The First Secret of Customer Success
The first secret of Customer Success isn't a secret at all. It's been out there for decades, and is one of the most widely quoted phrases in management:
You can't manage what you can't measure
—Peter Drucker, Management Guru
The real secret here is how this applies to Customer Success, and to your company specifically.
I'm going to say something bold here:
Churn is not the metric you should care about.
Allow me to clarify: Churn is not the ONLY metric you should care about. Why? Churn is a lagging indicator; with annual renewals, it can take up to 18 months to see an improvement in your churn rate.
18 months is a LONG time. How will your CEO, CFO, or Board of Directors feel about this? Not great, to say the least.
So how do you know if you're on the right track? What metrics will you measure (and manage!) to see improvement in the health of your customer base well before renewal?
There are dozens of early indicators, depending on your business.
Here are three quick ideas
1. Key Feature usage
You know the features that set you apart from your competition, but do you know the real-world healthy usage patterns? What customers are following those patterns, which are not? How soon can you identify those who are at-risk, and what will you do to intervene?
2. Implementation progress
Without successful and complete implementation, churn is nearly inevitable. Ride the wave of excitement your new customers experience during the sales cycle - their enthusiasm for your product has never been higher! - and ensure a timely, painless implementation with short time to value.
3. Support engagement
No news is good news, right? Not always. If your product is complex, highly configurable, or drives significant organizational change, a certain amount of engagement with your Support team is healthy.
As we mentioned, there are dozens of early indicators…What makes sense for your products? If you need help, The Customer Initiative is ready!
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