Metrics You Can Use to Improve Your Customer Success Strategy

In 2020, 60% of customers chose to do more business with a company because they enjoyed the service they received. Regardless of how effective the product or service they purchased was, more than half of customers chose to go back just because they liked how they were treated. That’s a large amount.

With the right customer success strategy, you can earn the loyalty that 60% of customers are eager to reward you with. This can make a huge difference in your revenue stream, as well as make it easier to broaden your base of dedicated customers. Here’s how to design and implement some unique metrics to improve your customer success strategy.

Table of Contents

Metrics You Can Use to Improve Your Customer Success Strategy:

  1. Your Customer Success Guiding Principle: Reflection
  2. First Things First: Change Starts at the Top
  3. Metrics You Can Use to Improve Your Customer Success Strategy
  • The Performance Perception Metric: A Ratio of Customer Ratings to Employee Self-Ratings
  • The Self-Evaluation Delta: Self-reflection Over Time
  • Rewards-based Customer Surveys

Your Customer Success Guiding Principle: Reflection

Reflection should lie at the heart of your consumer success strategy because it encourages a thoughtful approach that results in higher-quality data. To simplify your customer success strategy, you can segment it into two kinds of reflection:

  • Customers reflecting on their experiences
  • Employees reflecting on their performance

The first type of reflection, customers reflecting on their experiences, is nothing new: Customer feedback has been a hallmark of customer success strategies for decades. What makes the customer reflection process described below different isn’t so much the process itself but the investment you commit to gleaning the data.

By incorporating employee self-reflection, you encourage a culture focused on employees looking inward to find ways to boost their performance. This is better than employees being encouraged to point fingers at management, blaming external factors for customer success failures, primarily because it forces your workforce to hold themselves accountable. By taking ownership of both successes and struggles, you empower your employees instead of enabling sub-par performances.

First Things First: Change Starts at the Top

Speaking of reflection, are you willing to change your managerial style to improve your customer success strategy? Regardless of your age, it can be difficult to teach an “old” professional dog new tricks, but, most likely, you may need to embrace a mental shift or two. A good starting point is how you view the motivations of your customer success team, particularly by presuming the positive.

Presume the Positive

Customer success is driven by happy customers, not money, and it’s best to presume this positive view of their attitude. In the customer service industry, doing a great job has more power than money, benefits, and employee perks, and you can honour this truth if you:

  • Spend more time lauding their successes than addressing their weaknesses. For instance, if they do an exceptional job connecting with customers via SMS messaging, applaud their hard work and acknowledge them for overcoming any challenges involved.
  • Tell them, “I know you thrive off doing a good job, so here are some tools to help you meet your own high expectations.”
  • Honour their personal drive by involving them in the evaluation and benchmark-setting process.

In this way, by presuming the positive, you empower your employees and put them in a better position to improve their performance.

Metrics You Can Use to Improve Your Customer Success Strategy

By using the following metrics, you can give your customer success team tangible goals that enable significant, steady improvement.

The Performance Perception Metric: A Ratio of Customer Ratings to Employee Self-Ratings

The goal of this metric is to help members of your customer success team align their perception of how they’re doing with that of customers. In other words, it enables them to calibrate their self-reflective process through the lens of the customer. Here’s how it works:

1. Collect Numerical Customer Feedback

The first step is to initiate a customer feedback system using a single question. For example, the question could be, “Based on your experience with your support rep, how likely are you to recommend our company to others? Please choose a number from 1 to 5.”

The frequency with which you ask this question will depend on your business model, how and when you serve customers, and how much time they have to complete a one-question survey, such as one delivered through mobile messaging. Regardless of how often you collect the data, you can keep it in a relatively simple data collection system, even a basic spreadsheet.

