Definition of Customer Success Management (for academic research)

As a researcher I have realized that there is no proper definition of Customer Success Management in academic literature. It is often put together with key account management, customer support etc. To provide a clear picture in the academic world I want to get some insights from the practitioners and experts in this field. I am about to write a research paper and talk about: how should we define Customer Success Management. One term which I think is really important and can’t be neglected in this context is the mindset of “proactively” initiating actions that

1)     can provide you a better understanding of the needs of a customer

2)     provide value to a customer

3)     align the expectations of a customer to what you are offering to the customer

4)     help the customer to evaluate their own business models to identify opportunities for more growth/ efficiency/ comfort/ cost savings (upselling/cross-selling)

5)     build long-term relationships with the customer

6)     strategically manage the feedback of the customer in manner where you know which department needs this information and what is the most efficient way to forward this feedback (for example technical issues to product development department, overpromise to sales department etc.).

Since I have no experience in the field of CSM I am really interested in your opinions and would be really happy if you would give me some feedback and new ideas. For examples things that should be added or things where you would say: This is a misconception, I would rather view it from this and that point of view. Or things which you would recommend, delete or reframe. I am really excited for your feedback and would love to learn more.


  • Mikael Blaisdell
    Mikael Blaisdell Member Posts: 8
    5 Comments Second Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    "Customer Success is a scientifically designed and professionally directed long term business strategy for maximizing customer and company sustainable proven profitability."  The Customer Success Association
  • Clay Telfer
    Clay Telfer Member Posts: 6
    5 Comments 5 Likes Name Dropper
    I usually say that customer success is about relentlessly demonstrating value to your customer. Everything else rolls up into that, because you need to be understanding what they see as valuable, providing that value, making that value constantly visible to them, and so on.
  • Taskeen
    Taskeen Member Posts: 2
    Photogenic Name Dropper First Comment
    @Clay Telfer I absolutely agree with you and I think I will definitely consider the term "value" or "Customer value" in the definition. When I reflect upon all the discussions I came across until now, I had the feeling that this term is really important and goes along with the academic paper of Pohl-Schwenke & Kleinaltenkamp (2021) and also in the recent release in october of Kleinaltenkamp et al. (2022)