Onboarding a New Customer Success Manager: Common Challenges and Solutions

Overcoming Common Challenges in Onboarding a Customer Success Manager: Tips and Strategies for a Smooth Transition


Onboarding a new Customer Success Manager (CSM) is a critical process for organizations that want to deliver exceptional customer experiences. However, it can also present several challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the success of the new hire. This article outlines some common difficulties that may arise when onboarding a new CSM and offers suggestions on how to overcome them.

Common Difficulties When Onboarding a New CSM

•‎ Lack of Clarity About the Role

One of the most common challenges faced by new CSMs is a lack of clarity about their role, responsibilities, and performance metrics. This can lead to confusion, frustration, and poor performance, which can negatively impact customer satisfaction and retention.

To overcome this challenge, organizations can:

  • Provide a detailed job description that outlines the key responsibilities and performance metrics for the CSM role.
  • Offer a comprehensive overview of the role, key performance indicators, and how the CSM's success will be measured during the onboarding process.
  • Conduct regular check-ins with the manager or mentor to clarify any uncertainties and ensure the CSM is on the right track.

•‎ Inadequate Training

Another common difficulty faced by new CSMs is inadequate training, which can limit their ability to perform their job effectively. This can lead to mistakes, poor customer interactions, and a lack of confidence.

To overcome this challenge, organizations can:

  • Provide comprehensive training on the product/service, customer service techniques, and relevant tools and systems.
  • Offer ongoing support and coaching to help the CSM develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Encourage the CSM to ask questions and provide feedback on the training and resources provided.

•‎ Cultural Difference

If the new CSM is from a different background or country, they may struggle to adapt to the company's culture and way of doing things. This can impact their ability to build rapport with customers and team members.

An image of a CSM participating in a customer meeting.

To overcome this challenge, organizations can:

  • Provide an overview of the company culture and values during the onboarding process.
  • Offer guidance on communication styles and cultural norms.
  • Encourage the CSM to ask questions and seek feedback on their interactions with customers and team members.
  • Consider pairing the new CSM with a mentor who has a similar background or can provide insight into the cultural differences.

•‎ Limited Exposure to Customers

A new CSM may not have enough exposure to customers, which can limit their ability to understand customer needs and provide effective solutions.

To overcome this challenge, organizations can:

  • Provide opportunities for the new CSM to shadow experienced team members and participate in customer meetings.
  • Encourage the CSM to ask questions and take notes on customer needs and pain points.
  • Provide ongoing feedback and coaching on customer interactions to help them develop their customer relationship management skills.


Onboarding a new CSM can present several challenges, but by setting clear expectations, providing comprehensive training and support, and offering ongoing feedback and coaching, organizations can ensure the CSM is set up for success and can make a positive impact on customer satisfaction and retention.

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