Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

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Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

High customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores as the desired outcome of Support and Customer Success interactions, while positive, is not enough because it does not connect service delivery excellence with tangible business outcomes.

Why NPS is Not Enough for Support and Success

Support and Success must be focused on the attainment of tangible business objectives. For the customer, this implies that Support or Success interactions must help the customer apply a product successfully. For the business, providing these services must contribute to retaining relationships with hopes of expanding their value. This is why organizations must look beyond NPS (Net Promoter Score) when measuring the impact of Support and Success on lifetime customer value.

Attainment of high Net Promoter Scores, while positive, is not enough to indicate that “promoters” will correlate to the positive outcomes the business expects. The measure of Support and Success must be tangible and focused on “end game” results such as:

  • Can the customer use the product?
  • Can customers achieve tangible business outcomes by using the product?
  • Did support or success services help the customer attain their goals?
  • How will the customers’ ability to achieve their desired outcomes influence their ongoing relationship?

Beyond NPS: The Right Metrics for Support and Success

What is the primary reason for offering Support and Success services?  In most cases these organizations are aligned to help customers adopt and apply products successfully. The rationale is if customer can use and apply products successfully, you will increase the likelihood that you can retain and expand these relationships.  A single, simple measure such as NPS cannot provide sufficient insight to indicate that Support and Success efforts are resulting in tangible business benefit.

Consider the following eight metrics for determining the impact of your post sales services.

Metric

Description

1. Onboard

The percent on that new customers have received formal onboarding guidance.

2. Adoption

The rate that customers have met adoption milestones.

3. Success

The percent of customer that have reached established performance goals or milestones on defined journey map.

4. Availability

The rate that customers business operations have not be interrupted due to downtime or outages.

5. Engagement Quality

The percent of all customer engagements that result in positive outcomes.

6. Retention

The percent of active customers that have committed to renew an existing relationship.

7. Health

The relative health of a customer relationship based on the composite rates of adoption, success, retention, and recurring revenue rates.

8. Net Recurring Revenue

The net growth or contraction of the total recurring revenue relationship value. See How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

The Tangible Impact of CX and Customer Success

The Tangible Impact of CX and Customer Success

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The Tangible Impact of CX and Customer Success

A well-defined CX strategy combined with an effective Customer Success (CS) operating model can yield significant and tangible benefits including retention and expansion of existing relationships and the strengthening of your product and service reputation.

The Tangible Impact of CX and CS

A CX strategy defines the approach a company will use to influence customers behaviors and perceptions by creating specific customer experiences. A Customer Success operating model promotes practices across the entire customer-lifecycle including landing new accounts; onboarding, success planning; product adoption; health monitoring; retention and expansion.

To learn more about CX and CS please read:

Customer Experience vs. Customer Success – Similarities and Differences

CX Opportunities

A well-defined CX strategy combined with an effective Customer Success (CS) operating model can yield significant and tangible benefits for retention, expansion and reputation.

CS-CX Impact

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Beyond NPS: Eight Metrics for Support and Success

High Net Promoter Scores as the desired outcome of Support and Customer Success interactions, while positive, is not enough because they it does not connect service delivery excellence with tangible business outcomes.

How to Measure Net Recurring Revenue

Net Recurring Revenue is a comprehensive indicator that reveals the extent to which you are retaining, expanding and growing customer relationship value. Examining the specific underlying elements that contribute to the calculation of Net Recurring Revenue provides the necessary insights to identify the root causes of churn, attrition and contraction. In addition, examining the reasons for revenue growth presents opportunities to embrace and expand practices that encourage expansion of relationship value.

Success Marketing and Portfolio Management

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Essential Customer Success Activities

Customer Success is a series of interrelated activities performed throughout the customer relationship lifecycle. This article identifies and defines critical success activities.

