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What Metrics Matter Most for CS Teams?

In the world of client success, metrics are king. But it seems like every interaction or strategy has numerous metrics attached. How can client success teams find the metrics that matter instead of getting lost in a sea of KPIs?

It requires a strategic approach to focus on the most impactful metrics.

Most large companies have more than 50 CX metrics — some up to 200. It’s easy to get distracted by metrics that tell the side story instead of focusing on the essential part of the business: customers.

“Don’t collect metrics for metric’s sake,” says Greg Lloyd, co-founder and CEO of Affinity Canvas. “Metrics should always be something that, when achieved, provide value to customers.”

There’s no single set of metrics that applies to all companies. The metrics that matter change depending on the product or service a company offers, the customers it reaches, and how it interacts with customers.

Define Your Objectives

With a wide variety of metrics to track, CS teams first need to decide the objective of their metrics. What are you trying to achieve by tracking metrics?

At a high level, the purpose of all metrics is to grow the business. But too often, brands get caught up in tracking trailing revenue-related numbers like churn or retention and fail to see the bigger picture. Those metrics are helpful for the executive team and shareholders, but customer success teams have objectives beyond just moving the bottom line and need to choose their metrics accordingly.

According to Forrester, metrics need to show the quality of the customer experience, how the company can improve that quality, and how the business will benefit from improving the customer experience.

Deciding the objective helps you narrow down the many possible metrics. Hone in on the metrics that will help your CS team succeed. These are often leading metrics that move the business and customer relationships forward by encouraging customers to fully engage with the brand. The metrics that will make customers successful will make the CS team successful, making the business successful.

Two Categories of Customer-Focused Metrics

The most important metrics to consider fall into two categories: engagement and perception.

Engagement metrics look at how well customers engage with a product or service. Key engagement factors differ depending on the type of product or service a brand offers. For some brands, customer engagement occurs when a customer has logged on to an app or website a certain number of times or spent a certain amount of time talking with an advisor or interacting with the product. What shows that the customer is getting the full benefit of the services? How does the CS team know that the customer is fully engaged? Those metrics define the experience. Focusing on leading metrics for engagement moves the customer relationship forward and leads to faster results than waiting to find out the causation of lagging indicators.

Perception metrics look at how customers view the product. They offer an inside look at what customers think about the product or service. Widely used metrics like CSAT or NPS track how customers feel about the brand and how satisfied they are with the product and service. In general, when customers are satisfied and likely to recommend the brand to family and friends, they are engaged with the product and more likely to be loyal customers.

Both engagement and perception metrics are vital to providing a complete view of the customer experience.

Designing Processes Around Metrics

Identifying the metrics is only half the battle. The real impact comes from creating a tactical process to track metrics and tie them into continually improving customer success efforts. It’s one thing to measure if a customer makes a purchase, but it’s another to track how well the brand delivers value and gets the customer to engage. The process is where CS teams have the chance to shine.

Build a process to work towards engagement. If you decide the customer needs to have so many interactions with the product to be engaged or complete a certain amount of training, design a process for the CS team that directs the customer towards that engagement.

The true mark of metrics that matter is if they can be used to design a process to get the customer to the objectives and continually enhance the numbers. Thoughtfully and strategically tracking meaningful metrics can transform the customer experience to create more impactful and valuable interactions with customers.

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