your applicants explain why long-term customer relationships are essential?
Do they understand why building familiarity and trust is vital? Can they explain how regular check-ins are important for developing long-term customer relationships?
5. How would you turn around a negative customer experience and transform it into a positive one?
Empathy, tact, and communication are important skills for turning a negative customer experience around.
Look for candidates who mention these skills and can explain how they have diffused a difficult situation in the past and found a way to make the customer happy.
6. Have you ever had a problematic relationship with a co-worker? How did you handle it?
It’s essential to understand whether your candidates can resolve challenging relationships with customers and co-workers, which is why this question is important.
Ask candidates this question to determine whether they have the right conflict resolution skills for actively improving difficult workplace relationships.
7. Have you ever led a team? Which leadership strategies did you use?
Since a customer success manager should have strong leadership and management skills, look for candidates who can demonstrate these skills and explain how they lead others.
Can your candidates show that they’re capable of learning from their mistakes when leading a team?
8. Describe a past role where you worked in collaboration with different departments or teams. How did you handle the challenge?
Customer success managers often work with several departments or teams, such as marketing and support.
Do your candidates have the right communication skills for this? Can they collaborate efficiently with different business units?
9. Explain how you would respond if you don’t know the answer of a customer’s question.
Your candidates should acknowledge that being transparent is important when they don’t know the answer to a customer’s question.
Ask candidates this question to learn whether they would work with other team members to get the information they need to deliver an excellent customer experience.
For instance, they may respond to the customer by saying, “That’s an excellent question. I want to make sure I give you the right information, so I’ll check that for you right now,” before asking a co-worker or a manager.
10. How do you help teams meet sales goals? Which strategies do you use?
Candidates should seek to meet sales quotas or even surpass them. They should explain they would seek upselling and cross-selling opportunities and work closely with the sales team.
11. How would you prevent revenue churn?
Do your candidates have any innovative methods to reduce revenue churn? Do they understand that analyzing churn and asking for regular feedback is important? Can they give examples of specific incentives they would use to minimize revenue churn?
12. Which approaches would you use to help our business grow?
Customer success managers should recognize that customer retention is important for business growth. Do your candidates have the right negotiation skills to retain customers, and can they explain why cross-selling and upselling are important for the success of your business?
13. How would you respond if a client asks for a solution that goes against company policy?
Candidates should acknowledge that giving clients what they ask for is not always possible.
Your applicants should know how to appease clients, use empathy to enhance the customer experience, and tactfully handle such requests by offering alternatives.
14. How would you ensure that upsells are a part of your role?
Looking for growth opportunities is essential for the role of a customer success manager.
Ask candidates this question to determine how they would look for opportunities to maintain long-term relationships and upsell relevant products. Look for candidates who can provide examples of how they have used different upselling tactics in their careers.
15. Which cost-effective approaches to customer success would you use if you had a limited budget?
Do your candidates have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills to work around limited budgets and roll out new customer success initiatives despite budget constraints?
Creating a plan is a critical approach to stretching a limited customer success budget. Candidates may outline methods to increase customer retention and revenue, and look for new, cost-efficient strategies to customer success.
16. Has there ever been a time when your company’s product created a problem for customers? How did you resolve it?
Each candidate may mention a different problem when responding to this question. Look for transparent candidates who know how to take customers’ feedback to improve the product and the customer experience.
17. How would you implement a successful recurring revenue model?
Are your candidates aware that maintaining long-term customer satisfaction can help the business create a successful recurring revenue model?
Can they explain that avoiding churn is important? Do they have a few examples of how they would maintain long-term client relationships to achieve this?
7 customer success manager interview questions and answers about terms and definitions
This section features seven customer success manager interview questions related to specific terms and definitions. Ask your candidates these questions to evaluate their knowledge.
1. Explain what revenue churn is.
Revenue churn refers to a company's lost revenue due to cancellations or downgrades of a service or subscription.
2. Explain what upselling is.
Upselling means encouraging a client to upgrade their subscription or purchase a high-end product or service to be able to achieve their goals faster or more efficiently.
3. What does cross-selling mean?
Cross-selling means encouraging a client to purchase a complementary product or service related to their current plan or their last purchase.
4. Explain what Customer Lifetime Value means.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a metric that shows the revenue a customer will generate throughout their relationship with your business until the relationship ends.
5. What is a high-touch engagement model?
The high-touch engagement model is a model where customer success managers assist customers who have complex requirements and need one-on-one support.
6. What is a low-touch engagement model?
The low-touch engagement model is a model where less human interaction occurs between a vendor and a customer. Instead, vendors may use digital engagement strategies to interact with customers who have relatively simple requirements.
7. What is a recurring revenue model?
The recurring revenue model is a model where vendors charge customers a regular fee. Fees can be monthly or yearly, depending on the subscription plan.
When should you use these customer success manager interview questions?
Use these customer success manager interview questions during the interview stage, at the bottom of your hiring funnel.
We strongly advise you to use skills assessments before interviews, in order to evaluate candidates’ knowledge and suitability for the role before you actually spend time interviewing them.
With this approach, you’ll be able to filter unqualified candidates early on and only spend time and resources interviewing the ones who meet your requirements.
This will help you reduce unconscious bias, mitigate the chances of making a bad hire, reduce your time-to-hire, and help you hire exceptional talent.
Which type of interview is best when asking customer success manager interview questions?
Structured interviews make it simpler to assess candidates’ responses, especially when using interview scorecards. Avoid unstructured interviews, because they can lead to a bad candidate experience and damage your employer brand.
Unstructured interviews are also more time-consuming when compared to structured interviews. They are not as legally defensible because of the lack of structure and the fact that the interview questions may not all be related to the role you’re looking to fill.
Recommended reading - Unstructured vs. structured interviews: Which to use and why?
Why use skills assessments as part of your hiring process?
When hiring a customer success manager, you may want to assess several skills.
It enables you to evaluate skills objectively, filter unsuitable candidates easily, and concentrate only on those who meet your requirements.
Hire a talented customer success manager with the right skills tests and interview questions
You can now hire a professional customer success manager quickly and efficiently using skills assessments and the right interview questions from the list above.
Always use skills assessments early on in the hiring process – this enables you to find the best customer success manager faster without compromising on the quality of hire.
To build your skills assessment, take a look at our test library.
Once you have the results from the assessment, invite the most promising applicants to an interview to gain an in-depth understanding of their skills. With the help of skills tests and a comprehensive list of interview questions, hiring a talented professional with the right customer success manager skills is easy.
With TestGorilla, you’ll find the recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective.
Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.