How to Quantify Customer Success

Customer success is something we all strive for. However, we tend to focus most on the metrics that directly impact the bottom line, and there’s much more to it than that.

Sales conversions may be the ultimate endgame, but customer retention, engagement, and reputation are all critical aspects as well. Though these attributes may be more difficult to quantify into hard numbers, they are essential mechanisms in the quest for business growth.

Quantifying Customer Success: Four Essential Elements

You can think of customer success as a footbridge between scale and the status quo. Here are some insights and actionable advice to get you thinking:

1.     Know Your Customer

It goes without saying that you should play to your audience, but how well do you really know them? Knowing your customer means that you can give them what they want without a lot of trial and error. This shortens your conversion timelines and helps you get more done in a shorter amount of time.

How to do it: Develop ideal customer personas to better understand their intent. Identify their pain points and highlight common problems that you can solve for them. This way, you won’t just be pitching them, you will be delivering value and building trust.

2.     Build Engagement

You can’t possibly solve problems or build authority with your customers unless you know what they’re saying. Pay attention to their comments and feedback; make sure the conversation goes both ways. Keep in mind, too, that negative feedback is just as powerful as positive feedback. Take what you learn and use it to improve and grow.

How to do it: Provide your customers with a multitude of ways to engage with you. Solicit feedback, engage directly with them, share what you hear across all your customer touchpoints. Listen first; because you’ll never learn anything if you’re the one doing all the talking.

3.     Customer Retention

The cost of gaining a new customer can be 500 percent greater than what it costs to keep an existing one. With that in mind, it makes a lot of sense to make sure your current customers are happy. Despite this statistic, many companies put more focus on customer acquisition than retention.

How to do it: The key to customer retention is to create a great customer experience. Use every channel at your disposal – to ensure you are giving your customers a cohesive and consistent experience.

4.     Business Growth

If you’ve applied the previous three principles, then business growth should follow. To sustain that growth, you should always be looking for new ways to meet your customer’s needs. This could be through new products, enhanced services, or by making life easier for them in some way.

How to do it: Once you have established a reputation in your niche, maintain and build it by continuing to improve and innovate. No industry exists in a vacuum. Always be on the leading edge of new insights, technology, and information that your customer base craves and deliver it to them in a way they can understand. This way, you will always be top-of-mind when it comes time to buy.

The Customer Success Equation: How to Measure these Elements

We can all count money, but what about all that other stuff that goes into making the bacon? It’s easy to see the results of customer success, but how do you put it into numbers?

Here are the elements and KPIs you should be tracking:


Your total reach relates to the number of prospective customers as well as your current customer base. How effectively are you reaching your target audience? Is your customer getting value from your product or service? Has it solved their problem?


Engagement is critical to business growth. Knowing how many of your customers are interacting with your product helps you see past the blind spots that may hinder your progress.


Do you know how reliably your product performs for your customers? This metric, seen through the customer’s lens, is an indispensable gauge of customer success.


How long does it take to meet your customer’s needs? Bottom line: the faster your team or product can help the customer achieve their desired outcome, the happier the customer will be.

How Success4 Can Help You Quantify Customer Success

Success4 is a tool designed to help teams better manage their customer success programs. Our platform provides you with a 360˚ view of your customer journey, helping you quickly identify what’s working, and more importantly, what isn’t.

To learn more or to request a free trial, reach out today.

Link to 2-minute video


Who should own Customer Success

One of the challenges of being in Customer Success is it often gets lost inside an organization in terms of who it should report into. In a recent survey I conducted, I found no dominant area

Your Customer Success Team Reports Into

CEO or CCO                                                    23.81%

VP of Sales or CRO                                          33.33%

VP of Customer Support or Services               ]33.33%

VP of Engineering                                           ]4.76%

Other                                                               4.76%

(Survey results August 2019, Customer Success Professionals in the Boston area)

One other concern is that Customer Success was more frequently part of a reorganization, moving from one group to another. While the goals and objectives of the Customer Success team may stay the same, the goals and objectives of the larger organization may influence how its mission is carried out. For example, when Customer Success is part of a support organization it is highly unlikely CSM’s compensation will be tied to revenue goals, but when that same team moves into sales and the VP of Sales wants to drive a renewal number, you’re more likely to see comp plans change. While I don’t see a right or wrong side to this, an organization has to build historical evidence to understand what is effective and what is not.

The other area that is important is responsibility. When a team is involved in an outcome but is not responsible for that outcome it gets difficult to model behavior. Two areas that come to mind are expansion sales and renewals. I see more Customer Success teams owning renewals, but in many cases another team will own the goal. Expansion I tend to see more organizations treat Customer Success like a lead generation engine and still look to sales to own the goal. I am not saying this is wrong, but the challenge is fostering behaviors that drive outcomes when Customer Success does not own that outcome.

From the survey I found a majority of Customer Success organizations focused on onboarding and adoption (more services or support based functions) while a lower percentage focused on the more sales-oriented functions of expansion/up-sell and renewal.

Functional Area Customer Success is Involved In

On-boarding – helping customers get started                                    76.19%

Adoption – helping customers achieve business goals                       90.48%

Expansion/up-sell – helping customers explore new capabilities      47.62%

Renewal – ensure customers see value                                              66.67%

Other                                                                                                   14.29%

(Survey results August 2019, Customer Success Professionals in the Boston area)


Controlling Your Customer Success Data in the Cloud

Customer success is vital to your business and so is the integrity and security of your data. With the current rate of technology advancement and innovation today, we are producing and collecting more data than ever before. That data needs to be stored securely and in compliance with the regulatory framework of your industry.

You want to remain cost-effective, and nimble to scale, but security remains paramount. Federal and international penalties can reach into the tens of millions of dollars, while the overarching damage that can occur from a major data breach may be insurmountable.

In the effort to achieve customer success, a reliable, secure solution is needed to keep systems up and running and protect your data from cyberthreats or unauthorized access. While security in the cloud today is better than it ever has been, the potential for a breach is ever-present, calling for a more robust approach.

Are you concerned about managing customer data in the cloud?

Cloud-based solutions are convenient, but if your business requires full control of the application environment and your data due to contractual or compliance needs, a hybrid-cloud solution may be more appropriate.

Beyond data security, for some companies and situations, migrating your entire customer success workload and the associated customer data to the cloud can be a big leap.

Some of your concerns may include:
● Control: How much control do I have of my systems in case of disaster?
● Cost: How will scale impact the economy of my solution?
● Availability: Will my systems and applications be online and ready to go when I need them?
● Performance: Will my systems and data perform as they should?
● Security: Will I have control over how my data is accessed?

Benefits of on-premise, hybrid-cloud, and private cloud data implementations

On-premise control of your systems, data, and applications gives you complete oversight over how your data is secured. You retain full application control and can securely manage all your data within your on-premise environment.

Performance is enhanced because you are hosting the application adjacent to your critical business applications, minimizing data redundancy, and ensuring data locality and availability at all times.

Whether you operate in an on-premise environment, a private cloud, or a hybrid-cloud infrastructure, Success4 can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Our cloud solutions are fully adaptable to even the most highly regulated security frameworks, ensuring your business continuity.

Compliance concerns addressed

If you have special security requirements, such as if you are limited by a regulatory framework that prohibits an all-in migration to the cloud, the Success4 platform can be adapted to it.

Some of the frameworks we support include payment processing regulations (PCI DSS), the HIPAA requirements for healthcare organizations, and FISMA. We are also compliant with the GDPR as well as the latest data protection laws elsewhere in the world.
A solution tailored to your unique needs
Many companies today are opting for a hybrid-cloud solution that combines the best of both worlds. A hybrid architecture gives you complete control of your data and delivers all the security, performance, and availability advantages of an on-premise solution – with the added flexibility and control.
Using a modern hybrid-cloud architecture
If full control of your data is a requirement for you, consider looking for a customer success platform that can offer you full deployment flexibility so you can manage and control where your data lives. As an example, Success4 uses a Kubernetes managed Hybrid-Cloud Container Platform Architecture.

Deployment flexibility allows you to decide where you want your customer success solution and data to reside; your data center, your private cloud, your hybrid cloud, the public cloud or our secure SaaS infrastructure. This helps to ensure you stay compliant with all regulatory frameworks while assuring your data integrity. This also allows you to choose an approach that aligns with your security and compliance practices, a critical feature for companies who manage sensitive applications and customer data.

A hybrid cloud approach can also support a cloud-based backup strategy, a disaster recovery plan (DRP), or be a driver of cost-efficiency.

Success4’s hybrid-cloud approach gives you complete control over your data while ensuring security from end-to-end.


Getting Full ROI from your Customer Success Investment

Getting the most Return from your Customer Success Investment with Automation

It’s not a matter of whetherif you should invest in Customer Success, you’ve already done that. It’s not a small investment to hire a new team, build the right strategy and transform many of the processes that drove drive your business. But making sure that investment sees its highest return is not always easy. Having recently talked with several organizations I see a lot of reorganization with Customer Success being the pawn between groups. While Customer Success goals may be the same, each groups charter can influence how the team achieves those goals. Budgets can also be influenced and impact the effectiveness of the original investment. The one constant I have seen is that providing Customer Success teams the right tools, to automate tasks, provides the greatest ROI.