Effectively Managing Distributed Support Teams

Effectively Managing Distributed Support Teams

Geographically distributed teams are common for many industries and companies, but recent events have created the necessity for more individuals to work from home. For support and service operations that rely on centralized call centers the shift to a distributed workforce introduces new challenges – both technical and administrative. Here are some of the things to consider for effectively managing distributed support and success teams.

From Centralized to Distributed

The chatter of calls centers is distinctive, and the dynamics created by the personal proximity of dozens or even hundreds of service professionals is unique.  Centrally located support teams create opportunities to develop relationships, develop skills and collaborate.

As more companies find that they need to send their workforce home and out of centralized call centers it is important to assure that teams remain focused and effective.  For some, working remotely and being part of a distributed team is new.  Here are some of the things to consider for effectively managing distributed support teams.

Team Objectives

The service mission persists.  While some companies may see a decline in customer demand other sectors will find that they play a critical role in supporting vital operations in health care, logistics, communications, and other industries.   It is imperative that everyone on the team understand the goals and the ways that they will contribute to the attainment of team objectives.

  • Clearly define TEAM GOALS AND OBJECTIVES so that everyone understands the expected level of performance and desired outcomes. Share the big picture to the extent possible so that everyone understands the context for the team’s goals.
  • Set clear INDIVIDUAL EXPECTATIONS with team members so that they know what is expected of them personally.
  • Define the METRICS you will use to measure individual and team performance. Clearly describe to the team and individuals what the metrics are and how they will be used.
  • Expand PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT activities (check-ins, reviews, etc.) to help guide team members to meet their levels of performance. For individual that are new to working remotely there will be some challenges getting adjusted not to mention potential challenges due to infrastructure limitations.
  • Create opportunities to COACH AND MENTOR individuals to help develop skills while working remotely.

Team Dynamics

Members of the team may be separated, but the team persists.  Make certain that you maintain a team dynamic so that all members can work towards common goals. Consider the following:

  • DEFINE THE TEAM by introducing everyone. Although remote, relationships, collaboration and mutual support can persist.  Update team photos in the company directory and if you don’t have one, consider making one.
  • ENGAGE as a team and don’t allow team members to become “out-of-sight-out-of-mind.” Consider a more frequent cadence of team meetings through live meetings – encourage everyone to turn on their video.
  • BUILD TRUST among team members that everyone will do their job and help achieve common objectives. Make certain that each team member knows their role and responsibilities.
  • SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER as the shift from a centralized work environment to a remote location can be challenging for some.

Enablement

The ability for team members to conduct work remotely is important.  Remote teams need access to core systems and tools to communicate and collaborate. Under some circumstances not all team members will be able to perform the same functions they could from within the company’s security infrastructure.  Consider the following:

  • Provide the necessary INFRASTRUCTURE for team members to access key systems.
  • Assure that everyone on the team has the means to COLLABORATE AND COMMUNICATE This may require acquisition of video conferencing technologies and expanded licenses or enabling collaboration features within existing systems.
  • Maintain SECURITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY for regulated industries. The security and confidentiality of data shared during a service interaction is essential. Assure that team members understand this and assure that remote infrastructure can meet required security and confidentiality protocols.
  • Have a PLAN B. If team members cannot gain access to the necessary infrastructure to perform functions previous done within the company infrastructure, consider alternatives. Identify tasks that remote team members can perform with the tools and resources they have (develop new skills, write knowledge base articles, post to social platforms, etc.). 
  • Do what you can to KEEP THE TEAM WORKING.

Customer Expectations

Changes to the way your team works may have implications for customers.  Set realistic expectations with customers if service availability or service levels will be affected.  Consider the following:

  • Let customers know if there will be any changes to SERVICE LEVELS AND AVAILABILITY.
  • Communicate any changes to SERVICES DELIVERY including postponement of onsite engagements, or a request to change from submitting cases by phone to using electronic channels.
  • KEEP CUSTOMERS UP TO DATE and they will be more willing and able to work with you.

