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The Customer Success Metrics That Actually Matter

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Many organizations judge the health of the business by the productivity of the customer support organization.

How many tickets are reps closing? How many emails are reps sending? How many product demos have reps booked? These metrics helped managers determine whether a rep was doing their job well or falling short.

But what if instead of activity-based reps, we had something totally different?

The old customer success playbook is no longer enough to keep customers happy and coming back, and an entirely new school of thought is emerging. It’s one that’s focused less on making the maximum amount of calls or closing as many tickets as possible, and more on developing, maintaining, and strengthening relationships with customers.

And this means that what is being measured is changing, too. Here are three customer success metrics that will matter more than ever -- this year, and in years to come.

3 Key Customer Success Metrics to Track

1) Customer Success

This might sound obvious, but hear us out: It's important to look at the big picture of a customer -- beyond individual tickets you close and emails you answer. Are they actually seeing value from your product or service?

How often is your customer using the product? How successful is your customer after they purchase your product? What type of impact does it have on their business? Has their pain point turned into a point of strength?

Customer support is no longer about getting someone to sign on the dotted line, setting up their new service, and answering their emails and calls. Instead, reps need to ensure that their customers are not only surviving, but thriving with their product. They must follow up with clients, offer assistance with problems, and help them proactively strategize for the future.

As Forrester's Kate Leggett points out in a blog post, customer success is what’s behind increasing existing revenue, and influencing new sales. One customer’s success can prompt another person to try to your product or service in hopes of attaining a similar outcome ... but this virtuous cycle only kicks off if you actively promote and track customer success.

To measure customer success, formulate a customer "health" score. What do the financials look like? How many customers do they have? Get a handle on their business' health as it pertains to your product, then monitor the metric over time.

You can also measure your customers' growth. After all, the best sign of business success is growth. Ask if the company is hiring, taking on more business, or improving customer retention rates for a qualitative idea of how successful a customer is becoming.

2) Loyalty

Customer churn is still a great metric to measure, especially on a rep-to-rep basis. A customer support rep who maintains a healthy relationship with each of their clients is likely to have a lower churn or cancellation rate. Again, customer support is about relationships, and building rapport makes a huge difference.

Loyalty, however, is not only about the customer’s feelings towards the support rep -- it's also about their feelings towards the brand and the product itself.

One way to measure customer loyalty is through the net promoter score. An NPS measurement simply asks whether or not someone is likely to recommend your service or product to someone else. The rep, and their relationship with the customer plays a major role in this rating.

3) Customer Feedback

The final thing to measure is your customers’ feedback. What are they saying about you and the service you provide? What do they like about their connection to the company, and what do they not like?

Customers need to feel that they have a voice. Offering them a chance to give feedback and provide insights is a great way build a long-lasting and meaningful relationship.

Customer success managers can determine from customer feedback -- like surveys or questionnaires -- how well their reps are working with clients if they take the time to solicit regular feedback. It might be unpleasant to hear where your onboarding or customer service process is failing customers, but getting the chance to right a wrong before a customer jumps ship is invaluable.

To collect customer feedback and report on it, send out a survey. Pose a few questions to your customer base and determine how they feel about your customer support reps. Remember: Customer feedback shouldn't be solely about the product -- it should also cover how clients feel about the company as a whole.

You could also hold a "customer day." Invite some folks to your office or headquarters for lunch or a meeting, and talk to them one-on-one. Note their facial expressions and body language when they reflect on the service they receive and how they would improve their experience.

Instead of making calls for the sake of making calls, customer support reps are instead turning their attention to relationships and what happens after they make a sale. The metrics that matter have shifted, and the customer success organization is adjusting accordingly. These three metrics are worth watching as you help your customer success team ramp up.

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