Let’s start by looking at how we would measure ROI for a Customer Success Team.

1. Reduce churn – You should be able to measure the number of customers the Customer Success team touches and a historical impact of those customers
2. Time to Value – The quicker a customer adopts your product or service, the faster they consume what they bought and the faster they need more
3. Expansion – Happy customers buy more, but more importantly, helping customers identify areas they can take advantage of your product or services leads to more sales

These are traditional revenue areas, renewals and upsell, that used to be driven from a sales organization. Customer Success compliments those efforts (or in some cases replaces them) and should be measured on its success in doing so. But just as you provide the right tools, such as CRM, to your sales team to drive revenue, automation is key for your Customer Success team. Let’s look at some metrics to prove that point.

Let’s assume that a CSM has 100 customers and that each customer has an ARR of $10,000. That’s a $1,000,000 ARR per CSM.

If you use a 40-hour work week, on average, you will have 24 minutes for each of your 100 customers. Without automation the majority of that time is spent doing research, finding data from multiple systems, typing up emails, determining next steps. You have no way to determine which of those steps impacted that customer or drove the results you were anticipating. It’s like asking for marketing team to set up campaigns by manually talking to each prospect and having no way to track what was successful.

Automation helps maximize that ROI:

• Identifies who needs attention the most and what actions to take
• Removes manual steps such as updating different systems, typing up the same email or scheduling follow-ups


4 Effective Customer Success Strategies for 2019

For any company, determining customer success involves a variety of factors—not just product/service quality. In order to stand out in today’s evolving marketplace, businesses must recognize the importance of customer experience. A satisfied customer is a loyal customer. So, how can your business capitalize? It all comes down to incorporating effective customer success strategies. With the right methods in place, you can look forward to an increase in profits and growth in audience. Here are four of the most effective customer success strategies to adopt in 2019.

1. Make onboarding easy for new customers
Once your sales team has turned a prospect into a customer, you must begin the onboarding experience. Onboarding involves welcoming a new customer into the fold, guiding them toward successful and effective use of your company’s product or service. This stage of customer success is crucial. If your customer is not thoroughly acquainted from the beginning, it will be that much easier for them to feel disheartened and back out.

Onboarding should be, above all else, a friendly and encouraging step for your customer. Critically, it must also be seamless for everyone involved. The more you personalize and simplify the onboarding experience for your customer, the better. Assess their expectations, remind them of their goals upfront, and supply them with the tools and resources required. After all, when a new customer obtains immediate value from your product, they are more likely to continue using it, refer new prospects to you and most importantly, become a reference.

2. Increase response turnaround on customer support
Response time is another metric that B2B companies must continually improve. When customers reach out with issues, it’s best to diffuse the situation quickly and provide immediate assistance. In order to ensure that customers are responded to in a timely manner, management should create specialized roles for monitoring consumer feedback. Believe it or not, many companies do not place great value on efficient response turnaround. In fact, some companies do not answer customer issues at all and customers recognize this. Therefore, businesses that do operate with an effective and responsive support team in place tend to have increased customer satisfaction.

Again, this incredibly common pitfall is easy to avoid. Respond to customer support emails quickly and courteously. This works even if the responding employee does not have the product knowledge or sufficient expertise to assist. Simply by informing the customer that their request has been processed and help is on the way means everything.

3. Be proactive—recognize issues before your customers do
Businesses with an effective and efficient customer support team in place are typically more successful than those without. However, in addition to customer support, it is imperative that your customer success team is proactively anticipating potential issues and addressing them before your clients surface them. Recognizing and fixing problems ahead of time ensures that your customers feel valued and important.

Here’s where Customer Success Automation with augmented intelligence (AI) can make a difference. Based on many different triggers, AI can proactively help you predict customer issues and resolve them in a timely manner. Always monitor product efficiency—save yourself, and customers, the headache of becoming as predictive as possible.

4. Turn Customers into Advocates
As a business, the ability to form meaningful connections with your customers (in little time) ensures greater reach and faster turnaround. Once these connections are made, it becomes easier for companies to communicate directly with their customers in an accessible, informal manner. Your customers should provide you with direct feedback on your product/services, and if they don’t…ask!

Implementing a customer feedback process isn’t complicated and can help in many ways. NPS scores are critical for customer success teams. Implementing a process to collect this information informs you on whether that customer is likely to recommend you to others.

There you have it! Four key strategies that your business can incorporate in order to boost customer success. By adhering to, and effectively executing these methods of customer engagement, you can expect an increase in revenue and a happier, long-lasting customer base.