Top 11 Social Metrics for Support

Social media strategies introduce non-conventional opportunities to deliver Support. Instead of providing direct assisted services or self-help content, Support creates an environment for others within the community to provide the expertise to help other customers. As Support develops social channels it must consider how to measure the impact of these strategies relative to their pursuit of technical support excellence.

Top 11 Social Metrics for Support

Here are eleven social metrics for Support

1. Active Forums

The number of distinct sites where your products and service-related issues are discussed in an active and ongoing way.

May include your own discussion forums, or those hosted by third parties (e.g. product user groups, professional associations, publications, etc.).

2. Thread Density

The proportion of discussion threads that include topics directly related to your products or services.

Density may be as high as 100% if an active forum is dedicated to your product.

3. Customer Engagement

The percent of the customer base that actively uses the community.

This indicates the extent to which the entire installed base for a specific product line or brand uses a community (e.g. if individuals from 100 companies out of a total installed base of 1,000 companies use a forum the Customer Engagement rate is 10%).

4. Entitlement

The percent of customers that use the community that are also entitled to support (e.g. they are covered by an active support contract).

This is the percent of the “engaged customers” that are entitled to request assisted support.

5. High Severity

The extent to which topics of high/critical severity are discussed.

High Severity of 5% indicates that at least 5 percent of the discussions about your products relate to issues that impeded the user’s ability to successfully use a key product feature and/or to use the product to support a critical business function.  You can align this metric with your own severity level definitions.

6. Deflection

The rate that existing threads successfully resolve customer issues to the point where issues are resolved without engaging assisted support resources.

For a definition of deflection see the article titled: How to Define and Measure Deflection

7. New Issues

The rate that new topics related to your products are being discussed but have not been previously reported to Support.

If 20% of issues discussed through the community are unfamiliar and no solution has been developed the “New Issue” rate is 20%.

8. Resolved by Known

The rate that topics discussed within the community are resolved by a “known” answer.

If 30% of issues discussed through the community can be resolved by a previously documented answer to an issue from the knowledge base or other discussion thread, then the “Known Issue Rate” rate is 30%.

9. Knowledge Overlap

The extent to which topics discussed within a community are currently covered within the knowledge base.

Like the “known rate”, knowledge overlap indicates the rate that issues discussed within the community could (or should) be answered by existing knowledge base articles.

10. Knowledge Gap

The extent to which topics discussed within the community are not covered within the knowledge base.

Like the “new issue rate”, knowledge gap indicates the rate that issues discussed within the community cannot be answered by existing knowledge base articles.

11. Sentiment

The general tone of the active forum as it relates to customer / user feelings about your products and services.

A sentiment score is typically calculated by using a text analytics tool designed to extract customer “feelings” from the text of a community post.

Featured: Social Media - Implications and Opportunities for Service and Support

Social media’s ability to empower consumers by giving them the voice to discuss their problems and perceptions publicly has dramatically shifted the business/customer relationship. Companies need a strategy to engage socially with customers. Service and support organizations should view social media as a platform to gain insights about the issues, questions, and perceptions customers have about their products.  If you don’t have a Social Media strategy for Support, it’s time. It’s better to start small than not start at all.  This perspective describes the reasons why business, and particularly service and Support organizations, must embrace a social media strategy.

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Top 11 Social Metrics for Support

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Where Customers Look for Support Information

More than two-thirds of customers indicate that they attempt to help themselves when they need technical assistance. A general web search (e.g. Google or Bing) is the most likely first action customers take when attempting to resolve technical support issues on their own. In general customers find good information and are reasonably satisfied with their results.  This ServiceXRG study examines the expectations and perceptions of 588 individuals that use self-help resources to resolve technical support issues.

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Try Being your Own Customer

Periodically we need to stop and place ourselves in our customers shoes and experience what we ask them to experience.

Over the past year I have been working on a project that has required me to contact Support for over a dozen companies – platform service providers, software vendors and hardware companies, etc. 

In general, my support experiences have been very positive.

My preference is to contact companies electronically, but every so often I pick up the phone and call (yes, you can still get support by phone). 

A recent support interaction by phone prompted me to write an article titled HAVE YOUR TRIED TO CALL YOUR COMPANY FOR SUPPORT? 

In fairness to the company (whose name I will not mention) the support they provided once I connected was very good, but

the hurdles I had to go through to get to a live person were unpleasant.

Whether you are the CEO, Chief Customer Officer, Senior Service or Sales Executive, a Support Manager or the person on the other end of the Support line – try being your customer. 

Do it more than once.

See if the experience your company provides is the one that you would like to receive. 

Make the time – it is worth it.

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Top 11 Social Metrics for Support

Social media strategies introduce non-conventional opportunities to deliver Support. Instead of providing direct assisted services or self-help content, Support creates an environment for others within the community to provide the expertise to help other customers. As Support develops social channels it must consider how to measure the impact of these strategies relative to their pursuit of technical support excellence.

