The success of businesses today is largely dependent on their customers’ success. Dissimilar to customer support which is more reactive in nature and focuses on solving problems and answering customer questions, customer success is more about bridging the gap between the current and ideal future state of customer relationships. In order to improve upon the current state of customer success, companies must look at what the data is telling them. Measuring customer success is complex and consists of many moving parts, none of which should be looked at in isolation. Customer success metrics are often interrelated and have cause/effect relationships, which is why it’s important to look at them holistically and from multiple perspectives.

With that said, let’s take a look at the different ways to measure customer success and how they all work together to build better customer relationships, and ultimately build better businesses.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

One way you can measure customer success is through your customer effort score. Your score is based on a customer satisfaction survey that measures the ease your digital experience. The easier it is for your customers to find what they’re looking for, the better score you’ll have.

Intuitive and contextually relevant digital experiences will lower your customer effort score and ensure customer loyalty, which continues to be a true business driver in our increasingly competitive landscape.

With AI-powered search, you can track your customers journeys and assess the efforts associated with each engagement. By having a constant pulse on your user experience, you can easily spot the inefficiencies of your journey by seeing where they get stuck. Having this visibility is critical in preventing frustration or worse, cancellation.

Reducing customer effort by getting them exactly what they’re looking for, the moment they need it, results in greater engagement and a higher CSAT score.

Suggested read for reducing customer effort: 

Blog PostPredictive Customer Engagement: It Starts with Knowledge Predictive Customer Engagement: It Starts with Knowledge

Net Promoter Score (NPS®)

Another valuable way to measure customer success is through your Net Promoter Score. Your NPS is the percentage of people you consider to be advocates of your company, product or service and is another key indicator of your customers’ loyalty

This metric typically comes from a survey as well and asks customers how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend. This metric is important to gauge now more than ever, with 62% of consumers turning to online reviews before purchasing a product and an overwhelming 90% of consumers trusting the recommendations of their networks.

Suggested read for how to create an NPS survey: Creating and sending a Net Promoter Score℠ survey to measure customer loyalty

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Today’s customer prefers to self-serve and the good news is, self-service is actually the most cost-effective way to drive customer satisfaction. A key component to keeping your customers satisfied is delivering a quick and contextually relevant experience.

The Consortium for Service Innovation has observed five key enablers for an efficient self-service model that will help to improve CSAT and better measure customer success:

  1. Findability of content. Making your content available to your customers is a crucial first step but making your content findable doesn’t end there. In order for your customers to find your content, it needs to be created with context in mind. Tying it directly to their intent drive consumption and satisfaction alike.
  2. Completeness of content. As you learn more about your customers and their preferences, it is important to keep content up to date so they are getting to most accurate and complete information. Doing so not only helps them to succeed but machine learning algorithms will recognize its value, deliver it to other customers with the same or similar query, and enable them to self-serve as well.
  3. Accessibility of content. It must be easy to find the self-service access point. Ideally, access to self-service is integrated into the user interface and is context-sensitive for when your customers are in-product. If self-service is a portal or web page, it must be obvious and easy to find.
  4. Navigation. Your self-service navigation must be intuitive for your customers and must align with their intent. “No dead ends” ensures there is a smooth way to transition from self-service to assisted support: click to chat or click to submit.  
  5. Marketing. Self-service requires a marketing plan. The “build it and they will come” model doesn’t work for self-service mechanisms. Overt and intentional actions are required to foster customer adoption.

In general, if customers find helpful information 40-50% of the time, they are likely to use self-service again. In a mature KCS environment where 90% of what we know is available on self-service within 90 minutes, the success rates reported are in the 80-85% range.

Suggested read for more about KCS: 

Blog PostHow Do I Know if KCS is Right For My Organization?

Case Deflection (CDR)

Case deflection is the rate that self-service resources eliminate a customer’s need for live assistance, and organizations have struggled with measuring it for ages. Understandably so, how do you measure customer success when something doesn’t happen?

Reporting on the different signals, both implicit and explicit, which indicate that case deflection occurred, requires usage analytics that track customers interactions through their journey on your self-service site. Most times when customers perform a search on a support site, consult a help document and then leave without creating a case, will be considered as self-service success–not to be confused with case deflection. Case deflection is measured by the display of a clear intention of logging a support case by accessing the case creation page, and aborting the process because the answer is suggested on that same page before a ticket is submitted.

Proactive and contextual content recommendations at precisely the right moment is only possible with AI-powered search. What’s more, AI capabilities provide the ability to quantify the impact of these recommendations, providing a new, meaningful way to measure case deflection.

Suggested read for measuring case deflection: 

Blog PostDeflection, Defined and Measured

Operational Efficiency

One of the benefits of an efficient customer success strategy driven by AI-powered search is the impact it has on your workforce. When customers are able to successfully self-serve, case deflection goes up and the cost per resolution goes down. With the repetitive tasks being automated, your support team can focus on larger, more complex tasks.

Not only does this keep employees engaged and consequently reduce churn, it enables your organization to scale support operations without adding significant costs or hiring.

Suggested read for bringing better self-service to your organization:

White Paper2017 Roadmap to Intelligent Self-Service

Case Resolution Time

When it comes to agent-assisted support, we’ve been conditioned to think that a strong measure of customer success is a low time to resolution. Historically, that was a fair assessment. When customers picked up a phone to call an agent, they expected the agent to have the answer at hand.

However, with the evolution into a self-service world, customers will sooner turn to your website, community, portal, forum, social media… just about any platform before reaching out to your support center. When your customers are able to successfully self-serve, you can expect fewer assisted support requests. This may have a negative impact on case resolution time as those requests for assisted support are often related to new and unknown issues which require additional research.

This is one of the many reasons support leaders need to consider multiple metrics and perspectives when measuring customer success.

Suggested read for improving agent-assisted support: 

White PaperYour Roadmap to Intelligent Assisted Support

Expansion Revenue Growth

A sure way to measure customer success is by expansion revenue. Expansion revenue is measured by how much of your new revenue is coming from your existing customers, and your organization’s ability to get them to grow with your product.

If your customer effort is low, satisfaction is high, and you’re putting the best information at their fingertips the moment they need it, your customers will want more of what you have to offer, resulting in a significant impact on your bottom line.

By helping to provide the right offers (products, training, etc.) at the right time, AI-powered self-service dramatically increases renewal, upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Suggested read for examples of companies increasing their ROI through customer success: 

Blog PostCoveo Recognizes Trailblazing Customers With The Impact Awards

While these are not the only ways to measure customer success, it is important to see how they are all interconnected and how collectively they are able to drive the success of organizations. For more information on how AI-powered search can make your organization more relevant to your customers, empower your employees and ultimately enhance your customer success strategy, check out our ebook which walks you through the Coveo Relevance Maturity Model™:

White PaperFrom Relevance Laggard to Leader: Becoming More Relevant to Your Customers, Communities, and Staff

About Samantha Demers

Samantha Demers is Coveo’s Senior Content Editor, based in Montreal, Quebec. She is a passionate marketing and communications professional who has built her career in the tech industry by helping companies bring their brands to life and remain relevant in their field. Her motto; “engage like a consumer, not like a marketer” helps Coveo connect with its audience throughout their Intelligent Insights journey.

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