Retaining Your Stellar Customer Success Team

By Dawn Harger

So, you’ve finally got your star Customer Success team in place…yay!  Now you’ve got to focus on retention.  In this day and age, especially in the technology sector, a person moving from job to job isn’t uncommon.  They leave for better challenges, better opportunities, and sometimes better pay.  So, what can you do to lower the chances of people leaving your team?  Here are a few ideas:

Know your team as individuals – As managers we all have our own style, and that also applies to the individuals who work for you.  They are motivated in unique ways, respond to different cues, and react to situations differently.  To get the best out of your employees, go the extra mile and learn what makes each person tick and what causes them to shut down.  The better you know each person on your team, the better equipped you will be to communicate to them and get the most out of their performance.

Schedule one-on-one meetings – Your time is limited:  You can barely get everything done and spend a lot of your time in meetings.  However, one of the most important things you can do is have a meeting with each of your employees to review what they are doing and give them the opportunity to talk to you.  For you, it ensures that they are doing their job and keeping on top of things.  For your employee, it provides the opportunity to talk to you one-on-one and voice any positive or negative things that might be on their mind.  Yes, it takes time, but it’s definitely worth it.

Provide training and development opportunities – People want to learn and grow.  The first step is having a good training program for new employees. Don’t just throw them into the job and expect them to figure it out.  The more thought you put into new employee training, the more confident your new CSM will feel.  After that, continue to provide opportunities for growth.  Ask your team about their career goals.  Are there projects they can take on?  Are there classes or training they can take?  This will go a long way toward making your team feel appreciated, and as long as they are growing there is better chance they will stick around.

Encourage ideas – Your CSMs are in the mix with your customers every day, and know their successes and frustrations.  They are one of the best sources for ideas on improving the customer experience, the product, and your overall processes.  Don’t forget to ask them for their input!  Encourage it!  Reward it!  Some people are scared to share their ideas.  They think they will sound stupid.  I’ve found that some of the most “stupid” ideas have generated the best programs.  So, encourage, listen and act on those ideas.   Once your team sees you doing this, more and more ideas will flow in.

Join customer success groups – The world of customer success is still relatively new for all of us.  Every day we are learning new things and finding more efficient ways to do something.  A great way to continue to learn and brainstorm is to join groups geared towards Customer Success.  You can find an array of these groups on LinkedIn ( and Meetup (   Whether through online discussions or face-to-face meetings, you can learn a ton and find out how others are doing it (or maybe even why they’re not doing it.)  Sign up!

At the end of the day, you’re just not going to be able to retain everyone.  Things happen…people move on.  But when they do decide to leave, take it as a learning opportunity.  Find out why they are leaving through an exit interview and see if there is anything you might be able to do better next time.

Put these practices in place and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your stars around.  They’ll be happier, which will help to retain them, and likely also help to retain your customers.   That makes everyone happy!

The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that can help you train and retain amazing customer success professionals.

Dawn Harger - With over 10 years of managing account management teams, Dawn has found her niche in defining and implementing measures that equate to customer success.  Her passion is creating teams of customer advocates and consultants, while mentoring those that cross her path.  Her prior background in operations also allows her a broader picture of the business, thus giving her additional insight into a company’s strategy in retaining and growing their customer base.  Dawn works for VerticalResponse, holds a BA in Marketing from San Jose State University and MBA from St. Mary’s College.