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Social media’s ability to empower consumers by giving them the voice to discuss their problems and perceptions publicly has dramatically shifted the business/customer relationship. Companies need a strategy to engage socially with customers. Service and support organizations should view social media as a platform to gain insights about the issues, questions, and perceptions customers have about their products. If you don’t have a Social Media strategy for Support, it’s time. It’s better to start small than not start at all.

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Service Onboarding

When new customers purchase service agreements you must make certain that they understand how to access and use the services they are entitled to through a formal service onboarding process.

To successfully onboard customers contact them personally by phone or e-mail (personal touch) or by automated e-mail (tech-touch) and provide them with welcome kits, service guides and even how-to videos.  Help them to get setup with service access (e.g. credentials for the Support portal).

A single initial contact is typically not enough. Monitoring service entitlement use is important to identify customers that are not benefiting from their service relationship.  When you enable customers to use the services they have access to, you increase the likelihood that they will receive benefit and renew their relationship.

Best Practices

  • Contact new customers personally by phone or e-mail (personal touch) or by automated e-mail (tech-touch) to introduce them to their service entitlements.
  • Create a welcome kit with a service guide and usage tutorials to teach customers how and when to engage services.
  • Make certain customers know how to access and use services, especially self-help resources.
  • Discourage the practice of attaching service contracts to products without reviewing service terms and conditions with customers.
  • Monitor service use. When customers do not use services engage them to encourage consumption of service entitlements.
  • Coordinate service onboarding with product onboarding activities.

Featured: Customer Success Practices and Metrics

This study examines the approach companies use to organize, deliver and measure their Customer Success initiatives. Log-in to get your copy.

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*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

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What Customers Need To Be Successful

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The Journey from Support to Customer Success

The journey from Technical Support to Customer Success requires more than a name change or the addition of a team of Customer Success Managers. To fully embrace Customer Success, Support must rethink its role and adopt new ways to engage, retain and grow customer relationships. This article introduces four key milestones to help you define essential Customer Success capabilities.

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Is Customer Success Right for Your Business?

Customer Success is a strategy to maximize customer retention and create opportunities for revenue expansion within the customer base. It is not simply an organizational structure, process, team, or job description. This article offers a guide to determine if Customer Success is right for your business.

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Selling Service Value

Selling the value of service is making the case for why the customer is better off with it than without. Selling services demands that you establish a credible and compelling value proposition.

The Guide to Selling Service Value

Selling services demands that you establish a credible and compelling value proposition. The value proposition describes the relationship between the price and benefits from the services a customer receives. To be compelling, the benefits must be perceived to exceed the cost. Service benefits may be intangible – insurance against risk, or tangible – a commitment of specific resources or attainment of a specific outcome.

Although difficult, it is imperative to quantify the value of all service benefits so that they can be compared to the price. A compelling value proposition is fundamental for successful sales and renewal activities. Selling the value of services requires the following:

 

  • Understand your customers’ needs and expectations from the product and services they buy from you.

  • Offer a robust portfolio of services. Not all customers will need or benefit from the same types of service so develop offerings that can align to the customer segments you serve.

  • Set reasonable prices for your offerings. This does not suggest that reasonable is low, but it must be justifiable. Customers must understand and agree that the benefits of service are consistent with the price they pay.

  • Create a clear and compelling value proposition.

  • Help sales channels and renewal teams understand the elements of the value proposition so that they can clearly articulate it to customers during sales and renewal activities.

Featured: Selling Service Value

Selling services demands that you establish a credible and compelling value proposition. To be compelling, the benefits must be perceived to exceed the cost. This playbook describes the essential steps to develop a compelling value proposition to maximize support sales and renewal activities.

This report is FREE. Register or Log-in to get your copy.

Login to Access the Full Report

If you don’t have an account, create a free* membership.

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*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

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Less NPS and More High-Touch Understanding

We have become too dependent on electronic surveys and NPS/CSat scores to tell us that our customers are okay. These are fine indicators but do not always tell us why we lose customers.

Less NPS / More High-Touch Understanding

To mitigate churn, we need to dig deeper to understand why a customer stops (or never starts) using a product or why they do not perceive value from the services they pay for.

The best way to do this – pick up the phone or visit your customers and listen to their concerns! Don’t wait for customers to cancel before engaging them.

How We Keep Customers

Not every relationship can (or should) be retained, but if you listen carefully enough you will find that you can address many top churn factors.  Onboarding, adoption, success planning and account management are all powerful tools to mitigate risk factors.

Principles and practices of customer success are taking us in the right direction with an emphasis on retaining existing relationships. We need to make certain that we avoid the temptations to rely too much on tech-touch and keep personal channels of communication open with customers – especially the ones we do not hear from on a regular basis.

The Bottom Line

Retention of both relationships and revenue are critical indicators of business health.  Understand retention levels and underlying factors that influence them. Retention is paramount – make it a strategic priority!

 

Assessment: Customer Success Management

How effectively do you engage new customers? Do have a formal onboarding process? Do you help customers plan for success with your products? Do you monitor customer health? Take this assessment to see where your practices stand and learn how to maximize customer success management.

Check out ServiceXRG’s Customer Success Management Assessment.  You will get immediate feedback with recommendations.

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