There’s a big problem with the goals customer success teams set for themselves. The metrics we focus on are retention, cross sells, and upsells. Those are the big three that measure the impact customer success has on your company’s bottom line, and thus they are the accepted method for evaluating customer success teams.
The problem is by tying our goals directly to the revenue of our own company, we lose sight of the mandate implied by our title – customer success. We focus on maximizing our own profitability, not on helping our customers to gain value from the product we’ve sold them.
Churn and upsell opportunities are actually derivatives of the value your customer finds in your product. The key to improving the quality of your customer experience is to align organizational goals and KPI’s with the value proposition of the business. The first step toward that alignment is to effectively identify and quantify the reasons your customers bought your product in the first place.
The key to improving the quality of your customer experience is to align organizational goals and KPI’s with the value proposition of the business.
By quantifying the benefits your customers gain from your product, your customer success team will be able to identify the handful of features in the product that lead to value. That knowledge helps you design onboarding and training plans around those core features, which both shortens a customer’s time-to-value and increases the utility they gain from your product.
That’s the right mentality for customer success. By structuring our goals around maximizing the utility of our product, we create satisfied and engaged customers — which in turn leads to reduced churn and an increase in upsell and cross sell opportunities.
I’ll use my own experience at InsightSquared as a concrete illustration of this point. We still measure churn, upsells, and cross sells like everyone else (these are unquestionably vital metrics for a SaaS company to stay on top of), but we’re shifting our focus to the metrics that are direct indicators of how effectively customers are using our product.
We structure our approach to customer success around a few core questions: