Creating a Data Driven Customer Success Culture with Health Scorecards
Updated: Sep 11
In my role as a consulting team leader, I hear many customer success organizations struggling with the same challenge: “We need our team to be more proactive.” As a former Director of Customer Success, I know what it’s like to struggle to get out of a state of fire-fighting. You can get stuck spending most of your time with your loudest customers or with those who were at risk of churn, instead of proactively focusing on high-value accounts with growth potential.
So what’s the solution? Customer health data. I have seen first-hand what an impact customer health data can have on a customer success organization, and it is one of my favorite consulting topics. We guide our customers in building out a data-informed framework that can transform their customer success organization from reactive to proactive.
After implementing a customer health data framework, the impact to your organization could be felt almost immediately. One of our customers, Ruben Rabago, Chief Customer Officer with Intellum, the leader in customer education, provides this insight: “Getting a health score set established and executed is how you start making the customer success perspective company-wide because it allows you to use this data to talk with your peers in other departments and jointly decide how to improve the customer’s experience.”
While we know this process is essential to our ability to move from reactive to proactive, it can feel overwhelming if you are starting from scratch in building a framework. So where do you start? At nCloud Integrators, we’ve coached hundreds of companies through the process of setting up a health score framework. These are my recommended steps to help you get started:
Build a Cross-functional Working Group: Get the right people in the room to start the conversation. Recruit teammates from product development, support, sales, customer success and operations to engage in planning, iteration, and data usage stages.
Identify Your Key Metrics: Now it is time to start putting down on paper the metrics for your health score. At this point, remember it is ok to start small and build upon it. Don’t let this be a daunting task. Pick one or two measures that could make an impact and then build upon those. To start the conversation, you could use a standard health score framework such as Outcomes + Experience.
Customer Outcomes is focused on the value your customers are getting from your product and/or service. We suggest using the DEAR framework for these measurements: Deployment (successful launch after implementation), Engagement (key meetings with customers), Adoption (breadth and depth of product usage), and ROI (impact of product on business outcomes).
Customer Experience data measures the customer’s experience with your organization. This could include CSM perspective on customer sentiment or data taken from customer surveys like CSAT and/or NPS. Think about what customer data you have today, and what makes sense for your organization to track. Create a shortlist of these metrics, and then weight them by importance.
Build & Pilot Your Health Scorecard: Bring your framework to life. Build your health score with the measures you’ve determined, collect the data on each customer to run against the health score and set up the automation. Pilot the scorecard with a group of CSMs to get feedback before launching to the broader team. Use their experience to inform steps 4 and 5.
Setup a Continuous Improvement Cycle: Develop a review plan with your original working group to see what is working or what is not working. This review cycle should bring to light possible changes or additions. Maybe at this point, you determine changes need to be made in how items are weighted.
Enable Your Organization to Act: Once your health scores are running against the data and can be visualized in a meaningful way, you are ready to operationalize your CSM processes. Set expectations on health scoring use, train your team on how to use the data on a daily basis, and - most importantly - decide what actions to take based on the results of the data.
Be an Advocate for Change: Role model how your standardized framework for customer health will create a significant impact on your organization's success and profitability by using the data to drive organizational change.
Feeling overwhelmed? Customer health scoring doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a handful of metrics that make sense for your organization, get the solution up and running, and build upon your health scores over time as your business and awareness of customer trends continue to evolve.
Ruben Rabago summarizes this perfectly: “This is not a process with a finish line. This is an iterative process that you need to start and then improve upon.”
Take the time to get the right people in the room and know that your framework will be iterative. The impact of having a customer health framework integrated into your Customer Success organization will be monumental.
The author, Kate Griffin, is a Vice President at nCloud Integrators, an industry leader in customer success strategy and implementation, with a track record of improving customer journeys at hundreds of organizations every year.
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