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How efficient and effective is your support organization? Do you measure how efficiently staff are handling core support activities? Do you meet or exceed industry performance benchmarks? The process of delivering support is labor intensive and costly. It is imperative that you establish and measure support productivity. Learn How.

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When is a Disaster not a Disaster for Support? When you have a plan.

What is your ability to deliver Support if the building loses power? Or if there is a small fire in the kitchen? Or if the roads nearby are closed and people can’t get to the office? None of these things are actually disasters, and all of them can happen for very ordinary reasons. The fact is these and many other situations may disrupt your ability to deliver support to customers. Do you have a plan?

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The problem with organizational silos

Organizational silos create barriers to customer success by inhibiting the levels of coordination and cooperation necessary to retain and grow customer relationships. The hand off from one department to the next creates gaps between expectations set and how they are met. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

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The Evolution of Support – Top Customer Support Trends for 2020 and Beyond

The Evolution of Support – Top Customer Support Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Core support practices will persist but Support as we know it will evolve.

The Evolution of Customer Support

Support has been the foundation of post-sales customer engagement for decades. New licensing models and recognition that customer retention is essential has led to enhanced approaches to engage and retain customers. Support must find ways to contribute to the execution of CX and CS strategies and practices. Throughout 2020 we expect to see several key customer support trends play out.

Here are five observations and predictions about the factors that will drive the transformation of support.

Customer Support Trend #1: Support will be asked to take on new customer engagement activities or will relinquish activities to adjacent Customer Success groups.

Support organizations are at a crossroad.  They will either need to fully embrace customer engagement activities such as adoption, success planning, account management, customer retention and expansion or consider divesting from these activities and allow success organizations to take over. 

When this occurs, Support can focus the entirety of its efforts on enhancing product usability and quality as an interface to product groups though case management and escalation.

Will your future Support organization align closer to Customer Success, or Product Management?

Customer Support Trend #2: Support will be held to account for the delivery and contribution to CX strategic outcomes.

One way or another Support will be held accountable to help drive the attainment of CX strategic outcomes.  Transactional metrics will continue, but more emphasis on the impact Support activities have on customers relationships will be essential.

Related Article:

5 PRINCIPLES FOR SERVICE SUCCESS IN 2020 AND BEYOND

Customer Support Trend #3: Measures of support success will shift from transactional efficiency to retention and growth of account relationships.

First Contact Closure, Time to Resolution, and other transactional metrics will inform about how to increase the efficiency of Support, yet primary Support metrics will increasingly focus on the impact support interactions have on sustaining and expanding customer relationships.

Related Articles:

TIME TO RESOLVE (TTR)

BEYOND SERVICE METRICS – FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS

FIRST CONTACT RESOLUTION (FCR) BENCHMARKS

Customer Support Trend #4: The emphasis on NPS shifts to Net Recurring Revenue.

NPS has never been a good Support metric.  Yes, it is easy to implement and provides an indication about how a customer feels about a Support interaction, but it also misses so much.

The best way to measure the full impact of a Support interaction and the status of overall relationship is to measure the sustained value of the relationship – if a customer keeps paying you, or paying you more, then you must be doing something right.  If you lose a customer, then something is wrong. Chances are that if you lose a customer it is not because of a bad Support interaction. 

Each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to reinforce and sustain the relationship. Continue to evaluate customer satisfaction with Support interactions, but do not rely on NPS to tell you that the relationship is okay.

Support must assess its role and be accountable for the impact it has (or can have) on sustaining the value of customer relationships.

Related Articles:

USING NET RECURRING REVENUE TO IDENTIFY CUSTOMER SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS

LESS NPS AND MORE HIGH-TOUCH UNDERSTANDING

 

Customer Support Trend #5: Deflection as a strategy is out, Prevention is paramount.

Support must switch its mindset to building and sustaining relationships and not try to deflect customers from accessing support.  If you want to lower Support demand then you are going to need to engage your product teams to find ways to prevent demand by making products more robust, reliable, and easier to use.

