Customer Success Manager Interview Questions (+ Answers)

May 15, 2023

8 min read

Customer success manager

If you’re the type of person who loves supporting customers, a customer success manager (CSM) might be the job for you. 

Learn what a customer success manager is, including what they do, the skills they need, their day-to-day responsibilities, and how to become one in this informative guide. 

What Is a Customer Success Manager (CSM)?

A customer success manager (CSM) — also known as a “client success manager” — supports, builds, and maintains customer relationships and loyalty. This managerial role pays well and generally, you don’t need a college degree to become one. 

Customer success managers are in charge of things like: 

  • Building and maintaining a client base
  • Advocating for customers 
  • Improving client relations
  • Serve as a liaison between the sales and marketing teams and the customer support team
  • Ensuring that the sales process runs smoothly
  • Cultivating a client-based work environment
  • Communicating with customers in a meaningful, engaging way

The pay for this position varies, but the job can commonly pay around $70,000 to $90,000 per year. There’s also additional pay — such as commissions, bonuses, and stock — that customer success managers can receive, too. 

How to Prepare for a Customer Success Manager Interview

If you have a customer success manager interview coming up soon, you might be feeling a little anxious. The best way to combat interview anxiety is to prepare. Here are our top six tips for how to prepare for a customer success manager interview. 

1. Get to know the brand (and its products). 

Because customer success managers are often liaisons between the sales and customer support team, it’s critical to understand both the company and its product (or services) in and out. Even before you get the job, you need to know as much as you can about the brand’s products or services offered.

For example, if you want to apply as a customer success manager at Coca-Cola, it’s a good idea to read up on the company’s history, see what products they’re currently selling, do a bit of research on Coca-Cola’s key demographic, and look for any other information that might help you get to know the company better. You might even prepare an elevator pitch to be extra prepared. 

2. Once the interview is scheduled, get to know your interviewers.

Many people skip or forego this step, but researching a bit about who’ll be conducting your interview can help in many ways. Here’s how to do it. 

Start by finding out who you’ll be speaking with. If you aren’t sure, you can reach out to the recruiter or the person who scheduled your interview to get their names and positions. Once you have their names, a quick Google search should bring up their social media accounts (if applicable) and any blogs or articles they might be quoted in.

Checking out their LinkedIn account can be a great way to get to know them professionally, as you can usually see their work history, educational background, and even LinkedIn posts that they’ve shared. This can tell you a lot about your interviewer. 

3. Practice interviewing.

Arguably the most important way to prepare for a customer success manager interview is to practice answering interview questions. One of the best ways to do this is through Yoodli, an AI interview coach app that evaluates the way you answer interview questions and provides actionable feedback for how to improve. 

You can successfully prepare for a customer success manager position through Yoodli.

You can practice interview questions through Yoodli’s interview simulator, for example. It’ll give you feedback on things like your speaking pace, your body language, your word choice, and even the content of your answer, as well as how to improve. That way, you can skip the guesswork wondering about what you need to work on and get directly to the improvement stage.

Plus, during your actual customer success manager interview, Yoodli can give you live pointers and gentle nudges to make sure you hit your key talking points, stay on track, and knock the interview out of the park. These nudges and reminders are only visible to you. In other words, the interviewer won’t know. You can learn more about using Yoodli to interview prep below:

Yoodli is the perfect way to prepare for a customer success manager interview.

The best part? Unlike most other speech coach apps, Yoodli is totally free of charge. 

4. Dress for the part. 

Even if your interview is virtual and conducted over a platform such as Zoom, you should be dressed professionally, as if you’re meeting with the interviewers in person. Business casual and business professional are usually your best bet. When in doubt, formal is best. 

For example, you could wear things like: 

  • A blouse and a pencil skirt
  • A suit, tie, and khakis
  • A blazer and slacks
  • A button-down, collared shirt and trousers
  • A jacket
  • Close-toed shoes

If you have no idea what to wear, you can reach out to the recruiter to ask them about the dress code and expectations. 

5. Have a few questions ready to go.

Although you’re the one faced with answering the interviewers’ questions, it’s always a good idea to bring a few questions of your own. Once the interviewers are done asking about yourself, you can use the remaining time to ask your own. 

