What Is A Customer Success Specialist And What Do They Do?

4 min read
Frank L.
Frank L.
Published April 26, 2022

“If we don’t have successful customers, we can’t have a successful business,” said Jamie Domenici in a blog post when she served as the global SVP of customer adoption at Salesforce.

But how do you make sure your customers are successful? By devoting someone to the task: a customer success specialist. A customer success specialist works with your users to ensure they have all the resources to get the most out of your app. The customer success specialist’s goal is to turn each new user who signs up for your product into a long-term customer (and thus help you have a successful business).

A customer success specialist grows your relationship with the user to improve retention. Here are the primary responsibilities of a customer success specialist and what to look for as you hire one for your team:

The 3 Key Responsibilities of a Customer Success Specialist

The roles of your customer success specialist will include:

1. Manage Onboarding for New Customers

A customer success specialist, said Beth Worthy, president of GMR Transcription Services, in an article for Forbes, “can help make a lasting first impression of your brand while simultaneously helping to develop a customer onboarding process primarily focussed on your customers’ needs and goals.”

In short: customer success specialists help users get the most from your app.

To maximize onboarding, customer success specialists should own how your app communicates its features to new users. The customer success specialist will also have to create and share any documentation during the onboarding phase to help users navigate through the app.

2. Improve Retention and Reduce Churn

One role of the customer success specialist will be to turn your new users into loyal, long-time customers. They’ll also be in charge of finding upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

To improve retention, the customer success specialist will verify that users are constantly using your mobile app. They will monitor your users' satisfaction closely to identify any potential issues and solve these problems quickly before they churn.

If a user’s app membership is about to expire, the customer success specialist will be in charge of following up with the user and getting them to renew their membership. As the number of renewals increases, your retention will grow as well.

3. Collect and Analyze Customer Feedback

A customer success specialist must monitor the health of your user’s relationship with your app and listen to your customers’ feedback. The feedback the customer success specialist collects will focus on the user experience, such as any complaints the user may have about your app or areas where you could improve. Different ways a customer success specialist can collect this feedback include customer surveys and interviews.

For the survey, the customer success specialist will send questions to the user (typically via email) about their experience with your app and collect the customer’s feedback. Customer interviews involve a direct conversation between the customer success specialist and your user (often remotely), where the specialist asks questions about the user’s needs or expectations.

The customer success specialist will then have to report this feedback to your marketing, sales, and product teams.

Skills to Look for in a Customer Success Specialist

Ready to onboard a customer success specialist as part of your mobile app team? The critical skills you must look for in a potential customer success specialist include:

Data Analysis

A quality customer success specialist must examine user data effectively to understand your app’s customers’ needs better and identify any issues that customers go through in their user experience.

User success specialist Hannah Linstadt says that data analysis is an essential part of what she does and helps her better understand the company’s target audience:

“I get to see our platform’s user data and build our onboarding experience, support content, and UX based on real observations of our users in the platform. It allows me to really get to know my audience’s challenges and use a lot of different strategies to help them fall in love with our product and get the most out of their experience.”

Relationship Management

Delores Cooper, former customer success associate at Zendesk, says to be a customer success specialist, you need “a propensity for relationship building... It’s not enough to just have a knack for it; it’s important to really enjoy forming and maintaining relationships.”

Michael Arnone, customer success manager at Hypercontext, says a customer success specialist must be able to bond with users and treat them like they’re friends, not prospects. “Being a CSM isn’t always the easiest job, but when you talk to clients that you can also consider friends, it makes it all worth it!”


The customer success specialist you hire must have the ability to put themselves in the user's shoes, so they can find the appropriate solution for them. “We’ve all been customers at some point or another,” says Cooper, “but being able to draw on those experiences, both positive and negative, and use them to create your own personal CSM methodology is a remarkable skill to have.”

Your Customer’s Success Is Also Your App’s Success

To build a successful company, you must learn to put the needs and success of your customers first. When you hire a customer success specialist for your team, you’ll help create a better customer-focused approach for your app engagement strategy, resulting in better user satisfaction.

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