3 Customer Success Strategies I Wish I Knew As A Newbie

3 Customer Success Strategies I Wish I Knew As A Newbie

We figured out a lot of helpful strategies in the trenches of customer success.

The most important — unbeknownst to us at the time — was to actually care.

Being kind and polite was another.

It’s shocking how many companies miss on this!

Empathy and genuinely wanting to help customers can be the difference in someone sticking with you after a few hiccups versus leaving for a well-funded, larger, more mature competitor.

Saying you’re sorry, being a friendly human, or responding quickly — even if it’s just to say you got their note and you’re looking into it — can set the stage for trust and long term partnership.

Our processes were strong.

We figured out strategies for successfully implementing customers, getting users on the phone, having productive check-in calls, training new team members, and more.

But there’s a lot we could have done better!

If I had maxed out my Customer Success skills in my 20s…HOW TERRIBLE. Mostly for customers everywhere 😂😂😂

But also for the evolution of tech companies and my own development and perspective on the world.

Here are the 3 concepts that I WISH I knew when I started in customer success and you can learn today!

1. Ask About The Pain, Not The Product

We used customer check-in calls to ask users for product feedback.

What features would you like to see?
What things in the app do you like/dislike?
Did you know about this great new feature we have!?!

A combination of working with product visionaries like Billy Hoffman and reading books like The Mom Test, made me realize the product is secondary.

The user and their pain is #1!

Asking more about the person’s objectives, goals, job focus, and daily pain points.

What are you trying to accomplish? Why?
What keeps you up at night?
What’s the hardest part of your day?

Imagine the feedback you gather asking those questions instead of “product feedback!”

Yes, talking to customers in any format is the most important thing.

But asking high level questions — without your product as the focus — can transform the depth and quality of insights. Your customer relationship moves from transactional to a true collaboration.

Ironically, when you don’t talk about the product, it makes your product stronger in the long run!

2. Align To The Customer’s North Star

And speaking of product…it’s hard not to be obsessed with your company’s software.

You’re using it all day, everyone around you is too, you’re deep diving into customer usage and support tickets, you see new features in your dreams!

You want customers to be happy and they do that by using your product to the max!

We said a lot of things like:

They should use A/B testing with their landing pages!
If they had more users, it would be stickier. Let’s offer a training.
Why don’t they set up more website checks? They have 2 more in their package.

Customers win when they use more of our product.


Except to the customer, your product is just a tool. A means to an end.

They care about something much bigger.


What do your users get measured on?
What is the business model of your customer’s company?
What is the #1 responsibility of your executive buyer at their company?
Why does your power user get promoted? How is their job performance measured?

THESE are the North Stars, a transformational concept I learned from the brilliant Francis Cordón.

This is what you should talk about on a call, showcase in a product dashboard, and align to internally!

Forget about product usage or CSAT. (I mean, it’s still helpful in certain contexts but not the end goal…) Figure out what your customer’s North Star is and track that to measure your success!

3. Reach Out With A Customer Win

Yes, you can get customers to talk to you.

You can look at their account and review call notes to prepare relevant talking points.

We offered account audits (100% manual process of assessing and compiling…) to highlight where a customer could find more value in the tool.

All of this is great.

But IMAGINE if I had reached out proactively with a Customer Win (another concept from Francis Cordon!).

The email would go something like this:

Hey Customer Friend,
Look at this amazing quantitative result that I found in your account that aligns with your North Star. I put it in an easy-to-digest, one-page visual format. Now you can forward this to your boss who can forward to their boss. You look incredible and might even get promoted because of us!

Your Fave Customer Success Person Ever,

I predict a 100% response rate with 100% customer retention 😁

Okay, obviously, you wouldn’t be able to find that style of win for every single user, but how impactful is it to come at Customer Success from that perspective??

Outta here product feedback. Let me help you find wins to share.

What is a Customer Success strategy you wish you knew when you started? Any experience with these tactics or others? Who is someone you learned from??