How to Use Webhooks to Turn Your Software Platforms into a Digital Relay Team


The starter pistol has fired for the relay race and you’re sprinting to get the baton to the next runner. As soon as you pass them the baton, they’re off to the next runner, and then the next, until the last runner crosses the finish line.

Using webhooks is like a digital relay race, with a trigger in one web application starting a sequence of events that passes data from one platform to the next, optionally triggering an event in each as the baton gets passed through the relay sequence.

You’ve got a team of software platforms that you use, like Zendesk or Intercom for support requests, Wootric for customer feedback, Salesforce as your system of record for Sales & Customer Success, and Tableau for analytics. With webhooks, you can create a digital relay of data. Once these systems are passing info to each other you can accomplish all kinds of workflows that streamline data collection, analysis and action. 

To skip the technical definition to get to the uses of webhooks, click here!

What Exactly are Webhooks?

Webhooks are “user defined” notifications that allow a web application — a.k.a. a cloud-based software platform or software system — to provide or receive real-time information to or from another web application about an event’s completion.

Webhooks can be incoming, i.e. the app is getting notified when something happens along with context around that event, or they can be outbound, i.e. the app is sending notifications out to other apps about events that occur within its services, along with context around that event.

It is inefficient to constantly request data from another network (a.k.a. polling for new data at regular time intervals in engineer-speak) and many internet browsers cannot support having an open connection between two web applications. Webhooks are an efficient, flexible, and convenient way to bring up-to-date data into the web applications you use regularly.

Compared to hiring a developer to create a native integration of one application on another, webhooks are a tech-lite method to sync data and trigger workflows across multiple applications. This also has the benefit of letting you work mainly on the software systems that you are most familiar with.

What are Webhooks Used For?

Webhooks’ capabilities allow you to:

  • Know that a specified event took place — e.g. a support ticket closed, a payment method was added, a survey was completed (a.k.a an incoming webhook)
  • Let another software platform know that the event took place (a.k.a. an outbound webhook)
  • Ensure that data is synced across all platforms
  • Set off an automatic relay of data and workflow for a network of software platforms

All of these can be combined to create “relays” for insight in a customer feedback program. Here are a couple of common use cases:

Improving Customer Support

Use Case: Zendesk Support Ticket Closure Triggers Email Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Survey

One prevalent use case for webhooks is triggering a survey after the closure of a support ticket in Zendesk or a customer conversation in Intercom.

Let’s take the support ticket example. Zendesk tickets are loaded with information, like ticket ID # and ticket requester email, that can be sent via a webhook to Wootric to trigger a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey.

This additional information, or properties, allow you to customize the title and body of the email survey that gets sent to your customer.

Having CSAT feedback after support cases are closed can help inform the training and organization of your support teams. You’ll have a better understanding of your customer’s expectations of interactions with the Support team. CSAT feedback at this journey point can help you identify any gaps in your support experience.

Keep the Relay Going: Follow-up with Dissatisfied Customers

Use Case: Salesforce Workflows or Zapier webhook triggers a new case open or follow-up task

Using Salesforce workflows and our outbound webhook, you can close the loop with unhappy customers by triggering a new case to open for Support or Success when a poor CSAT score comes in, or assign a task of follow up to specific individuals. This will show your customers that you are actively listening to their feedback and value it, making it more likely for them to stick with you. It can also clear up any potential miscommunication that may have occurred during the original interaction.

As you plan out your webhooks, be wary of survey fatigue. Wootric has built in protection from sending surveys too frequently to customers so you don’t have to worry about accidentally bombarding customer inboxes.

Take Action or Test a New Strategy with One Segment of Customers

Use Case: Mixpanel Event in Specific Segment Triggers an In-App Customer Survey

Another useful way to use webhooks is to have Mixpanel events, such as a customer creating their first report with your app or completing their first order, trigger a survey for specific segments of users.

Let’s say you are a meal kit delivery app, like Blue Apron or HelloFresh, and you want to test a new dinner party kit.

You can use a webhook to survey the dinner party kit customers the next time they log in your meal kit app. That survey might be a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey (” How easy was it for you to cook your dinner party meal?”), or it might be a CSAT survey, depending on what kind of feedback you are looking for.

This feedback would identify improvements that need to be made to the new dinner party meal kit. It will also identify people who love it. Another webhook can trigger a task be assigned to a marketing team member to reach out to those promoters for testimonials or a potential interview.

