The biggest problem with Customer Success and how you can fix it

February 11, 2014 Pam McBride

Customer Success

Wow – how could an industry with the words customer + success have a problem? Those two words combined speak to all things positive and problem free. So what could possibly be wrong? Data.

Big data, small data – all of that data! There certainly isn’t a lack of it. As a matter of fact there is probably too much of it – way too much of it to wade through. The real problem with that data, aside from the fact that is exists in disparate silos, is that it isn’t contextual to who your customers are, how they behave, what moments make up their journey and what they require to achieve successful outcomes and value with your product or service.

How can you fix it?

Your solution could start with a spreadsheet – which it likely does already. However, that could become unwieldy quickly and then as a result create your next biggest problem – an unwieldy spreadsheet. Even though you’ll have data, after spending a considerable amount of time collecting it, it still won’t provide the complete picture.

And if executives are using this data to report on progress, status of the business portfolio, assess risk and adequately project revenues, then that is also another biggest problem with customer success.

At a minimum, ensure that you are collecting the right data.

The obvious:

  1. Account and contact information
  2. Support tickets
  3. Billing and contract information
  4. Email, phone, meeting correspondence

The behavioural:

  1. Usage – depth (% of product) and breadth (# of licenses)
  2. Adoption rate
  3. Business outcomes

The value-based:

  1. Time to value
  2. Engagement – when, with whom, how often, topic
  3. Interactions – touch points, key activities, timing
  4. Participation – forums, community

The opportunity-based:

  1. Age of customer
  2. Advocacy of customer
  3. Account growth (expanding team, feature usage etc.)
  4. Product feedback
  5. Executive relationship

That’s just the start! Investing in customer operations surfaced as a priority for over 200 SaaS companies we’ve spoke to. And investing should include the resources to help teams succeed – perhaps collecting data in unwieldy spreadsheets isn’t necessarily the best plan when there are platforms that can provide this in context and so much more – especially accurate data upon which to manage your business.

What is the biggest problem you face with customer success?

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