The Most Important Customer Success Metrics to Track and How to Improve Them

Customer success metrics should always lead to action. The most important metrics are used to reveal the kind of customer experience you are delivering. This knowledge comes with a responsibility to act.

The digital transformation of business has put the customer in the driver’s seat, and growth in the tech delivery industry is now predicated on being able to maximize customer lifetime value over repeated cycles of renewal and expansion. To achieve that goal, you must continually and reliably deliver value to your customer.

The most important customer success metrics reveal whether you are succeeding in your quest to deliver value and give you the information to drive growth even further for you and your customer.

The 6 Key Areas of Customer Success Metrics

The goal of customer success should be to ensure your product is having a practical, positive impact on your customer’s daily workflows. There are six key areas of the customer experience that can be accurately measured using customer success metrics.

  1.   Usage metrics: How frequently does your customer access your product?
  2.   Service utilization: How much of their potential license seats, storage capacity, or other variable is your customer accessing?
  3.   Business metrics: Has your product delivered according to expectation?
  4.   Adoption metrics: Is the customer using the product efficiently and impactfully?
  5.   Voice of Customer data: What has your customer had to say about your product?
  6.   Support and escalation feedback: What challenges or support has the customer encountered?

Customer success metrics are a message, not an outcome in themselves. You should always consider how you can best apply this data to nurture customer growth. Below we will take a look at what each metric can tell us and how that data can be put into action.

1. Usage Metrics

Usage metrics represent the reality of your customer relationship. They provide a clear answer to the question of whether your customer is actively using your product or not. These metrics are best analyzed several weeks after the onboarding phase to reveal the extent to which your product has been incorporated into the customer’s daily workflow.

You can measure usage by the number of product logins, the average duration of logins, the average time of active use, and much more.

What to do next: If your customer is frequently accessing your product, then they should be progressing toward (or have already achieved) their first experience of value and may be ready for an introduction to more advanced features or a possible customer expansion. If usage is low or erratic, you may need to return to the onboarding process and revisit ways to achieve business outcomes through product use.

2. Service Utilization

If your customer invested in product access for 40 people or if they committed to executing ten specific functions a week, then they need to be hitting those marks in order to realize maximum return on investment (ROI). You can measure the breadth of product involvement by measuring login rates or feature access against license seats. 

What to do next: If your customer is pushing against the thresholds of their current service agreement then they are ripe for expansion. Automated alerts within your customer success software should prompt you to implement upsell campaigns as soon as your customer approaches these predetermined marks. Alternatively, if your customer is lagging beneath what are considered optimal service utilization levels, then you need to launch your win-back and re-engagement campaigns.

3. Business Metrics

Business outcomes are the truest test of customer success and one of the most accurate indicators of a customer’s likelihood to renew. Essentially, these metrics show how well your product has delivered against expectations. Measured against goals you collaborate on with your customer at the start of your relationship, these customer success metrics assess practical value. They show whether your customer has achieved what they hoped to achieve through the use of your product, whether that means increasing newsletter sign-ups or successfully breaking into a new market.

What to do next: Paying attention to goals and milestones is a great way to generate momentum, and goals should be celebrated every time they are reached. If your customer is not meeting their objectives, you should still have time to act if you are tracking these metrics closely. Your customer may need re-onboarding, more training on a specific feature, or may need to readjust their goals to align with changes in the business environment.

4. Adoption Metrics

Adoption metrics tell you if your customer is using your product correctly. It is not enough just to have your customer log in every morning; they must be using your service efficiently or they will not experience value and they will be less likely to renew. Put engagement objectives in place and combine data from your license utilization and feature usage metrics to create an engagement score. You can monitor the uptake of specific features or training materials to get an at-a-glance picture of an account’s status.

What to do next: High adoption rates are a sign your customer understands your product and is able to use it independently to generate value and achieve their business goals. As with the previous customer success metrics, high scores here indicate an expansion opportunity (your customer might be able to use more license seats, for example), while low scores should be met with a re-engagement campaign (you might need to reach out to the customer to discuss negative feedback or arrange for more training).

5. Voice of Customer

Receiving direct feedback from your customer is a unique advantage. Information contained in NPS and customer satisfaction surveys can reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your product and your support, and tell you a lot about the current customer experience. You can request such feedback whenever a customer reaches a milestone or is targeted by a new campaign, or you can automate surveys according to customer health conditions or at a recurring time each year or quarter.

What to do next: Customers who feel their feedback has been acted upon are more likely to have positive feelings about their business partners. Acting on Voice of the Customer information can also help you create a customer-centric enterprise that is better able to respond to and exceed customer expectations of personalized service. When customer satisfaction and healthy NP scores are a priority, enterprises have lower churn rates, higher retention, and more growth.

6. Support and Escalation Feedback

Tracking support and escalation engagements helps build a detailed history of a customer’s relationship with your product and team. As this information can be collected by any customer-facing member of your enterprise, it is important that all customer data is collected within and made available to all from a central hub.

What to do next: Escalation data allows you to place every engagement within context. You can use it to better target campaigns and to ward off potential churn. Any customer that encounters a set number of escalations within a designated time frame, for instance, can be automatically issued with a win-back campaign around the theme of improved service.

This level of smart automation requires a comprehensive customer success platform to ensure its accuracy and effectiveness.

Maximize Customer Success Metrics

A quality customer success platform is the foundation of a customer-centered approach to business. It generates insight into customer behavior by distilling comprehensive data into easy-to-read customer success metrics, like those outlined above, that can be viewed across segments. It provides a platform to create and monitor customizable goals and KPIs based on information generated from every customer engagement across all levels of the enterprise. It also makes it easy to act on data generated by customers in order to achieve real results, like higher retention, expansion, and product adoption.

With the right customer success platform, you can get both an accurate picture of the customer experience and the tools to improve it.

In these challenging times, you can’t afford to buy before you try. Get started for free today. Totango’s customer success platform gives you a comprehensive understanding of your customer and the power to continually deliver value.

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