Incorporate CX Metrics into Business Analytics

Use Case: Send Wootric Net Promoter Score Survey Data into Tableau or Chartio

Compiling all of your data from multiple web applications for correlating analysis can be tedious and frustrating. Sometimes it can feel like your data is trapped in one app or another with no way of importing that data in real time.

Webhooks allow you to bring data from multiple sources for consolidated, holistic reporting. This helps you create beautiful reports, rich with context, and connect all of your various analyses to guide organizational action.

If you’ve already been surveying customers with Wootric, our dashboard has been helping you manage your customer feedback program. We often see our customers’ business analysts use webhooks to report customer experience metrics, like Net Promoter Score, alongside other KPIs, such as churn or expansion revenue.

Webhooks allow you to take all of the raw data from Wootric and send it to interactive data visualization applications like Tableau,, or Looker as the feedback comes in, in real time. The information reflected in charts is updated every time new survey feedback comes in.

Tableau Example
Example of real-time data visualization in Tableau

Create a Holistic View of Account Health
Use case: Send Wootric CX Data to Salesforce or other CRM

Gathering customer feedback to understand the health of your organization often relies on both relationship monitoring through drip/cadence Net Promoter Score (NPS) and journey point monitoring through transactional CSAT/CES surveys.

Example of Account Level CX data in Salesforce

Using all three of these CX surveys at appropriate journey points can provide a bird’s eye view of your customers’ journey, with each survey score reflecting different parts of the entire journey. Wootric offers a native integration to accomplish this in Salesforce, but you can use a webhook service like Zapier to move Wootric data to any CRM. 

Custom Insight Through Creative Webhook Use

Webhooks enable you to customize the segments you survey, the events that trigger a survey, as well as the title and survey question itself. With some creativity and planning, webhooks and CX surveys can get the exact information you want into your preferred web application for insight and analysis.  

Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

Blended AI will Improve Customer Experience (CX), But Keep It Human

“We believe that in 2018, the use of blended AI will help improve sales outcomes and reduce customer servicing costs. But, there are implications.” – Forrester

When it comes to delivering prompt, effective service to customers, human customer support agents have their limitations. For example, for all but the biggest multinational companies, customer service isn’t available 24/7. And even during regular working hours, the supply of sales people, customer success managers and support agents is finite, causing wait times, call abandonment, and dissatisfaction (in other words: bad customer experience).

Artificial Intelligence-powered technology is even more limited – even though it’s available 24/7, even the swiftest systems can’t handle anything more than simple or common inquiries (yet). And when was the last time you called customer service with a simple problem? Too many situations are unique. Try to have your problem solved by an algorithm, and even worse CX ensues.

But do you see what I see?

I see two puzzle pieces coming together. Two halves of a potential whole. Two wrongs making a right.

What if we blend them together?

Blended AI, but which path to take?

Forrester qualifies their prediction that blended AI is in our near future by also speculating that it will result in dropping customer satisfaction levels, “as companies drive more traffic to chatbots, self-service, and chat that are not fully optimized to engage customers effectively.”

Essentially, if you use AI/chatbots to replace human interaction, your customers won’t appreciate it.

But, if you use AI/chatbots to facilitate human interaction… well, that’s another story altogether.

There tends to be two camps of thought when it comes to AI interactions with customers and it boils down to whether or not you want your customers to know they are interacting with a bot.

Avoiding Smoke & Mirrors in CX

Lisa Abbott, VP of Marketing at Wootric, believes in transparency in CX and particularly in customer interactions.

“I value brands that I can trust. If I find out your sales development rep is really a bot, I feel foolish for having wished “her” a good day. And, I have to wonder what else you are comfortable hiding from me. It is no way to begin an authentic customer relationship.”

It is important to remember that the customer’s priority is achieving their goals efficiently. If AI can help you get them there faster, customers will be delighted. However, passing a email sender or chatbot off as “Amanda” does nothing to meet customer needs and can risk alienating them if the bot gets caught.

The good news is that there is no need for a charade.

Intercom’s Operator bot was designed knowing that consumers are tired of chatbots that “try to answer questions they shouldn’t and pretend to be human which leads to bad customer experiences.”

Another good example of transparency is Drift’s chatbot — their bot’s language is breezy and human, but it is clear that sales leads are interacting with a bot. It’s fun to interact with their bot, rather than falling into the “uncanny valley” of creepy by trying to pass a bot off as human. Think Wall-E rather than Commander Shepard from Mass Effect 3.

