The Goal Discovery Framework for Customer Success Management

In the realm of Customer Success (CS), understanding customer goals is the cornerstone of building meaningful relationships and driving long-term value. Traditional customer interactions often involve direct communication, allowing for immediate clarification of needs. 

As I’ say all the time:

No Goals. No Customer Success.

Know Goals. Know Customer Success.

The Goal Discovery Framework for Customer Success

The Customer Success Goal Discovery Framework offers a comprehensive approach specifically tailored for asynchronous and self-service environments. It utilizes the “5 Ws and 1 H” to provide a clear roadmap for uncovering customer goals:

  • What:
    This focuses on identifying the specific, actionable goals the customer aims to achieve. Examples could be “increase sales by 20%” or “improve customer satisfaction score by 5 points.”
  • When: Define the desired timeframe for achieving the goal. Understanding the customer’s urgency helps prioritize support and measure progress. Examples include “within Q3” or “by the end of the year.”
  • Why:
    This delves deeper than the “what” and explores the reasoning behind the goal. Uncover the consequences of not achieving the goal and the desired outcomes the customer hopes to achieve. This is where the magic happens – understanding the “why” fuels your ability to tailor solutions and demonstrate the specific value your product or service offers.
  • Who: Identify the key stakeholders and individuals involved in achieving the goal. This could include internal teams (marketing, sales) or external collaborators. Understanding who’s on board helps provide the most relevant support and ensure alignment.
  • Where: Establish the customer’s starting point. Are they using a competitor’s product? Do they have prior experience with similar solutions? Knowing their baseline helps you tailor your approach and bridge the gap between their current state and their desired outcome.
  • How: This outlines the steps the customer needs to take to achieve their goals. However, the preferred implantation of this Framework goes a step further, encouraging outlining both the customer’s actions and the support you can offer to help them succeed.

Benefits of Utilizing the Goal Discovery Framework:

  • Deeper Customer Understanding: By uncovering the “why” behind the “what,” you gain a deeper understanding of the customer’s motivations and desired outcomes. This allows you to tailor your communication, support, and product recommendations to their specific needs.
  • Improved Customer Engagement: Taking the time to understand customer goals fosters a collaborative environment and demonstrates your genuine interest in their success. This leads to stronger customer relationships and increased engagement.
  • Measurable Impact: When goals are clearly defined with timeframes, it becomes easier to track progress and measure the impact of your efforts. This data-driven approach allows you to continuously refine your strategies and optimize customer success initiatives.

Implementing the Framework in Asynchronous & Self-Service Models:

While traditional face-to-face interactions allow for on-the-spot goal discovery, asynchronous and self-service models demand a more strategic approach. Here are some strategies to leverage the Goal Discovery Framework in these environments:

  • Conversational Engagement: Design your communication channels (chat, email) to facilitate a multi-part goal discovery process. Provide context reminders and follow-up steps to keep users engaged without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Data & Analytics: Leverage user data and common customer challenges to pre-populate goal suggestions. Continuously refine these suggestions based on user interaction and success patterns.
  • Interactive Content & Assessments: Develop quizzes or interactive guides that help users identify their specific goals through a series of questions and choices.
  • In-App Guidance & Nudges: Offer relevant goal suggestions based on user activity within the product, and provide progress updates and gentle reminders to keep them on track.


By adopting the Goal Discovery Framework and tailoring it to your specific customer interactions, you can unlock the power of understanding customer goals. This deeper understanding forms the foundation for building strong relationships, delivering exceptional customer experiences, and driving long-term customer success in today’s asynchronous and self-service customer landscape.

About Lincoln Murphy

I invented Customer Success. I focus primarily on Customer Engagement. Learn more about me here.