This is Digital Customer Success

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What’s next in customer health? Five leaders have their say

Deciding how to calculate your customer health score can vary from organization to organization. But one thing is true regardless of what industry or company size – it’s critical to have this scoring system to avoid churn. Here’s what these five Customer Success leaders predict will be the future of customer health.

Jan Young, Sr. Consultant Customer Success, The Success League

As a Customer Success Consultant, I help a lot of companies improve their customer health metrics. Bottom line—a meaningful, impactful customer health metric is iterative and, like many things in customer success, dependent on the product and customer base. Most importantly, it relies on a foundation: customer segmentation and customer journey.

  1. Your customer segmentation should be based on how the customer uses your product and the goals that they have in using your product. You may find you want to further segment your customer base by ARR, essentially your economics for the delivery of the customer journey.
  2. The customer journey should include the important milestones, behaviors, and outcomes for the customer segment you’ve identified.

Once you’ve mapped out the customer journey for the customer segment, and you know what milestones and outcomes you want to track, take the next step and analyze:

  • How each customer is performing against them and graph them out. Visuals are a great way to see how your customers are doing and where your “green”, “yellow”, and “red” customers are clustered.
  • The important elements and key moments in the customer journey that lever the biggest contributions to successful customers or lead to churn.

Then test it out. Iterate. Update as you develop new products and add more customers.

The benefit of this approach is you not only get a more meaningful, actionable customer health metric, but you can also identify areas of your customer success program that need alignment and improvements.

Kristi Faltorusso, VP of Customer Success, ClientSuccess

For years customer success leaders have designed their customer health scores based on internal objectives and metrics; these scores were rigid and assumed that all customers used their technology the same way – guess what, one size does not fit all. As we move into the future there are five predictions I believe we will start to see.

  1. Health scores based on customer segments – if you’ve grouped your customers correctly, the scoring mechanism should apply. With the shift towards a digitally-led engagement model and the continued focus on high engagement, making sure health is aligned will be key.
  2. Customer goals as a core contributing factor – if we know that customers who have achieved their goals are more likely to stay and grow, we should be tracking this closely in the health score. Weight this appropriately because this will make or break the partnership.
  3. Scores based on stage behaviors – Customers who are in onboarding will likely look a lot different than customers who are in their third year of the partnership, so it’s essential to focus on the right metrics.
  4. Customer health scores NOT customer churn scores – More people will focus on identifying what good looks like, not what bad looks like.
  5. Usage and adoption are here to stay – Not all customers will use your product the same way but one thing we know for sure, if they’re not using it at all, then they’re not getting value from it. This key component will stay integrated for years to come.

Irit Eizips, Chief Customer Officer and CEO, CSM Practice

In large companies, we will replace the customer health score with an upsell score and a customer risk score. This separation will help drive proactive activities by various specialized teams more accurately and efficiently. For the lower customer cohort, these scores will be calculated based on customer data and the algorithm will continuously improve over time by leveraging AI technology.

Jeff Heckler, Director of Customer Success Solutions, MarketSource, Inc.

In light of the explosion of digital customer success (digital CS), concentrated efforts need to be made, often on a quarterly basis, to maintain optimized and accurate health scores to maintain operational excellence. For brevity, I focus on two key areas: customer segmentation and customer journeys.

By organizing your customers into segmentations and cohorts with as much constraint as your organization can apply, you can best create meaningful KPIs and metrics at scale. The volume of data gathered here, over time for additional trend creation and predictive analytical analysis, is vital to creating meaningful benchmarks for comparison and modeling.

In parallel, the customer journey maps you establish will provide targeted moments of value and moments of truth which can then be utilized as key components to aggregating the overall customer health score.

As metrics from your digital CS operations are introduced into your overall customer health scores, start small and go slow. Use testing with control groups from the same segments and cohorts. Confirm the results with customer interviews and individual contributors, and face-to-face customer sentiment input. Most of all, include representatives from across your teams at all levels to maximize well-rounded, curated, and consensus-built observations and input.

Gemma Cipriani-Espineira, Chief Customer Officer, Chili Piper

At Chili Piper, we’re excited about automatically incorporating more direct customer feedback from surveys and commercial risk factors (mergers, acquisitions, POCs leaving) into our customer health scores this year.

Beyond this, I see an incredible opportunity for customer health scores to incorporate machine learning methods of data analysis to identify which product actions can lead to renewal, expansion, or churn. My vision is to use these to uncover hidden use cases or forgotten-about features that have a huge impact on end-users. I am excited about the new SaaS companies cropping up in this field who are offering to identify significant causations to help burn the churn!

Want to learn more about customer health? Check out inSided’s Customer Health Magazine. 

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