9 Red Flags to watch out as a Job Seeker in Customer Success

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CSMs, be careful what you sign up for. Not every shiny role plays out as advertised.

Ok, I get it, not everybody can be picky during these days. If you are under pressure because you have to pay the bills then skip this post.

But if you have the luxury of a smooth transition you should better carefully evaluate whether the grass is greener at your potential future employer.

Even when you are up for a hike in your salary it might not be worth the trouble.

Here are 9 Red Flags to watch out for if you want to avoid

  • the reactive work hamster wheel

  • burning out

  • getting blamed for churn or

  • being perceived as redundant at any given moment

1. “Everybody needs our product”

Let’s start with the worst scenario of all. Your future potential employer believes that everybody needs their product.

Why is that a bad thing? Because they will close every deal possible even when customers are an absolute misfit.

This company puts itself first and is prioritizing short-term revenue over long-term success.

In this kind of company, there’s the belief that there are no bad-fit customers and churn happens because of incompetence in the CS team.

In other words: The CS team is blamed for churn. In such a kind of environment, you can’t win, only lose.

Churn rates are often north of 25% and you will spend your days putting out fire after fire.

Until the inevitable happens: You are burning out in the process.

Look for a company with mature leadership that has a thorough understanding of how the SaaS business model works.

2. No Customer Conversations 

The company is disconnected from its customers. The leadership is sitting in an ivory tower and does not listen to the market's needs.

All decisions are made in a vacuum. The CS team is not talking to customers either because it does not scale.

Customer discoveries, if there are any at all, deliver no meaningful insights.

They do not accurately uncover customer needs. Customer Success Plans are built on guessing and assuming.

Training and education services are delivered similarly.

If there are any interactions with the customer they are kept short and superficial. Preferably one-sided through surveys and “no-replay” E-mails.

As a CSM you are poking around in the dark.

With a 100% chance that you will spend most of your time firefighting, band-aiding, and quick-fixing to keep the company from imploding.

3. Product Education only

Helping customers learn how to use the features and functions you offer is important.

But the technology is not your customers’ bottleneck. Their results are limited by their skills and knowledge.

As the old saying goes - sh** in, sh** out. You need to provide customers with the training and education to enhance their abilities.

It does not matter if they want to build a better product, identify their ICP, or write engaging social media posts.

Sure, if customers don’t have the skills and knowledge to successfully use your product they can’t blame you.

But they also have no point in continuing to use your product.

A high rate of avoidable churn is the consequence unless the company only acquires high-performers who do not require education and training beyond the product.

I haven’t seen a single SaaS company doing that though.

4. Internal Process View 

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