For a good example of B2C interactions, take a look at Levi’s Virtual Stylist. It quickly guides customers through a decision tree to narrow down the broad range of style options offered by Levi’s and adds a human element with a “see it styled” option, which shows customers how other folks have styled the suggested jeans.

In each of these cases, a bot does a masterful job of building customer relationships — as a bot!

Passing the Turing Test

Arri Bagah is the head of chatbots at BAMF media, a growth hacking agency for B2B businesses.

He agrees that chatbots can work well as a customer service tool “especially to help people make purchase decisions faster and more conveniently, answering questions on the fly so people don’t have to wait to get their answers.”

But he believes brands can also use these conversations to start building relationships.

He says, “You can use bots at the top of the funnel to teach, build the relationship, and sell.”

“One thing I’m doing on my own website is to ask visitors if I can walk them through a few strategies to help them reduce their Facebook ads cost. ‘Can I teach you about…[whatever it is]?’ You can put people through that sequence and, at the end, recommend a product that would help them move forward to the next steps. And people can ask questions. I’ve set it up to where the bot notifies me to answer specific questions live.”

Bagah works specifically with Facebook Messenger, but his advice can apply to any AI messaging app. When you start to think of messaging as a relationship-building, educational tool, whole new avenues of interaction open up.

But – according to Arri, it has to sound like a human being.

And there’s a trick to that.

“If you look at how people use messaging apps, they use images and gifs, not just text. That’s what you need to use with a chatbot to make it feel personal and engaging.”

He says he designs his clients’ Facebook chatbots to have personalities.

“They’re funny. They send you GIFs that make you smile. When you nail down that personality, you’ll see people asking ‘is this a person?’ I love those questions!”

According to Arri, when customers can’t tell whether a bot is AI or a human being, you’re getting it right – especially when the bot can pass warmed-up leads to a real sales agent.

Customer Expectations Will Make the Choice for You

If you intend to incorporate AI into your customer experience, you will need to make the decision of whether to disclose the robot nature of specific interactions or not. If you are not sure, it may be wise to gauge your customers’ sentiments around bot interactions, or deploy some testing with both methods and determine which is better suited to your company’s need.

Service is a good start, but blended AI can deliver so much more

It’s not just about quality of service – it’s about quality of data (qualitative data, that is). Website designers and optimizers have traditionally used click analytics to determine the performance of a website, landing page, or SaaS product engagement. But one of Forrester’s predictions for 2018 is that 25 percent of enterprises will supplement click analytics with conversational interfaces that deliver voice-of-customer data.

Conversational interfaces, bots, chats – whatever you want to call them – are treasure troves of voice-of-customer data that can tell you why something doesn’t work (click analytics just tell you something is wrong, and it’s up to you to figure out what). But troubleshooting is just the tip of the iceberg, because once you have a customer talking to you, you can ask them to tell you what they want, need, wish they had, and plain don’t like.

Forget about optimizing your CTA button – you can optimize your business for the best possible CX.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple, because you’ll have hundreds and thousands of conversations coming through.

When you’re working at scale, sifting through qualitative data to come up with business-changing insights is another challenge altogether. And this is where AI can really shine.

One example is InMoment’s CXInsight™ , AI-powered text and sentiment analysis tool that can categorize unstructured feedback based on what matters most to you. Millions of Wootric survey responses pre-train the algorithm to look for important themes, which can be further segmented by buyer persona, user group, sentiment, or even individual. Like the best examples of blended AI, the AI does the tedious, time consuming work of categorizing massive quantities of qualitative data, letting the humans spend their time digging into the insights and taking action.

CXInsight- Instant-AI-categorization

Are you ready to power your CX with AI in 2018?

From customer service to warming up sales leads, from educating consumers to helping derive insights from massive amount of data, AI can do so much to improve customer experience.

But as Forrester predicts, “Having a successful AI-driven customer service or sales program will depend on the processes that support a blended AI approach.”

Our prediction is this: Companies that have the processes in place to support AI and understand what AI tools can accomplish – and their limitations – will be poised to grow exponentially in 2018.

Are you one of them?

Get insights from qualitative data. Learn more about InMoment CXInsight™.

How to Choose the Best Net Promoter Score Software for Your Business

You’ve decided to implement an NPS program to increase customer loyalty, but now you’ve got to wade through the pool of NPS software service providers to find the best value and match for your company. All of them allow you to ask that all important question, “On a scale of 0 -10, how likely are you to recommend this product?”, but the similarities end there.