For example, some good questions to ask interviewers include questions like: 

  • What would an average day look like in this position?
  • What company initiatives exist to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion? 
  • Can you describe the work environment?
  • What’s the most important thing someone in this position should plan to accomplish within the first month?
  • Where do you see the company in 5 years?
  • Can you tell me a little bit more about the team I’d be working with?
  • What do you like most about working at this company?

6. Thank your interviewers. 

Once the interview is complete, be sure to take the time to send the interviewers a follow-up thank you note. This could be in the form of an email, a brief phone call, or a hand-written note. 

Thanking your interviewers shows that you’re not only engaged and polite, but also grateful for the time they took out of their day to meet you. Sending thank-yous can also help the interviewers remember you better. When there’s a large applicant pool, an interviewer remembering your kind note could make a difference.

Check out these customer success manager interview questions to best prepare.

Customer Success Manager Interview Questions

Practicing answering interview questions in the mirror is great, but practicing with an AI interview coach like Yoodli is better. To help get you started, here are a few of the most common customer success manager interview questions you might be faced with (and how to answer them).

Tell me about a time where you dealt with an upset customer. 

When answering this question, you never want to go on a tirade about how annoying, irritating, or disruptive a customer was. The point of this question is so the interviewer can gauge how you might react in a high-stress client situation. 

To answer it, use the STAR method: situation, task, action, and result. So in this case, you start by describing the situation (i.e., a customer came into the store angry that there was an existing scratch on the new iPad he just bought).

Next, describe the task, or what your job during this incident was. For example, maybe you were a cashier or a sales floor associate.  

Then, get into the meat of the question: what action you took. What steps did you take to calm the customer down? How did you handle it? 

Finally, you end with the result. What happened? What did the customer do after you took action? Here, you would ideally describe how you were able to fix the customer’s problem, improve their mood, and ensure they felt seen and heard. Just remember to never, ever lie or make up a story.

How would you describe our service/product to a first-time client? 

This question can help the interviewer know how much you prepared for your interview and how much you know about the company’s service or product. It also gives them a good idea of your customer communication skills. 

When you answer this one, focus on a bird’s-eye view of the service or product as opposed to getting too granular. A first-time client needs to know and understand the overview instead of getting overwhelmed and lost in the grainy details. If you’re unsure how to answer this question, do some research on the company and its product or service. You can usually find information about the brand and service or product on the “about” page on the company website.

If you could change one thing about our service/product, what would it be and why?

Interviewers might ask this question to not only test your knowledge about the company and the services or products it offers, but also to see if you’re familiar with their customer base and what they’re looking for.

When you answer this question, be very careful not to be disrespectful. This isn’t the time or place to disparage every little thing the company does wrong. Instead, focus on one small (and realistic) thing you could change. 

You might not have official demographic information on their customer base, but you can find info to answer this question by looking at the company’s services or product reviews. For example, you might read that a streaming service doesn’t include closed captioning. In that case, you could suggest the inclusion of captions as a good change. 

More customer success manager interview questions to prepare for

Here are some more common customer success manager interview questions to make sure you’re prepared for: 

  • How do you go about telling a client bad news?
  • In your opinion, what’s the key to successful, long-term relationships with customers?
  • Are you a “people person”?
  • Have you ever had a conflict with a coworker? How did you handle it?
  • What’s the most important thing to remember when leading a team?
  • Let’s say you unintentionally gave a client the wrong information — what do you do next?
  • What are ways you stay in the know about current industry trends and news?
  • Tell me about a time where you had to pivot from how you usually solve a customer conflict to fix a problem. 
  • What do you do when a customer asks you a question but you don’t have an immediate answer for them?

Why Be a Customer Success Manager (CSM)?

A customer success manager position can be very fulfilling and satisfactory. You should consider becoming a customer success manager if you have an interest in sales, connecting with people, and attracting clients. 

Lots of customer success manager jobs are remote (if you prefer working from home) and the pay can be great. At the end of the day, if you have interest in becoming a customer success manager, there’s no harm in going for it!

The Bottom Line

If your goal is to become a customer success manager, it’s well within your grasp. Just make sure you actively prepare for your interview by practicing customer success manager interview questions with Yoodli and by building your confidence.  

The more confident you are, the less anxiety you’ll feel on the day of.

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