Customer Success Metrics: Measuring Customer Obsession

If you don’t actually know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s hard to measure success. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

Avinash Kaushik

entrepreneur, author, and public speaker

By tracking critical customer success metrics, over time you can see what areas are improving and what aspects of the customer journey could still use work. Tying your efforts back to quantifiable results will help make the case for investing time towards customer success measurement , and further inform your perspective on how customers interact with your product, service, or brand. 



Customer Success KPIs

In order to promote a customer-centric culture in your organization, you need to identify the customer success KPIs (key performance indicators) that will help you understand how different functional areas are performing. Here are some data points that reflect customer engagement and organizational performance. 

Financial Metrics  Health and Performance Metrics  Support Metrics 
Revenue (ARR, MRR, ARPU License utilization / active users # Tickets / customer
Net Revenue Retention (NRR Usage/ behavioral health composite metric Types of issues
Churn (Customer & Revenue) Time to onboard  Time to first response 
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Time to value  Satisfaction ratings 
Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) Outcomes/Value achieved Education resource ratings 

Source: Alka Tandan 

 

Financial metrics - such as retention, churn, renewal rate, and customer lifetime value (CLV) - are all numbers that senior leaders should be thinking about and understanding. 

Recommended Resource: Redpoint SaaS Startup Key Metrics Template by Tomasz Tunguz.

In addition to financial metrics, organizations can examine health, performance, and support metrics to inform the work of team members focused on onboarding, support, and success. Often, data is hiding in different forms. For example, examining your educational resources can be helpful.  

“Honing in on educational resources and how users have been engaging with them can be another useful area to explore. Look at whether or not your customers find them useful. If you can identify that they’re going to certain education resources often, explore why they’ve landed there. Dig deeper to understand what's going wrong with the product if this is the area people are going to,” says Specialist in Customer Centric Growth, Alka Tandan.  

“Use these insights to determine what you can change in your onboarding process to help mitigate the need for users to lean on these resources all the time.” 

Given the range of metrics available, many organizations prefer to create a composite score that combines some of the key measures together into a customer health score.

Customer Success Measurement Customer Health Score

Customer Success Metrics: Customer Health Score

A customer health score is a value that indicates the long-term potential of a customer dropping off or, conversely, becoming a high-value, repeat customer through renewal, cross-selling or up-selling strategies. Key performance indicators (KPIs) for customer health scores include the churn and renewal rates for customers who continue to make purchases. A customer health score is a comparative metric that’s unique to your organization.


Customer Health Score Metrics

Customer Success Measurement metric table

Source: planhat.com

 

“The customer health score is a culmination of several different elements. It should include data that measures how customers use your products and how often. A health score should also address how usage ties into the value your customers expect to receive out of it,” says Tandan.

“You also want to include a relationship measure like a satisfaction score or an effort score to round out this composite metric.” 

‘A customer health score is important because it  can predict when a customer might be at-risk of ending their relationship with your business by the actions they take within your product, without the customer ever knowing. 

Customer Success Metrics: Surveys 

There are great tools on the market, to get surveys into the hands of your customers.  Conducting satisfaction surveys is a light lift compared to the value of insights you’ll gain. 

Vendasta Director of Partner Success, Naresh LaBar suggests utilizing this tactic often to help improve customer experience. 

“Ask for customer feedback along all stages of their journey. This will further help you zero-in on points of the experience where improvement is needed.  If you ask for feedback at only one stage, you risk missing details that could take things from great to amazing,” LaBar says. 

Best Practices Across the Three Elements of Survey Question Design

Type  Best Practices 
Question Wording 1. Keep wording specific and concise.
2. Ask direct questions and build the scale into the question.
3. Avoid double-barreled questions.
4. Avoid leading words such as “should,” “could,” or “feel.”
Response Options

5. Provide comprehensive response options. 

6. Ensure questions have mutually exclusive answer choices. 

7. Use a graded scale of response options. (ex. 0=poor, 5=great) 

9. Orient response scales consistently. 

10. Randomize answer choices that lack implicit ordering.

Question Selection

11. Only request necessary information.

12. Tap into reliable or validated questions.

13. Use open-ended questions strategically. These are questions that require the respondent to elaborate on their points and they typically cannot be quantified. Obtaining feedback in the customer’s own words is still valuable but these questions should be paired with a longer list of closed questions to ensure you’re gaining quantifiable results. 

14. Avoid grid and matrix-style questions and answer choices.

Source: Qualtrics XM institute 

Expert Tip: The best way to send out surveys is as a link within an SMS. Why SMS? The format still carries a lot of trust; the SMS response rate is an impressive 45 percent, compared with just 6 percent for email.

Customer Success Measurement Tools and techniques banner

Tools and Techniques

Action on Your Results  

“We care about our partners and what local businesses say about working with our partners,” says Vendasta Success Growth Team Lead Andrew Carson.

“If we see a low Net Promoter Score (NPS) come through, we're reaching out to our partners to better understand what we can do to improve their experience with Vendasta and what caused  you to choose that low score. I feel like it’s something that really separates us from other providers, " Carson says. 

Try These Free and Easy-to-Use Survey Tools to Gain Customer Insights

Solution Advantages  Disadvantages 
Google Forms allows you to create unlimited surveys, with unlimited questions, and receive unlimited responses. Plus you can custom design your forms to meet your specific needs and export data to Google Sheets for results analysis.

✔ Easy to edit user interface


✔ Flexible sharing options

Easy to access data for collection and export

✘ Design not as customizable as other tools

✘ Not suitable for more complex needs
Survey Monkey Probably the most well known name in the realm of online survey tools, Survey Monkey is an obvious contender. The system is well designed, fairly easy to use, and you can embed surveys.

✔ Secure and confidential


✔ Robust analytics

Good options for personalization

✘ Lacks functionality to send to send reminders to individual users

✘ Website embed codes not as seamless as other tools
SoGoSurvey has unique features that allow you to create multilingual surveys, customizability, and even branching logic. Their comprehensive reporting program focuses on treating feedback as a vital aspect of a business' growth.

✔ Customizable design  

✔ Wide range of question formats

✔ Multiple distribution options

✘ Robust solution that can  take time to learn
SurveyLegend is a platform that allows users to create beautiful, easy to use surveys and includes optimization for mobile devices, like tablets and other smartphones. It's used by major brands like Samsung, Groupon, and AirBnB.

✔ Vivid and professional graphic design

✔ User-friendly

✔ Easy to share 

✘ Better support options are needed

✘ Free version is limited compared to other tools
Delighted by Qualtrics offers six different types of survey options: NPS, customer satisfaction, smiley surveys, customer effort score, and thumbs up/down surveys.  

✔ Simple and easy to use


✔ Robust data export options

✘ Customer support needs improvement 

From defining your ideal customer profile to top tips for retaining the customer you already have, Keep Them Satisfied: The 360 Guide to Customer Success helps you learn how to support your customers to success and create an army of brand advocates in the process. Download your copy today. 


About the Author

Nicole Lauzon is a Content Marketing Manager at Vendasta and has spent the last decade of her career helping local businesses tell their stories. Kickstarting her professional journey as a writer and producer for a major Canadian television network, Nicole would later spend five years as a PR Agency Creative Director, managing brand journalism, social media, blog and video content for corporate, non-profit and local business clients. Whether Nicole is marinating over her next piece of writing or enjoying some down time with her family, she likes doing it in floral print.

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