Two Step in-app NPS Survey by Wootric

Round Up a List of Prospects

Ask around about the NPS software other companies are using. Resources like Quora can give you ideas to add to you list and oftentimes, you can read reviews of companies. If you come across a survey that you like, reach out to the company to ask who they use. This list of prospects can be as long or short as you want, but we recommend you keep this list to around 5 companies.

What is your goal?

It is vital for you to establish the goals you want to achieve through implementing an NPS program. Are you looking to move your company towards a customer-centric culture? Are you trying to improve your retention rates? Are you looking for growth?

Maybe you’ve used an NPS platform before and now you’re looking for something that’s faster, better, stronger! You’re probably looking for a platform that’s more efficient, easier to use, offers a more modern approach (like in-app messaging), or is more aligned with your stage of growth.

Whatever your goals are, have them handy as you answer these next three questions and have the peripheral conversations for each, guiding you toward the NPS software with a Cinderella fit for your company.

Get all 8 questions and a handy vendor evaluation spreadsheet with our free e-book!


  1. What is the best way to survey your customers?

You probably communicate with your customers in a number of ways – on your website, through your web or mobile app, via email, social media accounts and possibly even through text. Each segment of your customer base will prefer one or two of these methods over the others, and very rarely will they use all of them.

Some conversations to have around this question include: Who are your stakeholders? Who are the decision-makers, and are they the same people using your product on a daily basis? Depending on your answers, you will want to choose different channels to send your NPS survey.

  1. Which channel do you want to start with?

Everyday, we have people come to us asking about email NPS surveys, unaware that there are other option available to them. If you’ve answered the first question, then you now know that email isn’t always going to be the best fit. Follow-up the conversations you had with the previous question by weighing the pros and cons of each channel. Keep your short and long term goals in mind, as well as the customer segments you wish to reach out to.

There’s no shame in starting small – it’s not easy to take on a huge customer feedback program if you’re just starting out. Choose a channel, pick a customer base and start getting feedback. You’ll eventually find that different customer segments or journey points benefit from different channels, and your NPS program will evolve accordingly.

Expect your Net Promoter Score program to mature over time and select a vendor able to support the increasing sophistication you’ll likely need.

  1. When will you survey your customers?

When it comes to deploying your NPS surveys, there are two primary approaches:

Relationship Monitoring

This approach sends NPS surveys at regular intervals overtime to assess your customer’s overall loyalty to your brand — rather than just their satisfaction with their last interaction.

Checking in at Journey Points

In this case, often called “transactional NPS”, surveys are sent after a customer has an interaction or completes a transaction with your company. This approach works well when you’ve mapped out your customer journey and can find logical points at which to check in with your customers via a survey.

NPS software platforms that can integrate with Mixpanel, Intercom, Salesforce, Zendesk and other systems of record work especially well for this type of timing.

Once you know the approach you need, dig in and see if vendors can deploy surveys the way you prefer. Each vendor has different capabilities. For example, if you are sending email surveys, do you want to do so from your own platform like Marketo or MailChimp? Or do you prefer to upload a list of customers and have the vendor’s software send the surveys?

Is NPS the right question to ask at this journey point? In some contexts, a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) or Customer Effort (CES) question is more relevant than Net Promoter Score. Learn more.

More to Consider

These three questions will get you started on your decision process. For a deeper look into the questions to answer that will narrow down your list to your perfect NPS software, download our free e-book, We’ve also included a link to a handy vendor evaluation spreadsheet to keep track of everything in this process. Once you’ve established your company’s needs and had the conversations to narrow down your list, request a product demo from two or three vendors who make the cut. You can tell a lot about a company through their demo, including how customer-centric they really are and how they will treat you in the future.

Find out if Wootric is the right NPS software for you. Sign up for a free trial or talk with an expert.

Get the “Trifecta View” of the SaaS Customer Journey using CX Surveys in Salesforce

Congratulations! Another customer is starting their journey with your company.

They’ll go through the various stages in the sales funnel, across departments from marketing to sales to product to customer success and customer service. All of these departments will be using your company’s system of record, perhaps Salesforce, as the one common source of truth. They’ll document each interaction with this customer, each touch point, and then pass the customer along to continue the journey.

The Three Touchpoints and Their Matching CX Surveys

Among the touchpoints in your customer’s journey, there are three vital ones that warrant focus: Onboarding completion, support interactions, and renewal. 

