8 tactics from top CS leaders to help you get closer to your customers

We all spend so much time focusing on internal measures of success and shipping things that we care about, that it’s easy forget to bring the most important voices to the table— the voice of our customers.

June 24, 2022

4 minutes

We all spend so much time focusing on internal measures of success and shipping things that we care about, that it’s easy forget to bring the most important voices to the table— the voice of our customers.

Here are 8 ideas from conversations with top CS experts to help you do just that.

1. Start by defining (and sharing) how you’ll measure your impact

Con Cirillo, Head of Customer Experience at Carro

Any customer success manager will tell you that it’s often difficult to track and measure success in this type of role. Do you look at overall revenue? Churn? Platform engagement? To answer these questions, you have to be intentional about defining your goals and how you communicate them with your stakeholders.

“What can be tough is if you don’t prioritize or know how you’re going to tell the story of the work you’ve done.”

Con recommends starting with a simple framework that can help articulate the current state of your business, the changes you’re looking to make, and help you gather buy-in from the most important stakeholders.

2. Align your goals with your customers goals

Dan Ennis, Scale Team Manager, Customer Success at

“You get this mismatch where sometimes customer success managers are in companies where the goals aren’t in alignment with actually making the customers successful”

This often happens because if it looks like the customer is achieving their goals, the company feels like it’s doing its job well. The problem here, though, is that success is subjective. Without making sure everyone is aligned, you can never be sure you’re actually doing the right thing for your customers.

3. Build a community vs a commodity

Kristen LaFrance, Director of Community at Repeat

Orient your customer interactions around long term value, and make sure everyone on your team understands what’s happening in the lives of your customers before you sell to them.

“If a sale doesn’t work, still talk to the customer about their larger goals. Then eventually they’re going to understand where your product fits in, why it fits into their tech stack, and why they should be using it. Maybe it takes a little bit longer to get them to actually onboard your product, but when they do, they’re now a best-fit customer, not a worst-fit customer.”

4. Be intentional with data collection

Mary Poppen, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Customer Officer at

Everyone is focused on data collection, but more data isn’t always better. Stay intentional with what data you collect and why.

“the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you can understand your existing customer base and what’s making them successful, or alternatively, what is causing them to leave, you’re able to hone your strategy across the entire organization.”

The more focused your data collection strategy, the less time you'll spend searching for signal in the noise.

5. The real value of NPS isn’t in the score

Maranda Dziekonski, CCO at Swiftly

If you’re running a net promoter score survey (or any other type of customer service to be honest), have a plan to follow up with each person who responds to learn more.

"Don’t just host NPS surveys for the sake of collecting data, actually follow up."

Using context from the survey response is a great way to kickoff a deeper discovery conversation and increase your understanding while also taking any additional steps to help resolve a low score or turn a high score into an active advocate.

6. Use data to advocate for your customers

Carly Agar, Customer Success Career Coach

Discovering ways to advocate for your customers should be top-of-mind as a customer success expert. And if you can back up your ideas with real data, that’s even better. But..even when you don't have anything to say Carly has 10 awesome excuses to reach out. Get the cheatsheet and make it your desktop background.

7. Host regular experience reviews

Ellie Hutton, Director of Customer Success at Dooly

Don’t kid yourself, customers take reviews seriously. Nobody buys anything without checking to see what other people are saying about it, and if you have a lot of negative reviews, it definitely hurts your business.

“If your customers are saying the thing you do is sucky, you aren’t going to be very successful unless you fix it really fast”

Creating a regular cadence for signing up for your own product or completing common tasks in the product yourself is a great way to build empathy and ensure you're identifying potential issues before they are raised by frustrated customers.

8. Put the voice of your customers front and center

Not everybody at your company will necessarily be in regular communication with customers, so finding small and frequent ways to surface the things they're saying is critical.

Ellie Hutton suggests included a quote from a customer in every internal document or presentation (bonus points if it's specific to the topic of the doc).

One of our favorite tactics here at Arrows is to pull short clips from customer calls and demo's and post with a little context in our #voice-of-customer channel in Slack. It's a great way to spark a discussion centered around the customer.


One thing is evidently clear: the key to customer success is… your customers!

The CEO proclaiming you’re a customer-centric company doesn’t make it so.

More people at your company being intimately familiar with what your customers are doing and thinking about is the only way to truly understand how to serve them best.

Start building customer-centric habits today and iterate as you go.

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