Customer success is essential for every SaaS company. It ensures your customers stay engaged, stay happy and, most importantly for your recurring revenues, that they stay subscribed. But to ensure your users are able to get ongoing value from your service, you need to know what success looks like for your users and how to measure it.
One major advantage of SaaS over one-time sales is the opportunity to have long-term relationships with your customers which allows you to gain a much deeper understanding of them and what value they want from your service. From this, you can then continually refine your service to best enable customer success, which reduces churn and grows your customer base. Knowing what success means for your users can help you identify causes for unsubscribing so you can take steps to prevent it from happening.
The frequency with which users log into your service and how they spend their time on it should give you a good indication of your customers’ level of success. For customers to be successfully getting value from your service, they obviously should be using it regularly. Usage is often the greatest predictor of churn with low usage usually an indication of low customer success and a precursor to a user unsubscribing.
In addition to the frequency of users logging in, you can also look at how they are interacting with your service. If they are only using certain features, that may indicate you should be focusing on further developing those elements that are in demand and perhaps removing other unused elements altogether. Alternatively, your unused features might be useful to your users but they may not know that they are available. If that is the case, then communications that educate users on those features will enhance their overall success with your service.
A KPI you can use to track success is the Rate of Adoption, which is how many of your customers are considered to have fully adopted your product. “Fully-adopted” can be defined however it is appropriate for your service. For example, “fully adopted” could be defined as logs in at least 3 times a week and takes a certain action every time they log in. Tracking this against other data on churn, customer lifecycle, customer onboarding and customer lifetime value can provide valuable insights into the success of your customers and can indicate ways to improve.
Directly soliciting customer feedback can be another way to gain a solid understanding of how your customers define success and if they are achieving it. This can be done through formalized customer surveys that can ask for qualitative or quantitative information regarding their satisfaction with your service. From this feedback, you can continually improve customer success strategies.
Some specific KPIs that can indicate customer success are Net Promoter Scores (NPS), which tells you how likely a customer would be to recommend your product to their networks, and Customer Effort Scores (CES), which tells you how much effort a customer had to exert to accomplish a certain task. There are many proven customer satisfaction survey methods that you can use and tweak to best understand the success of your users.
There are also less qualitative ways of monitoring customer success that can nevertheless give you a good understanding of what users are looking for. This includes social media listening, keeping track of clients who have left you and researching what your competitors’ users are saying. Although customers may not say anything directly about your company, if you keep your ear to the ground in your industry, you will hear what customers are looking for and what isn’t working for them. This kind of monitoring can give you another leg up on traditional tracking methods.
Establishing a way to monitor your customers’ success on an ongoing basis and regularly incorporating insights gained is vital. Whether it’s through tracking usage or asking your customers directly, it is important to know how your customers define success and how they are achieving it. The SaaS companies that succeed are the ones that are able to continually adapt and deliver based on this information.