What Customers Want

Customers don’t want technology or products just for the sake of having them; they want solutions to their business problems. Instead of sales people selling them more “stuff”, they need professionals who can help them identify enabling technologies that meet their business needs.

Customers don’t need people who just build relationships with them and fail to recognize their key business objectives. A better fit is a professional with whom they can build a long-term partnership, who can assist them in achieving their goals. Customers don’t need to chase vendors to fix issues – they need the vendor to anticipate and be proactive in addressing problems.

With the SaaS model, the power has shifted to customers. If a vendor does not come up to par, then customers can and will look elsewhere. A vendor cannot afford to let that happen due to the high cost of customer acquisition. Hence, it is everybody’s job in the company to ensure Customer Success.

However, when it is everybody’s job, who is really accountable? How are they held accountable? This heralds the necessity for a Head of Customer Success.

The Head of Customer Success

As a Head of Customer Success, the key objective is to make your customers highly successful with your product or service. Easier said than done, to be sure. So, how does the head of Customer Success ensure success of the customer and the success of their own company? It is not possible to be able to accomplish this objective by simply focusing on Customer Health KPI’s. Instead, it is imperative to have a 360 degree dashboard that shows you what is going on with your customers at all times.

The first component of the dashboard should be comprehensive customer health indicators , split into external and internal views depending on the level of detail in your data collection. The second component is company wide KPIs so that particular efforts and campaigns can be quantified and tracked. The third component, since most heads of CS also have a functional responsibility towards post-sales customer-facing functions, is a set of KPIs that measure the performance of their own teams.

A common team KPI system will encourage a standardization of best practices and foster  a sense of clarity and camaraderie since team members are all striving towards the similar goals. The key is to keep your KPIs simple, consistent, and well defined. An effective dashboard, when developed correctly, will allow for easy interpretation and communication within the organization so that your CS operations are optimally expended.

Customer Health Indicators

Customer Health is the primary indicator of the strength of the business relationship. A dashboard equipped with accurate health trackers will be able to monitor customer sentiment and usage, and provide accurate churn updates. It is the job of your CS team to determine which factors should be tracked, and which will provide true insight into the health of a customer.

Some factors to consider:

• Delivery solution – Is the company really solving customer’s problem/s?

• Value – Is the customer ROI better than if customer did it in-house or with a competitor?

• Friction – How much effort does the customer have to expend to get what they need with the company’s solution?

Company-wide KPIs

Company wide KPIs allow you to track your customers in real time and answer key questions that have to do with their business status. Are other functional areas moving the customers in their journey? Are there any bottlenecks? Do they need any help? Are we helping them hit their KPIs? Every department in an organization, whether they know it or not, interfaces directly or indirectly with customers. It is the CS team’s job to make sure each one focuses on delivering real value to customers, and continually optimizes the delivery. It’s important to measure this and ensure transparency for an accurate understanding of where things stand at all times.

Keep track of these company-wide KPIs:

• Customer Retention Rates: Churn rates; Customer loss analysis data – why are they leaving?
• Upsell and Cross-sell metrics

• Lifetime value of customer and ARPU

• Product adoption and usage

• Bugs and Enhancement requests

• NPS & Customer Satisfaction Scores

Customer Success KPIs

Customer Success Team KPIs are an internal measure of how your team is performing in relation to team goals. How well are you meeting your customers’ needs? How are you performing in terms of contributing to customer happiness? Which practices are effective? Who is your star performers? Who needs improvement, and why? Keeping track of these metrics will allow you to discard practices that aren’t effective, and test new ones for their efficacy. In the same fashion, team turnover will allow you to find the successful team members and utilize their strategies as team best practices.

Most CS teams have three branches: Onboarding & Training, Support, and Customer Success Management. Here are some of their responsibilities, and the metrics they track:

• Onboarding

◦ Time from contract to value derivation by customer

◦ Activation rate

◦ Onboarding costs

◦ Onboarding customer transactional survey

• Support

◦ Traditional metrics for service such as time to answer, wait times, time to resolve, support transactional surveys, support costs, satisfaction surveys

• Customer Success team

◦ Value delivery

◦ Adoption and usage rates

◦ Relationship status with customers

◦ Proactive CSM activity

◦ Value to the company – retention rates, upsell/cross-sell, customer advocacy

◦ Value to other teams inside company – provide feedback, bug testing, advice

◦ Cost of Customer Success team vs. revenue increases because of their efforts

KPIs for All

These three factors together, the Customer Health Indicators, Customer KPIs and CS Team KPIs compose the most critical features in a Customer Success dashboard. This trifecta ensures your customers’ needs are met, and your team is able to perform their jobs with the most efficacy. A customer dashboard equips your Head of Customer Success with the necessary tools for achieving Customer Success from the inside out.