10 Engineering Leadership lessons I learned with Customer Success Managers

Vitor O.


Customer Success Managers can teach Engineering Leaders invaluable lessons on prioritizing user needs and experience over technical complexities. By emphasizing customer-centric approaches, Engineering Leaders can ensure that products align with user expectations, enhancing satisfaction and retention.

Customer Success Management always highlights the importance of effective communication and collaboration between technical and non-technical teams, fostering a holistic understanding of user requirements and driving product innovation.

Through these interactions and insights, I’d like to share 10 lessons I learned with Customer Success Managers recently that can optimize software development processes, delivering solutions that resonate deeply with end-users and drive long-term success.

1. The key to success lies in having Empathy for your Customers

Empathy towards customers is the most important thing in Customer Success Management because it forms the foundation of authentic, meaningful relationships. Understanding and resonating with the customers’ perspectives, challenges, and goals enables teams to provide tailored solutions and support. This fosters trust, loyalty, and satisfaction, driving customer retention and advocacy, and guides proactive problem-solving, anticipating and addressing needs before they arise.

As an Engineering Leader, empathetic interactions will help create emotional connections, fostering a positive customer experience and strengthening the brand's reputation. The secret for tech leaders is to learn how to build authentic relationships that enhance communication and emotional connection.

2. Put into action what you advocate

Customer Success hinges on clear communication and transparency to enhance Customer Success outcomes.

What Engineering Leaders can learn from Customer Success Managers is to prioritize dedicating time and attention to customers, underscoring the significance of accountability and ownership.

3. Enhance your Leadership Voice of Customer within Engineering

To refine the Voice of the Customer, Engineering Leaders should:

  1. Prioritize active engagement with customers by listening actively to their concerns, goals, and feedback, demonstrating empathy and understanding.
  2. Show clear communication while maintaining a friendly and approachable demeanor.
  3. Solicit feedback from customers and colleagues alike, using it to refine and improve your approach.
  4. Cultivate genuine relationships built on trust and transparency, ensuring customers feel valued and supported throughout their journey.

4. Persuasion is a must

Persuasiveness is essential for every Customer Success Manager and Engineering Leader. Through my experience working with CSMs, I've learned its significance in driving customer success.

What Engineering Leaders can learn from Customer Success Managers in terms of Persuasion to provide deeper insights and enable a sharper focus on fulfilling customer needs is:

  1. how to empower customers to explore the product's capabilities beyond their imagination, ensuring they derive maximum value through persuasion.
  2. how to challenge customer expectations and manage these expectations through persuasive techniques, allowing expectations’ alignment.

5. Support and confrontation go hand-in-hand

Support and confrontation are complementary aspects of Customer Success Management and Engineering Leadership.

Support consists of assisting customers through challenges and providing resources for success. However, when people's issues arise, confrontation becomes necessary to address them effectively, whether it's about unmet expectations or misunderstandings.

Confrontation doesn't imply aggression but rather assertiveness in clarifying issues and finding solutions. By embracing confrontation with a tactical approach, an Engineering Leader demonstrates a strong commitment to Customer Success, fostering trust and loyalty.

It's through this balance of support and confrontation that long-term relationships are nurtured and customer satisfaction is upheld.

6. Managing expectations is crucial

Not all problems have identical solutions; some require more time for resolution, therefore transparency becomes key.

Acknowledging issues and their anticipated resolution time is vital in Engineering Leadership to ensure customer engagement and retention.

7. Not just answer inquiries but also ask great questions

In Customer Success, interaction is a two-way street and that’s why active inquiry and engagement are vital. While listening is crucial, asking questions is even more essential because a company has to understand customer concerns in depth.

8. Be invested in your customers

Engineering Leaders should seek deeper insights from customers by soliciting their input on products or tasks and fostering conversations to nurture rapport.

Requesting customer feedback and delving into product discussions will help gain an understanding of customers’ perspectives, identify pain points, and strategize for future enhancements.

This will establish robust connections with customers, optimizing product efficacy and value.

9. Seek obstacles and issues beyond your product's scope

In the realm of Customer Success, it's essential to anticipate issues beyond the product itself, ranging from compatibility challenges to user unfamiliarity. Despite being external, these obstacles must be considered.

Leveraging customer education and understanding can prove invaluable in addressing such challenges effectively as an Engineering Leader.

10. Proactivity yields long-term benefits

Long-term success requires proactive efforts from you and your team, so Engineering Leaders should prioritize customers in every strategy and product decision, fostering engagement and demonstrating care. Being proactive means anticipating customer queries and providing timely solutions, whether through self-help resources like guides, FAQs, or instructional videos, fostering deeper customer engagement.


Customer Success Management offers a wealth of insights and strategies that Engineering Leaders can integrate to drive product development and enhance customer satisfaction. By prioritizing empathy, effective communication, and proactive problem-solving, Engineering teams can cultivate stronger relationships with customers, leading to increased loyalty and long-term success. Embracing these principles fosters a customer-centric culture that not only meets but exceeds expectations, positioning a company for sustainable growth and competitiveness.

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