14 questions and 9 skills to help you find and hire the perfect Customer Success Manager

Customer Success Manager

This interview flow for hiring a Customer Success Manager focuses on evaluating the job-related technical and soft skills of CSM candidates. It has three stages and includes evaluation guidelines so that anyone can use it.

Interviews

  1. Phone Screen
  2. Customer Success Technical Skills
  3. Customer Success Soft Skills

Evaluated skills

  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Motivation
  • Customer focus
  • Analytical thinking
  • Communication
  • Persistence
  • Planning and organizing
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
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  1. Phone Screen

    A simple interview template that is designed to be the first contact with a new candidate. It focuses on building rapport and sharing information with the candidate and includes two simple questions that are used to validate the candidate's fit with the role and the team they'd be working in.

    1. Question #1
      7 minutes
      If you could design the perfect job for yourself, what would it be like?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Motivation

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Candidate clearly knows what they enjoy and is able to communicate it clearly
      2. Candidate's dream job matches well with the job they are considered for
    2. Question #2
      7 minutes
      What kind of teams do you like working in? Can you tell me more about a team that you really enjoyed being a part of?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Motivation

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Can vividly describe an enjoyable team experience from their past
      2. The candidate's team preferences match very well with the team in the company
      3. It is very likely that the candidate will face similar positive team experiences on the job
  2. Customer Success Technical Skills

    This interview measures the technical skills that are most needed for a CSM. During this interview we get to know more how the person works with customers, how they deal with difficult situations and even failure.

    1. Question #1
      7 minutes
      Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through? What was your reasoning behind your decision?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Analytical thinking

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Shows clear steps and structure in the evaluation
      2. Bases decisions on data/method not an a hunch
    2. Question #2
      6 minutes
      Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Customer focus
      2. Planning and organizing

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Prioritizes their work
      2. Is able to delegate / ask for help when needed
    3. Question #3
      7 minutes
      Tell me about a time when you had to handle an unreasonable request from a customer or client. What did you do?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Customer focus
      2. Problem-solving

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Stays professional
      2. Does everything they can in order to achieve the best solution
      3. Follows up
    4. Question #4
      8 minutes
      Describe your methods of assessing client needs.
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Analytical thinking
      2. Customer Relationship Management

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Process can be copied and repeated as much as possible
      2. Based on data points from interactions with the customer
      3. Will prioritize discussions with the customers
    5. Question #5
      7 minutes
      How do you set customer expectations?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Customer Relationship Management

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Builds a relationship on trust
      2. Doesn't overpromise
      3. Follows up
    6. Question #6
      7 minutes
      If you were handed a customer that someone else has been taken care of in the past, how would you start to build your own relationship with the customer?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Customer focus
      2. Customer Relationship Management

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Proper handover from existing account-owner, takes time to get to know the customer
      2. Understands customer-specific needs
      3. Has a clear & structured plan
    7. Question #7
      5 minutes
      Tell us about a time when you weren't able to meet the customers needs / solve their issue?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Customer Relationship Management

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Explaining the "why not"
      2. Not blaming others, taking ownership
      3. Able to create an end result where customer was still happy even though their goals were not met
      4. Following up
  3. Customer Success Soft Skills

    This interview measures the less technical skills for a CSM as well as their motivation. Communication is highlighted in this interview because it's one of the most important skills when working closely with customers and other teams inside the company such as technical support or product development. This interview can be combined with a cultural fit interview as well.

    1. Question #1
      7 minutes
      How do you go about explaining a complex technical problem to a person who does not understand technical jargon? Can you give an example?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Communication

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Able to break the concept into smaller understandable parts
      2. Able to use a simple example
    2. Question #2
      5 minutes
      Tell me about a difficult or sensitive situation that you had to deal with which required careful and extensive communication.
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Communication

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Takes into account which parties are involved and how they need to be communicated with
      2. Makes sure that the communication has been successful
    3. Question #3
      5 minutes
      Tell us about a big personal or professional goal that you're working toward.
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Motivation

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Able to work towards a goal long-term
      2. Sets smaller goals in between to measure success
      3. Wants to improve and learn
    4. Question #4
      7 minutes
      Tell us about your biggest / one of the biggest professional failures. How did you cope with it and what did you learn from it?
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Motivation
      2. Persistence

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Able to take ownership
      2. Not afraid to make mistakes but sees them as a learning opportunity
    5. Question #5
      7 minutes
      Tell me about a time when you've gone out of your way to help a colleague or team mate.
      Anchor tag to question
      1. Teamwork

      Evaluation criteria

      1. Sees team satisfaction as important as customer satisfaction
      2. Aims to create a great working environment
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