How to conduct a Pilot Study in Customer Success

How to conduct a Pilot Study in Customer Success 

Three steps to a successful pilot study 

A pilot study in Customer Success is essential to ensure that your duties as a Customer Success Manager are done most efficiently. If you’re new to the role, or if your organization has been around for a while but hasn’t yet formalized its customer success program and processes, then it may take some time to figure out how best to engage with customers and make sure they are happy with their experience. A pilot study can help you navigate these challenges by giving you feedback from real-world users on what works well within your organization—and what doesn’t! 

What is a pilot study? 

A pilot study is a small-scale test of a new product or process. It is used to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a new product or function and estimate its time and cost. Customer Success pilot programs are a way for teams and CSMs to begin using new technology solutions and determine how successful they are in meeting organizational goals. 

Once you’ve determined what information needs measuring, ensure these variables can be measured accurately at scale (i.e., enough people) while maintaining confidentiality (i.,e., no identifiable individuals). This means that if there are only five participants in any given group session, then they cannot be identified by their names on any documents produced during the experiment itself; instead, they would have anonymous codes which identify themselves only by number within each group session, so no one knows who belongs where unless specifically asked by someone else present at each session. 

Why conduct a pilot study in Customer Success?

Conducting a pilot study in Customer Success is a great way to test your developed theory or hypothesis. It can also test your solution’s implementation, impact, and ROI. It is best to conduct a pilot study for, but not limited to, the following reasons: 

  • Conduct a feasibility study to know if your idea will work before you commit resources and time to it. 
  • Ensure that you have all the right pieces in place so that everything will go smoothly and efficiently when it comes time for launch day (or whatever day). 
  • Measure the costs involved with running a full-scale pilot program may outweigh those associated with conducting just one or two smaller tests first; however, if there are issues with one part of your plan which could prevent its success, then conducting small-scale experiments may help identify them early on before they grow out of control later down the line! 

Three steps to a successful pilot study 

1. Define your pilot goals and success criteria 

In order to successfully execute a pilot study, you must define your goals and success criteria to ensure that the pilot was able to achieve its intended outcomes. 

To begin, think about what you want to accomplish by conducting this experiment. For example, if one of your goals is to increase sales by 10%, then make sure that it aligns with the overall business strategy for achieving that goal (e.g., increasing customer acquisition cost per customer or reducing churn). Also, consider how much time and resources are available for this project; if there isn’t enough time or money available for this experiment, then perhaps another solution might be better suited for solving your problem at hand instead of trying out new ideas with limited resources on hand.” 

2. Create a blueprint for the pilot 

When you have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish, the next step is to create a blueprint for the pilot. An excellent way to do this is by defining your goals and success criteria and correlating them with a timeline. Defining these two elements into a schedule will help clarify whether or not your pilot will be successful in achieving them, which will then inform how long it’ll take and how much money needs to be spent on it. 

The next step is creating an outline that includes user personas (who are likely interested in using your product), user journeys (how they interact with their current solution), stories told through customer journeys (what problems they’re trying to solve), critical metrics collected during field testing…and anything else that might influence how well customers adopt new solutions once they’ve been implemented into their workflows! 

3. Launch the pilot, monitor the results, and optimize 

After you’ve finished the pilot and are ready to launch the entire program, it’s time to maximize your pilot. Here are some tips that can help you do so: 

  • Focus on key success metrics. The most important thing is to measure how well each feature performs relative to expectations. As a general rule of thumb, if there’s a lot of room for improvement in one or more areas (e.g., customer satisfaction), then focus on those metrics before moving on to others like conversion rates or revenue generation opportunities. 
  • Optimize your customers’ experience as much as possible during this phase—but don’t overdo it! If you’re getting too many negative reviews from users having problems with one feature or another, consider adding an additional step into their onboarding process to feel more confident about using products without feeling overwhelmed by information overload at the outset (and why should they?). 

A pilot study can help you navigate the challenges of implementing customer success. 

It’s an opportunity to test the waters and identify opportunities and issues that may arise during implementation. A pilot study allows you to get buy-in from stakeholders (the people who will be involved in implementing customer success) by enabling them to see firsthand how things are going before they become permanent features of your organization’s processes and culture. You also have time for customer feedback on their experience with a new quality or service offering—important information for any business owner who wants their product or service line to be successful! 


A pilot is a small test of a process or product, usually done with just one customer (or group of customers) before making the change widespread across your organization. A pilot allows you to learn how well something works, what issues might arise during implementation, and how well it aligns with overall business objectives. 

We hope this guide has given you an overview of conducting a pilot study on Customer Success. If you want to learn more about pilot studies, be sure to check out our other resources, including our in-depth discussion with Emma Lampert and Rick Adams on the topic Maximizing the Value from Pilots, here: