A good customer success team drives continuous value to the customer at every point in the customer lifecycle journey. The job of the customer success team entails myriads of responsibilities, including proper onboarding, increasing product usage, proactively managing accounts, customer engagements, and training, expanding and renewing accounts, and so on.
Customer success teams use playbooks and strategies in their ongoing efforts to ensure customers achieve operational success and maximize value from your solution offerings. But how do you measure the effectiveness of your customer success team and their playbooks? The answer varies for different companies, but the customer success team performance metrics below are an excellent place to start.
As a customer success team leader, these metrics provide a solution to demonstrate the value of your customer success team to top executives and other teams. As a business leader, you can use these customer success team performance metrics to measure the ROI of the customer success team.
Note, every customer success metric you can measure falls into one of these four categories:
- Customer Success Team Performance Metrics
- Customer Usage Metrics
- Customer Financial Metrics
- Customer Heath Metrics
While we focus on team performance KPIs in this blog, we’ll examine each customer success metric category in separate blogs. You may wish to follow the links above to learn more about other Customer Success metric categories.
Customer Success Team Performance Metrics You Should Monitor
The metrics proposed in this blog provide a means to track the performance of your customer success team and its initiatives:
1. Onboarding Rating
During client onboarding, customer success teams nurture new users, transfer knowledge, and set the stage for the post-sales customer experience. This critical phase is where customers get a first-hand experience of the potential value of the product to their key business outcomes, and as a result, they form their first impressions. These deep-rooted first impressions are crucial to the customer journey.
At the end of the onboarding process, you can conduct a quick survey about the customer’s experience with their particular customer success manager involved during the onboarding process. The resulting onboarding rating from these surveys reflects the customer relationship and management skills for each member of the customer success team. Consistently low onboarding ratings might indicate a need to optimize the onboarding process.
2. Average Time to First Value
Clients use your solution because they expect to receive value. Delivering value to your clients requires understanding their key business goals. The customer success team is responsible for providing value to different customers based on each customer’s unique business goals. Average time to first value measures how long it takes your customer success teams to deliver value to your customers. An increase in this metric over time is a sign that your customer success team is becoming more efficient at its core goals.
Average Time to First Value = Total Number of Days from Start of Onboarding to First Value for All Customers / Number of All Customers
3. Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score (CES) measures how much effort a customer has to exert to accomplish a task such as signing up for a trial, upgrading a subscription, renewal, requesting for training. The ease of these experiences forms the basis for customer loyalty which is crucial to business growth in a competitive landscape.
CES is measured through surveys on a numeric scale after an interaction with a customer success manager. High customer effort to accomplish tasks related to customer success indicates multiple barriers and pain points in the customer lifecycle journey.
4. Engagement Activity
Highly engaged customers buy more, stay longer, and are better advocates. Research by Gallop found that fully engaged customers are 23% more profitable than the average customer. Emails, phone calls, and executive sponsor visits are a few of the engagement activities that help to understand customer goals better, identify at-risk customers, identify expansion opportunities and enhance brand loyalty.
Engagement activity measures the amount of proactive, high-value, customer-centric touchpoints a Customer Success Manager or Customer Success team has with customers over a specified period.
Engagement Activity = Number of Engagement Touch-point Over A Certain Period
5. Advocacy Activity
Customer advocacy is no doubt crucial to gaining new customers in both services and technology companies. Advocates occur naturally but it is the job of the customer success team to promote advocacy among your successful customers. Advocacy activity measures the number of advocacy activities your CSM or Customer Success team drove, such as referrals, reviews, case studies, etc.
Advocacy Activity = Number of Advocacy Activities Over A Certain Period
6. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the percentage of your customers that are likely to recommend your SaaS solution to others. When considered in context with other customer success performance metrics, the NPS score can provide tangible insight to access your customer success team’s effectiveness. Poor NPS scores may indicate poor onboarding, education or support playbooks. To measure the NPS score, ask your customers how likely they are to recommend your solution on a scale of 1 to 10.
Promoters: 9 – 10 (Happy to recommend your solution)
Passives: 7 – 8 (May recommend your solution)
Detractors: 0 – 6 (Will not recommend your solution)
NPS = Percentage of Promoters – Percentage of Detractors
7. Gross Renewal Rate
Subscription Renewal Rate is directly connected to customer success team performance. Gross renewal rate is the percentage of the renewable revenue that was renewed without taking expansion revenue closed with the renewals into account. Gross renewal rate is a fundamental indicator of customer success team performance as it implies that customers are staying because they consistently receive value from your solution.
Gross Renewal Rate = (Renewable ARR – Downsell – Churn) / Renewable ARR
8. Net Revenue Retention Rate
Net Revenue Retention rate measures the percentage of recurring revenue that is retained for a specified period, including revenue from account expansion. It measures the financial position of your business if no new customers are acquired. It also helps to identify which Customer Success managers are better suited to work in different customer segments.
Measuring net revenue retention rate instead of churn rate is a reminder to the customer success team that it should be proactively driving value and retaining customers rather than merely reacting to customers that are at imminent risk of churn.
Net Revenue Retention = (Starting ARR + Expansion – Downsell – Churn) / Starting ARR
9. Quarterly Expansion Revenue
This is another financial metric that can be used to demonstrate the ROI (Return of Investment) of the customer success team. The better your Customer Success managers are at aligning your solution to customer needs, the higher the chance that customers will expand their relationship and business with you.
Like many other metrics, expansion revenue should be tracked over time. A red flag would be a sudden or consistent decrease in expansion revenue for the customer success team or a particular CSM with expansion revenue numbers below average.
Customer Success teams at Technology and Services businesses spend much time tracking and improving product usage, customer health, and other KPIs. However, it is equally important to monitor the performance of the customer success team to recognize its strengths and weakness as well as demonstrate its internal value to the health of your company. Accountability is essential in customer success to establish a culture of improvement.
Follow the links below to learn about additional important customer success metric you should monitor: