What Is a Customer Success Manager, and What Do They Do?

Gladly Team

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4 minute read

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In between marketing and customer service lies the critical area of customer success. Customer success managers play a key role in fostering true customer loyalty, which is important as nearly a third of customers (32%) have said they would “fall in love” with a brand because of great service.

But what is a customer success manager? To fully answer this question, let’s dissect the role more closely and break down day-to-day responsibilities as well as some key qualities that make up a successful candidate.

What Is a Customer Success Manager?

A customer success manager is someone who supports and guides potential shoppers through the sales process to the final purchase, ensuring they become full-fledged users of these products.

Customer Success vs. Customer Service

It’s important to distinguish between “customer service” and “customer success.” Customer service deals more specifically with the ongoing conversations and relationship building between a brand and a customer — focused on specific long-term, loyalty-centric outcomes. Customer success overlaps with customer service in some ways, but deals much more with tangible results, like closing sales.

Not every ecommerce brand will create a distinct role for customer success, instead incorporating it into how their support center serves shoppers and optimizes the overall customer experience. The goal is to create an environment where shoppers feel fully supported and satisfied with the experience from the moment they interact with a brand to well after they receive and use the product.

Businesses lose $75 billion a year from customers switching brands due to inadequate experiences. If a brand can correctly answer the question of “what is customer success,” then it should be able to understand how important it is to incorporate it throughout these experiences and protect their revenue streams.


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What Does a Customer Success Manager Do?

Think of a customer success manager as someone who bridges the gap between a salesperson and a support agent. The salesperson develops the initial relationship with the potential customer and demonstrates the brand’s product value. Meanwhile, the support agent provides answers to any questions and concerns during and after the purchasing process.

A customer success manager is in charge of overseeing the customer experience and ensuring it meets a high standard of quality so shoppers feel like they have a support system throughout the decision-making process.

Here are some of the common daily responsibilities of a customer success manager:

  • Maintain a high-level view of the support process
  • Ensure the customer experience is equipped to respond to customer needs
  • Build and develop relationships with high-value customers
  • Work to reduce customer churn or losing customers to competitive products

Customer Success Manager Skills

Customer success is a crucial role that requires a specific skill set. Ideally, candidates for customer success manager roles will display (or express a desire to learn) the following skills and qualities:

  • Relationship building
  • Listening, understanding, and patience
  • Setting expectations
  • Deep knowledge of products and/or the enthusiasm to learn

At a manager-level role, candidates should also have at least three to five years of prior experience, either in a customer success or customer support role in which they developed high lifetime value relationships.

How Customer Success Managers Impact Business

Customer success should also be built into how a brand’s support center operates holistically. Promote this internally by using a platform that makes guiding shoppers to a better overall experience even easier and more natural than ever. With Gladly, companies get access to a platform that learns from and responds to each customer’s needs with a radically personal, conversation-driven approach that ensures successful sales and lays the groundwork for a long-term relationship.

The customer success manager role is becoming more common in the halls of ecommerce companies, and for good reason. Customer success is also expanding outside of the confines of operations teams to sit within sales or ecommerce departments. This comes as more and more ecommerce companies incorporate customer success and service across their brand experience.

Customer success managers have a tangible impact on revenue growth, demonstrated by the skills and thought leadership mentioned here. When success becomes more interwoven with a shopper’s experience, it transforms support from purely functional into a high-quality, white glove service. With the right hires, these companies can elevate their abilities to make shoppers feel taken care of and drive long-term revenue from the strong, loyal connections they’ve made.

Auto-Route VIP Customers for a White-Glove Experience

🛑 Gladly users can assign high-value customers to a dedicated customer service hero. As long as the hero is available, the customer will always get routed to them — no matter the channel. This way, teams can track interactions with top-tier customers to measure the long-term results and viability of their specialty programs.

Gladly gives brands a personal, conversation-driven experience that helps them connect with their customers better than ever before. Use this maturity assessment to see how your ecommerce experience can benefit from this technology.