5 Common Mistakes Great Customer Success Managers Never Make (And How You Can Avoid Them Too)

(4-min read)

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#18 The CS Café – 5 Common Mistakes Great Customer Success Managers Never Make

Making mistakes is the perfect opportunity for you to learn and grow, but only if you don’t repeat them twice.

And as Albert Einstein once said:

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.


Trying new ways of doing things is critical to any progress.

And when it comes to Customer Success, here are 5 common mistakes you should avoid to get ahead and drive impactful results for your customers over time.

1) Ignoring gut feelings

We all have our own experiences and skills which we rely on to evaluate a given situation.

However, it’s also key to look at the actual data to remain objective based on facts and figures.

But using the data exclusively without taking into account your deepest feelings can be frustrating.

And taking action based on your instincts alone can be misleading.

This is why the best decisions are made when you combine both approaches to drive success for you, your customers, and the company.

So, whenever you have a strong gut feeling about something, it’s important for you to take it into consideration rather than ignore and regret it afterward!

2) Not taking ownership

In success as in failure, owning your actions is liberating.

It’s all about holding yourself accountable instead of looking for things outside of your control.

Therefore, blaming others or any external circumstances for your own mistakes is worthless and can only damage your reputation.

In fact, accepting your errors and acknowledging them publicly is an underrated growth hack that will also help you build and demonstrate your leadership skills.

But ownership is not just about owning your mistakes as you would naturally do for your successes:

You have to own your strengths as well as your weaknesses and everything in between.

So, simply said, you have to own them all and no one will ever be able to own you!

3) Promising things you cannot deliver

Trust is built in years, and gone in seconds.

It’s easy to make your customers happy by promising all the marvels in the world. But it’s also the fastest way to break the trust you’ve been building over the months and years.

This is why you should always promise less and deliver more than expected.

It will also give you the opportunity to go that little extra mile which makes the difference.

In the end, it’s critical for you to ensure what you say is aligned with your actions at all times.

Your customers will surely appreciate it!

4) Not challenging the status quo

In its most simple definition, the status quo is the current state of how things work today. And any change you want to make will often create resentment from people who are resistant to new ideas.

It’s also common to see them prefer staying in their comfort zone and not challenging their current way of doing things.

As an example, one of the worst phrases you can hear them saying is:

“We’ve always done it this way”, something I’ve covered in a previous edition about the 9 things a CSM should never say at work.

This is why challenging the status quo requires you to lead and encourage others to give their best, improve and move forward.

In practice, here are a few questions you should always keep asking:

  • What’s not working?
  • How can we improve?
  • What could we do better?
  • What can we learn from that?
  • What’s the risk of not taking an action now?

And also challenging yourself:

  • can I see a need for a better solution?
  • any process I can help improve and run better?

Overall, challenging the status quo is critical to all innovations.

So, get involved, always bring in solutions, and lead the field!

5) Taking shortcuts

The truth is there is no shortcut to success!

And yet some people still keep asking for heat without putting the wood first.

Whatever your objective can be, you cannot just skip the line and expect long-term rewards.

You need to do the reps first so they compound over time for greater outcomes.

But of course, it takes time, effort, consistency, and perseverance.

This is why most people quit and get back to their comfort zones where they feel safe and competent.

But in Customer Success like in any other area in life, you need to keep learning consistently every single day.

The best CSMs I know are always ahead of what’s going on in the industry. Meanwhile, others are just lagging behind, taking things for granted.

And as per the principle of forming new tiny habits, if you stick to the process of getting better by 1% every week, you’ll end up 37 times better after a year!

So don’t make the mistake of taking shortcuts.

This might make you feel good for a moment, but it will just ruin your chances of achieving anything great in the long run.

Just set your goals, make plans, and work on them relentlessly.

And as I always say, remember that difficult roads often lead to the most beautiful destinations!

So, keep going on and make all the required efforts.

But most importantly, enjoy the journey!

And that’s it!

These are 5 common mistakes great CSMs never make:

  1. Ignoring gut feelings
  2. Not taking ownership
  3. Promising things you cannot deliver
  4. Not challenging the status quo
  5. Taking shortcuts 

But there are more which I’ll be covering in the upcoming editions.

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Hakan Ozturk

Hakan Ozturk
Founder, theCScafe.com, #1 Weekly Customer Success Newsletter

Hakan Ozturk is a Paris-based Customer Success leader with over 15 years of experience in the computer software industry. Passionate about driving growth and delivering value to strategic customers, Hakan has established himself as a trusted industry expert. As the Founder of The Customer Success Café Newsletter and TopCSjobs.com, Hakan provides valuable industry insights and daily-updated job opportunities worldwide in the field of Customer Success. Connect with Hakan to boost your career in CS and your company’s potential for massive growth.

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