Gathering CX feedback at the right time gives you a pulse on customer happiness along the journey. You can act on this insight and boost your ability to retain customers.

Wootric customer, MindTouch, has implemented the Trifecta View.

See how they do it.

Benefits of Collecting Customer Experience Feedback in Salesforce

Your CRM is the best system to trigger journey point surveys because it knows where your customer is at. When feedback resides in CRM records, it is easy for Sales, Support and Customer Success to follow up and take action. It can also be a morale boost when customers sing praises after an interaction.

Most importantly, having feedback recorded in your CRM after these three touch points creates a holistic, birds-eye, trifecta view of the customer experience that is measurable and tracked over time. This is vital business intelligence that will better prepare Success for QBRs and prepare Sales for renewal conversations. 

An Account Level Report Provides the Trifecta View

Use an account level report to get a holistic view of your customers’ journey, with each survey score reflecting different parts of the entire journey. Account level NPS, for example, is valuable intel for the Sales team. See how better training for Support can boost CSAT scores, or watch your churn numbers go down as Success team members reach out to customers with poor NPS before the renewal is up. Wootric offers account level survey data in Salesforce, by month and quarter.

The Trifecta View can reveal your strengths and weaknesses, as they exist, across the entire customer journey. Drilling into each journey point’s feedback can guide decisions to improve the weak spots, smoothing out the entire customer experience from a roller coaster to a gentle upward journey into Customer Nirvana.

“Trifecta view”: term coined by Aric Martinez, Director of Sales at InMoment, for the customer intelligence view that enterprise SaaS companies are seeking in Salesforce. Contact Sales to learn more.

Here, we’ll show you how the Wootric-Salesforce two-way integration can help you trigger a feedback survey using workflows. Responses loop back into your contact and account records to create this view of your customer experience.

#1 Onboarding Completion: Customer Effort Score Survey (CES)

Post-onboarding is a prime time to get customer feedback on that process. This is the critical first phase of the SaaS relationship. The customer’s emotions and first impressions of your company are fresh in their minds.

You can get valuable insight into how easy the process of onboarding is by triggering a Customer Effort Score survey (CES). You may learn about how helpful documentation and Customer Success team members were in teaching your users how to use your product, or you may expose aspects of your product with a high learning curve.

Overall, you will learn what makes the process of learning your product as easy as possible, getting your relationship with the customer started on the right foot.

To automatically gather feedback on the onboarding process, Wootric’s Salesforce integration enables companies to set up a workflow to trigger a CES survey 90 days (or any time period) after an Opportunity is closed.

#2 Support Interaction: Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT)

Now that you’ve made your first impressions, and your customers have gotten to know your company and product a bit better, there are bound to be times when they will need your Support team. After the case has been addressed, triggering a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey will get you important feedback about their interactions with Support.

Having CSAT feedback can inform the training and organization of your Support teams and help you better understand your customer’s expectations of interactions with the Support team. It can help you identify any gaps in your support coverage. CSAT feedback at this journey point may even reveal potential new services and offerings when there are multiple similar feature or service requests. It may also reveal bugs that were undetected.

When CSAT scores are recorded in Salesforce, it pairs with other meaningful factors, like account age or company size, to create more context for you as you analyze this journey point. 

Wootric’s Salesforce integration enables companies to automatically gather feedback on Support interactions by setting up a workflow to trigger a CSAT survey after a Case is closed.

Bonus: You might choose to trigger a new case to open for Support or Success when a poor CSAT score comes in, or assign a task of follow up to specific individuals. This will show your customers that you are actively listening to their feedback and value it, making it more likely for them to continue giving it to you. It can also clear up any potential miscommunication that may have occurred during the original interaction.

#3 Renewal Conversation: Net Promoter Score Survey (NPS)

As the year passes and your customer has more experience working with your company and product, inevitably, the time for the renewal conversation comes. You’ve got an idea of how things are going, based on the CSAT scores coming in, but that mostly tells you how satisfied they are with the Support team, rather than your company overall. Arm yourself with more relevant feedback before you talk renewal by triggering an NPS survey 90 days in advance of the renewal date.

Leverage workflow rules by having poor NPS scores trigger a task assigned for a CSM to reach out and talk to detractors to try to prevent them from churning. The feedback from your customers can be brought up during the renewal conversation to show them you take their feedback to heart. Bringing up the comments they’ve left you my open up opportunities to show product or service improvement, provide additional training and for upselling or cross-selling. It may also prevent customers who churn from being resentful of your company. If you’ve listened to them and tried to work with them, most customers will appreciate that effort, even if they choose not to renew.

