The Metrics These Customer Success Leaders Use to Define Success

January 17, 2020

Companies love new customers.

But, if a customer doesn’t know how to use the product or is dissatisfied with the experience, they aren’t likely to return — and worse, they’ll influence others about that company’s performance. Enter the customer success team, which ensures clients utilize the most out of company products and have a positive customer experience. 

What determines customer success is measured by customer metrics, like positive experiences, low customer churn, spending trends — or something else entirely. For PaymentCloud’s customer success team, it took establishing, then re-evaluating, some of the company’s metrics to better evaluate their customer’s experience.   

“Since shifting our focus to increased record-keeping and relationship management, we have better insight into our workflow from the customer’s perspective,” said PaymentCloud’s Operations Team Lead Carolina Barbalace.

We asked Barbalace and CareerArc’s SVP of Client Success Mark Fordham about what specific metrics they use to define customer success, what works, what they’ve changed and how those metrics impact their results.

 

Mark Fordham
Senior Vice President of Client Success

Getting a job is all about “who you know,” including who you know on social media. CareerArc uses social media to connect companies with job seekers. To ensure that companies are getting the most out of their job postings, SVP of Client Success Mark Fordham said that its client success organization plays an invaluable role in the process.  

 

Tell us what success looks like for one of your customers. What specific metrics does your CS team use to measure this success?

In client success, we measure a number of key internal and external success metrics to ensure we align our activities and efforts to the outcomes our customers seek. 

For internal metrics, we measure a net promoter score, which ensures that we understand how we’re being perceived and spoken about to other organizations. We also have a client effort score, which measures how easy it is for our clients to work with us. This ensures we have a strong rigor around quickly identifying areas of our service delivery framework that need improvement.

We also look at gross and net retention. We closely track retention both from a gross and net perspective so we can see trends from customers who choose to leave entirely, those who stay with us, and those who grow. We look at this through the lens of thoughtful cohort analysis so we can cluster similar customers and see how they perform against their peers.

The external metrics our customers use are cost per hire, time to fill open positions, employer brand engagement and brand impact.
 

[Customers] experience value when their pain points are being addressed and their goals are being achieved.’’

 

What's one metric you didn't use to track but do now? What prompted your team to start tracking this?

At CareerArc, we onboard dozens of new clients each month. We track many of the typical onboarding metrics, including customer satisfaction, timeliness, client engagement and initial training and adoption milestones. 

The one metric we were tracking, though inaccurately, was a metric known as “time to first value,” which was measured as the amount of time between the close of the sale and when the customer is on board.  

Our error was how we were defining “onboarded.” Rather than focusing on measuring the moment when our customers began to experience measurable value from our product, we focused our measurement primarily on the timely activation of the software itself. Though an important date to measure, a client isn’t necessarily seeing the benefits from the tool simply because a system has gone live — they experience value when their pain points are being addressed and their goals are being achieved. Once we reconditioned the team to define those specific goals and pain points upfront, assign and track the specific measurement of those being addressed, we reframed the definition of “onboarded” to that critical moment in time. 

After all, that is the way our customers were measuring us, so why not align our thinking to theirs? It has had a transformational effect on how we strategize with our customers, remove barriers to success and summon the collective strength of our entire organization in support of that mission.

 

Carolina Barbalace
Operations Team Lead

PaymentCloud specializes in securing hard-to-place merchant accounts for businesses seeking credit card processing. By focusing on customer service, Operations Team Lead Carolina Barbalace’s team has helped thousands of businesses find solutions through metrics like activation rates, processing history and volume. 

 

First, tell us what success looks like for one of your customers. What specific metrics does your CS team use to measure this success?

While we have an array of different industries our merchants come from, the goal is roughly the same from business to business: allow our merchants to be able to accept payments from their customers quickly, securely and seamlessly. 

In order to monitor this, we make sure to view every merchant’s activation rates, processing history and volume. Post-deployment can be a weak link in the chain of our customer success process, but tracking these aspects provides information about which accounts are being used and to what extent.
 

Information has become invaluable and allows us to grow without losing sight of our merchants.’’


What's one metric you didn't use to track but do now? What prompted your team to start tracking this?

Originally, we never kept track of the reasons why some merchants weren’t using their account after it was activated. Despite having access to account activity, reaching out to inactive merchants wasn’t something that we practiced. Since shifting our focus to increased record-keeping and relationship management, these metrics have given us insight into our workflow from the customer’s perspective. This has identified aspects of friction and space for improvement throughout their journey with our team. Information such as this has become invaluable and allows us to grow without losing sight of our merchants.

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