Related Article:

HOW TO DEFINE AND MEASURE DEFLECTION

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Moving Beyond Industry Average Renewal Performance

Moving Beyond Industry Average Renewal Performance

Moving Beyond Industry Average Renewal Performance

Over time, the implication of achieving only industry-average renewal rates will result in significant customer attrition and lost revenue.  Industry-average renewal rates show that nearly one-fifth of customers are lost at renewal time.  As these losses compound over time, the effects are dramatic.

Industry Average Renewal Performance

A steady erosion of the customer base over a five-year period is typical for companies that only achieve industry average support and maintenance contract renewal rates.  The impact of consistently the industry average contract renewal rate (82.4%) illustrates the erosion of the customer base.  This example shows that at the end of a five-year period, the percent of customers under contract erodes to 46% of the original relationships.

This example does not take in to account new contracts added or other growth activities.  It is intended to highlight the impact of achieving only industry average performance.  Increasing support and maintenance contract renewal rates by 5% to 10% can have a dramatic impact on the percent of customers retained and on net revenues.

The Impact of Industry Average Performance

Moving Beyond Industry Average Performance

Industry average performance is not good enough.  To maximize support and maintenance contract revenue you need a clear picture of your current situation or a plan to understand and mitigate attrition. ServiceXRG offers the following recommendations to assess and improve your customer retention capabilities:

  1. Establish an up-to-date and actuate measure of your current support and maintenance contract renewal performance.
  2. Benchmark your current renewal performance – are you at, below or above industry average performance?
  3. Identify the top reasons for contract non-renewal (hint: ask your customers). See also Why Your Customers Don’t Renew Service Contracts and What You Can Do About It.
  4. Develop a mitigation plan to stem contract attrition.
  5. Forecast the impact of increasing contract renewal performance by 5%, 10% or more.
  6. Use the forecasted benefits from increased contract renewal performance to make the case for funding corrective actions (new or better tools, more staff, or changes to business processes).
  7. Continue to refine processes, tools and performance indicators to maximize retention and revenue from the current customer base.

Assessment: How effective are your service contract renewal practices?

Are you leaving money on the table? Do you know why customers cancel service contracts? Use ServiceXRG’s Renewal Assessment tool reveal your Service Contract Renewal Health Score.
You will receive immediate feedback with recommendations to maximize service renewal performance, a copy of the Service Renewal Best Practices playbook and a complimentary coaching session.

Begin Assessment

Playbook: Service Renewal Best Practices

The Service Renewal Best Practices playbook introduces the metrics, practices, and activities necessary to optimize service contract renewal performance and grow customer relationship value.

Would you like a free copy of the Service Renewal Best Practices playbook?

Use ServiceXRG’s Renewal Assessment tool and receive your copy.

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Creating Positive Customer Experiences

Creating Positive Customer Experiences

The way we interact with customers directly affects the way they perceive us. When we are responsive, attentive, willing, and able to provide the information or assistance they need, we increase the likelihood of providing a positive experience. When we are difficult to do business with, unable or unwilling to satisfy customers’ needs, indifferent, inept, or rude, chances are the customer will have a bad experience.

Customer Experiences

A satisfying customer experience is critical if we want to positively influence the way customers behave. Anything less — even if it’s just a neutral experience — is not sufficient to compel the behaviors we want. Customers that have a positive experience are three times more likely than customers with a neutral or negative experience to buy a product from the company that delivered the experience; four times more likely to recommend a company or renew an existing relationship (e.g., a service contract); and five times more likely to state that they are satisfied with the outcome of the interaction.

While companies generally agree that a good experience is something to strive for and a bad experience is something to avoid, they find it’s not always easy to provide the experience customers need or expect. The first step to creating a positive customer experience is to understand the critical elements that shape the experience. It is also imperative to recognize the phenomenal impact the web has on shaping customer experiences and the new challenges introduced as we move more customer interactions on-line.

