What Does a Customer Success Manager Do? Your Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Customer success managers support customers from prospects to active users, focusing on generating customer loyalty. Learn more about this key business career.

[Featured image] A customer success manager meets with a client in an office setting.

As a customer success manager, also called a client success manager, customer service manager, or CSM, you’re tasked with building customer loyalty and fostering long-term customer relationships by ensuring customers have a positive experience. You’ll address customer concerns and provide customer support. 

While working in this managerial position, you may be responsible for ensuring a positive relationship with customers, managing customer satisfaction, and using customer service data to set and enforce customer service goals for the company. Important tasks might include:

  • Managing interactions between customers and the company

  • Acting as a sales guide for customer-facing employees

  • Guiding new and existing customers through the sales funnel

  • Fostering customer retention by ensuring a smooth customer journey

  • Training employees on how to provide customer assistance

  • Managing a sales or customer support team

  • Collecting and analysing data to improve customer service health

Learn more about the everyday tasks of a CSM from industry leaders at Salesforce:

Customer success manager skills 

The most effective managers can employ certain technical and people skills every day. These critical skills can be helpful to anyone working in this role: 

Technical skills

  • Project management 

  • Onboarding 

  • Data analysis 

  • Customer service 

  • Product or service support 

  • Budget management 

  • Record keeping 

  • Customer service goal creation 

  • Financial goal setting 

Workplace skills 

  • Leadership 

  • Patience  

  • Teamwork 

  • Communication 

  • Problem-solving 

  • Sound judgement 

  • Confidence 

  • Adaptability 

  • Positivity 

Customer success manager salary

A customer success manager's salary varies by location, company, and years of experience. The average salary for a customer success manager in India is ₹5,50,000 per year as of May 2024, according to Talent [1]. 

Because many customer success managers work on commission in addition to a base salary, the types of goods or services sold can significantly affect their income.  

How to become a customer success manager

You don’t necessarily need a degree to become a customer success manager, so experience in leadership and management can give you a competitive edge. Because traditional career paths for customer success managers involve managing people, moving into a leadership position will provide you with that experience. 

Focus on what type of customer success manager job you want. Narrow the industry and look for industry-specific requirements beyond customer service and management skills. Some companies prefer candidates who are proficient in their industry. For example, a tech company may seek out an individual with experience in product management or product training for a similar tech company. 

Depending on the company, you may follow a sales pathway, while in other companies, you may follow a marketing pathway. 

Becoming a customer success manager may involve these steps: 

  1. Hold an entry-level position as a customer service representative. 

  2. Transition into a team leadership role overseeing a small group of employees. 

  3. Move into a managerial role.

  4. Work towards a specialisation, such as product development or maximising profit growth rate.  

  5. Seek out a customer success manager position within your company or apply to similar companies if yours has yet to have openings. 

Customer success manager career path 

This position straddles several departments, which allows for a good amount of mobility. It’s an evolving and relatively new position. As a customer success manager, you may move into other management roles or change departments.

Most customer success managers follow the sales or marketing pathway within a company. This means that a customer success manager may step into the manager role of other customer success managers, account executive/account managers, product sales/marketing managers, product managers, or enterprise customer success managers. 

You may find yourself on the pathway to positions like vice president of sales or chief customer officer (CCO) if you stay with a company for a while and gain success and experience in your roles. 

Get started with Coursera.

Build your customer service and leadership skills now to take the next step toward a career as a customer success manager. Gain job-ready skills in sales operations with the Salesforce Sales Operations Professional Certificate, or develop your management skills with the Leading People and Teams Specialisation from the University of Michigan.

Article sources

  1. Talent.com. "How much does a customer service manager make in India?, https://in.talent.com/salary?job=customer+service+manager." Accessed January 08, 2024.

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