It would be best to include some contextual information as well. In this way, you can use the aggregated results to identify situational trends. For example, you can have fields for:

  • The date the customer was served
  • The time of day the rep interfaced with the customer
  • Whether it was during a holiday season, a promotion, or shortly after a new product launch

Even if you use a simple spreadsheet, you can incorporate this contextual data without the customer’s assistance, ensuring a fast, convenient process for them. You can then analyse results using these contextual details to see if performance varies depending on the circumstance or if it’s relatively consistent despite external factors.

2. Have Employees Self-Evaluate Using the Same Question

Every time a customer answers the survey question, the customer success rep who dealt with them should answer a similar version but one that’s catered to them. For example, it could be, “Based on your interaction with that customer, how likely do you think they are to recommend our company to others? Please choose a number from 1 to 5.”

3. Create a Ratio-based Performance Perception Metric

For the ratio, the first number—or the numerator—should be the customer’s rating of the experience. The second number—the denominator—would be the employee’s rating. When the two numbers are factored into the ratio, a score of 1 or higher would be considered a positive thing.

It’s important, however, for this to be a metric that’s used only outside of their official evaluation. Otherwise, less-than-scrupulous employees would just underrate themselves every time to boost their ratio, which would, in reality, defeat the point. But by using a non-evaluative reflection method, you can better motivate your sales team.

How to Use the Performance Perception Metric

Over time, your employees should be able to do two things:

  • Roughly match their own rating with that of the customer. In other words, their score over the course of a month should be close to 1.
  • Identify what they could have done to make the customer’s experience better.

You can then sit down with each team member to discuss how they’re doing with each of these goals, offer suggestions, and listen to their own self-reflective feedback.

The Self-Evaluation Delta: Self-reflection Over Time

The Self-evaluation Delta involves two steps:

  • An employee self-reflects regarding both their strengths and growth areas. They then create a list of skills that lead to success, such as building rapport with customers, the ability to get the right answer during the first interaction, quickly finding answers through research, or asking others for help when hit with a challenge.
  • They share their list with a manager. The two of them then come up with a reflection rubric that helps the employee work on specific areas—chosen by both the employee and the manager. The rubric is used to produce a numerical metric.
  • The employee self-reports and has brief progress meetings with the manager over the course of 6 months or so. Both the employee and manager make notes regarding how the employee has hit the benchmarks in the rubric, and then they discuss their final score, essentially using data analysis to assess their performance.

Again, this may be best used in a non-evaluative context so the employee feels comfortable engaging in genuine self-reflection.

The Self-evaluation Delta would work best when analysed over the course of time, hence the term “Delta.” Both the customer success team member and the manager are looking for positive change from one time period to the next. For example, if the employee and manager sit down every two months, the discussion would focus less on the most recent scores and more on why they’ve changed and how the change could be even more positive in the future.

Rewards-based Customer Surveys

Incentivising customers to fill out surveys is nothing new, but, as mentioned earlier, making a stronger financial commitment to the process can make it more effective. For instance, the survey could be administered via a virtual phone system and take customers less than 30 seconds to complete and have no more than three questions. As a reward, they get 2% off their next order.

Even though slashing 2% can decrease profit margins, by committing to gathering customer feedback with this substantial reward, you’re making a firm statement—to all stakeholders—that customer feedback is important.

An auxiliary benefit of rewards-based customer surveys is they can also encourage future business. You’re essentially giving customers a store credit towards their next purchase. This may be enough to make you the preferred vendor when compared to a competitor with a similar price.

Similar to the Performance Perception Metric, by collecting contextual data in relation to each customer survey, you cannot only track customers’ perception of their own success, but you can also correlate peaks or valleys with situational factors. For instance, if customers give your customer success team higher or lower scores during the holiday season, you can share this information with your team, and they can use it to guide their tone and interactions to maximise the quality of their services.

Given the high percentage of customers who return to do business based on how they get treated by customer success team members, even a relatively small improvement in your program could pay big dividends. By using the Performance Perception Metric, the Self-evaluation Delta, and rewards-based customer surveys, you can encourage a customer-obsessed culture driven by self-reflection and steady improvement. This may not only empower your customer success team but result in higher customer loyalty and profits.