Elements of a Successful Experience

Whether it’s delivered on-line, by phone or in person, the same basic principle should govern the customer experience: Customers have an objective in mind and want to achieve it quickly and efficiently. Their goal may be to purchase a new product or get help with something they already own. Regardless of the objective, there are four basic elements that define the experience customers have in driving towards their desired outcome. These elements are: Exploration, Formulation, Validation, and Action.

Exploration

Exploration is the first step in the customer experience. At this stage, the customer is looking for the tools, resources and information that will help them chart a course to their final objective. In many cases, the customer does not know what the result will be and have only a general idea where to start their journey.

For example, when a customer is researching a product to purchase they may know that they want a wearable health device, but may not know which type, make or model is right for them. They may not know the price range of such products or where to buy one. Their experience begins by exploring the possible options, including available products, features, price, etc.

This exploration phase also applies to services. Customers may know that they have a problem but may have no idea what the underlying cause is or how to get it resolved. They begin their experience by searching for information to help them isolate and resolve the issue.

Formulation

Initial discovery of possible options can often complicate a service or shopping experience. A process that began with a simple objective — to purchase wearable health device — has blossomed into a world of possible choices: customers find they can choose from dozens of manufacturers, all with models offering different features and price points. As the customer experience continues, the effort focuses on the formulation of a desired outcome. In product research and e-commerce scenarios, the customer begins to make decisions about what product features and price are of most interest.

Validation

The quality of a customer experience depends on more than whether the customer chose the right product to buy or figured out which solution would solve a problem. A complete customer experience requires that the course of action selected by the customer – deciding to buy a specific make and model of a wearable health device – is validated by objective evidence. Validation may come in the form of professional reviews, magazine articles, comments from peers, and other trusted sources.

Action

The final stage of the customer experience is the action a customer takes to achieve their desired outcome. This action may take the form of a product purchase or the satisfactory resolution of a service issue.

The Journey vs. Outcome

The four elements described above define the stages of the journey towards a desired outcome. To be successful, a customer experience must have a satisfactory outcome. Moreover, the path to this outcome must be perceived to be productive, efficient, and even enjoyable.

Many factors affect the journey to a positive customer experience. While no two customers are alike, every customer experience shares basic characteristics that help to assure that the flow of the experience is positive, and the elements of the experience are fulfilled.  Basic stages of the experience include:

  • A Starting Point – Customers need to know how to begin their journey. Where should they start, what should they do first, and what information do they need to proceed.
  • A Road Map – As customers navigate their way from exploration to action they need to know how to take each subsequent step in the process. Instructions, guides, and live assistance can all be used to keep the customer on the track to their desired outcome.
  • A Destination – Every experience has a desired outcome. At the beginning of the journey the customer may be unsure of the outcome, but they at least have a direction in which to head. As the journey towards the destination progresses, a positive experience will help to refine the characteristics of the final goal (e.g., select a product to buy or receive an answer to a service issue).

 

The goal is to create a situation where customers feel that the journey to their desired outcome is easy and relevant to their needs. If a company can’t meet customers’ needs and provide a reasonably acceptable experience, then they will likely choose an alternative path to their destination.

Conclusion

Positive customer experiences do not happen by chance, they are created.  Provide customers with the guidance they need to achieve the outcomes they want.  This may include intuitive web sites that help guide customers to the information and resource they need; offer clear policies to describe the levels of service they can expect; and provide seamless access to live assistance to help customers when they are unclear of their next step achieve their desired outcomes.

More articles about Customer satisfaction and experience

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A well-defined CX strategy combined with an effective Customer Success (CS) operating model can yield significant and tangible benefits including retention and expansion of existing relationships and the strengthening of your product and service reputation.

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Effectively Managing Distributed Support Teams

Geographically distributed teams are common for many industries and companies, but recent events have created the necessity for more individuals to work from home. For support and service operations that rely on centralized call centers the shift to a distributed workforce introduces new challenges – both technical and administrative. Here are some of the things to consider for effectively managing distributed support and success teams.

read more

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