Monday Guest Andre van der Goot-Y3-W17

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Get to know André van der Goot

By: Mohammed Alqaq   |  April 22, 2024   |  Year 3  –  Week 17/2024

I’m André, a Senior Customer Success Manager with 10+ years of experience in Online and SaaS solutions. 

I live in the Netherlands (Europe) and currently, I’m working for, a global tech company. As CSM I’m active within our Engage Business Unit (which contains our Service and Marketing SaaS solutions).

I mainly focus on our Service solutions (Chatbot, Customer Service Platform, and Generative AI). My current portfolio contains 1.25M Euro’s ARR. 

Besides my client-facing role, I’m working on internal projects as well. In 2024 for example: 

  • Launching an ‘Internal knowledge base via Teams for our global CSM team’ fully based on our own Generative AI solution.

  • Launching a ‘Virtual CSM for our clients’ fully based on our own Generative AI solution.

  • Strategically involved in optimizing our CSM low-touch-, tech-touch- and community model besides our existing high-touch CSM model.

Besides that I’m a proud father of two and together with my partner for 20+ years. My journey so far has brought me precious insights, including overcoming depression and embracing a healthy dose of sports and mental health. Be positive, patience and enjoy every day 🙂

We asked Andre to take us through a journey telling us about his career path, how he spends his workday, what advice he can share with someone starting as a customer success manager, and many other questions.

Enjoy reading this interview  

Table of Contents

Tell us about your career path?

Trial and error 🙂 My LinkedIn profile recently stated ‘From Pioneer to Depression to Customer Success Alchemist’ and that sums it up nicely. As a graduated Event Manager and Imagineer, I was involved in that business for the first few years after my studies. At that time I still had the strong idea that I had to work as an entrepreneur. I worked a lot but earned little, so I worked in the catering industry for a long time. Which I think is a very nice profession, when done properly. I really enjoy it when a catering business does a good job.

In 2012 I finally entered the digital field and that is where the foundation for Customer Success was laid. I started as a Virtual Assistant and from there ended up at Customer Success via Account Management. As a Virtual Assistant, I have gained a lot of experience in working with entrepreneurs, and at the same time, I learned a lot about their specialties such as online marketing, online revenue models, and entrepreneurship itself. I have probably never been a really good Account Manager, I was very good at the content, but less so at the commercial aspect.

In the period 2015 – 2020, I went through burnout and depression. The triggers were a bad experience with my employer in early 2015 and years of sleepless nights at home after the birth of my first in 2012. A tough period from which I am honestly still recovering (almost there :).

During that period I did not realize what I was going through and how serious it was, I blamed everything and everyone but did not look for a solution within myself. As a reaction on that, I started my own business as a Marketing Consultant, but that didn’t get off the ground. After a year I started again as an Account Manager at a Saas company and during that period things went very wrong for me. I could no longer ignore the fact that I needed help and I sought it in the form of a psychologist.

Since then I have started to take better care of myself and that has really turned out to be a turning point. I saw opportunities to work as a Customer Success Manager. I was not previously familiar with this role, but I saw a lot of potential in it and I recognized myself in the required skills. This is how I introduced the Customer Success concept at Kolibri and it has been part of the organization ever since, which is very cool to see.

In January 2021, I received a message from via LinkedIn for a CSM role and I grabbed that opportunity. And now it’s been three years and I’m still enjoying my time at

How did you join Customer Success?

That was in 2018 at Kolibri. My contract as an account manager was not extended. I had to serve another month and during that period I took over the duties of an Onboarding colleague, whose contract had also not been extended. I really liked that and funny enough at the end of that month I was asked to stay in this role. At that time CS had already caught my attention and I agreed, but in the role of CSM.

CS was also really necessary for Kolibri at that time, because for every customer who came in, one left through the back door. From there I started to focus on a client-first strategy for the company. With all the bumps that came with it. I had a big vision but encountered obstacles in practice. There I learned that change management is key to achieving these types of process and mindset changes.

How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?

Curious. Patient. Fast thinker. Empathetic. Go-getter. Strategist. Planner. Challenger. Questioner. Clearly. Critical. Sharp. Being able to listen between the lines. Peeler (like with an onion, peel it of until you get to the core, never take an answer for granted).

What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?

Prioritize. Don’t make assumptions. Always ask questions. Shut up and listen. It’s not about you. Always know the goal of your customers and help them to get there. Be a team player. Really understand other teams such as Product, Development, Support, Sales, etc.


Don't make assumptions. Always ask questions.

Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?

07:15 I have breakfast with my children. Make them lunch. Take them to school. My wife leaves for work somewhere in between.Then I walk to the train. On the train, I listen to a podcast. I’ll be at the office around 9am.

I don’t schedule any meetings before 9:30 am. I check in with some colleagues at the office to see how things are going. Make my breakfast of cottage cheese, banana and nuts with coffee and juice.

I check my agenda and my to-do’s in Totango. I usually have 2 to 4 meetings with customers and/or colleagues. A meeting with a customer is normally a monthly recurring Success Call. Meetings with colleagues are (bi-)weeklies with my cell, business unit monthlies, CEO updates, specific client project meetings, etc.

Once every quarter/six months I visit my clients on location for a Business Review. Then we have lunch together at the office and often end it with a walk outside.

After lunch, I have meetings before 3 p.m., and after 3 p.m. I try not to have any meetings and focus on preparing success calls and QBRs the following week.

Around 4:30/5:00 PM I walk back to the train and make sure I am home with my family and I often do some sports (running, cycling, swimming, or fitness).

What makes you feel inspired or motivated?
  • New insights.

  • Positivity.

  • Seeing opportunities instead of obstacles.

  • Accountability.

  • Sincerity.

What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?

Not much I think, I’m a fairly open book 😉

Who do you look up to the most? 

I look up the most to My dad. 

What are your top 3 priorities now?

These are my top 3 priorities:

  • My mental and physical health.

  • My family.

  • My job.

What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?

Find a good mentor. Take initiative. Find a job in an organization where CS is taken seriously. Follow CSM professionals on Linkedin. Find out what’s really important in CS and start practicing these skills every day (listening, asking the right questions, knowing your customer, knowing their goals, etc.).

What’s your favorite book, and why?

Narziss and Goodmund by Hermann Hesse. A beautiful story about the contradictions in life and the struggles and insights that they bring.

The last book I read is a nice one as well; Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin and it is about friendship and love, in that order, told through two characters in the gaming industry.

» Check out the 10 Books a CSM should read to advance and improve their skills.

Have you had your “I’ve made it” moment yet?

Nope. And I’m not sure what that would be either. The older I get, the better I feel. If I’m going to have an I’ve made it moment, I hope that it will be the moment that I can look back with satisfaction on how I raised my children, how I experienced ups and downs with my wife Susanne, and that I enjoy the important things in life and don’t worry about the unimportant.

What should I have asked you but didn’t? 

What to do when things are difficult?

When you are in a nice flow, everything goes well and you can take on the world. Those are the fun and easy times in life. But when things go wrong, you have to be able to deal with it and that is sometimes difficult. If you are really having a hard time, make sure you talk about it, no matter what, there are always others who have been through it too. Talking gives insights and two know more than one. 

Where can people go to find out more about you?

LinkedIn, don’t hesitate to send a DM, looking forward to getting to know you 🙃

Thank you, Andre, for sharing your knowledge and for the opportunity to know you more.

Do you have a Customer Success Leader, Expert, or Influencer you would like to know more about?