By creating a Salesforce workflow based on the Opportunity or Account object, Wootric customers can trigger an NPS survey in advance of account renewal date.

Get Creative

Wootric integrates with Salesforce to enable you to ask the right questions to get the information you need, at just the right time. Our surveys can be triggered on any object in Salesforce, including Activities. That’s a lot of options.

Your company may have other customer journey points that warrant feedback. You may want to ask a slightly different question than the examples we’ve chosen, depending on your circumstances. You can tailor your Salesforce workflow rules to integrate with Wootric surveys in the way that best serves your needs.

Want to trigger & track CX metrics in Salesforce? Book a demo.

Who Should Own Renewal? Customer Success Experts Share the Pros & Cons of 3 Different Models

A year has gone by, and it’s time for SaaS subscription renewal. Who reaches out to close the renewal, the Account Executive, CSM or Account Manager?

In two words, it depends. In five words, it depends and will change.

In order to ensure your company’s growth and reputation, you need a harmonious ecosystem of teams with proper compensation and incentives to fit the size and nature of your company. Upsells and renewals come as a natural result of successful adoption. Making sure your CSMs can perform optimally results in an easier job for whoever you chose to own the “commercial” aspects of the customer relationship.

During August’s Customer Success Meetup in San Francisco, Dave Blake, founder and CEO of ClientSuccess, Angeline Felix, Customer Success Manager at New Relic, and Sylvia Kuyel, Customer Success Strategic & International Lead at Cloudflare, discussed the different facets of three ownership models at their own organizations and from previous experience. Most SaaS companies will fall under one of three models: the account executive owning the renewal, the CSM owning the renewal, or an account manager owning the renewal, and all three have their perks and problems.

Model 1: The Account Executive/ Sales owns the expansion and renewal

The first model they discussed was the model where the account executive owns the renewal and all the “commercial” parts of the client relationship. Dave Blake, who has seen all three models, says that organizations where the renewal process is complex, or where you’re dealing with large accounts with labor and resource intense negotiations would do best under this model. The key to making this model work is fostering a strong, collaborative relationship between the AE and the CSM. He has seen teams fall into the trap of the AE treating the CSM like a secretary or administrator, which creates resentment and does not add any value for the organization’s customers.

A problem that can happen within this model is that AEs, in their sales mindsets, can start neglecting their current client base in order to pursue the next potential customer. At New Relic, Angeline Felix has a system where if a customer downgrades, a “spot-back” is on their record, meaning AEs “get dinged…it’s in their best interest to stay engaged, continuing the relationship through the entire customer life cycle, and through the adoption phase.”

In Sylvia Kuyel’s experience at Cloudflare, “in our early stages we were one bundled product, which means there’s not a lot of upsell. AEs will naturally be interested in large accounts because they see one business unit and then they want the ins to the additional ones.”

You can also run into the opposite problem, where AEs have an easier job expanding in their existing customer base, focus too much on them, and stop going after new logos, which is what happened at ClientSuccess. They fixed this by changing the comp plan for the AEs to push them to hunt new logos.

Model 2: The Customer Success Manager owns expansion and renewal

Discussion then led to the second model, where the CSM owns all of the relationship, including expansion and renewal. Dave Blake has been seeing this model across the industry more and more and this is the model that Cloudflare follows. Coming from a venture capitalist background, Sylvia knows that when valuing a company, people look at how risky their recurring revenue is and the heavy influence customer success has on this. She emphasized that the main reason this works for Cloudflare is that all their customers are on auto-renew contracts with a 60-day notice period.

“ The key to success here is fairly straightforward renewals that aren’t high maintenance, and the experience and maturity of your CS team. Some teams don’t have the negotiating experience or want that pressure.” Dave Blake, founder and CEO of ClientSuccess

Even though this is the majority of their customers, she says that when dealing with large accounts with long complex initial negotiations, it makes sense to bring in the AE because they have all the contacts, and they negotiate every day. They have a long standing relationship with the AE, even though renewal is truly a customer success number.

“As long as you’ve done a good job of driving the adoption along the way, the renewal itself is not a negotiation process.” Sylvia Kuyel, Customer Success Strategic & International Lead at Cloudflare

All three CSMs in the latest panel for the Customer Success Meetup felt strong ownership over expansion and renewal. According to Erica Pearson from Periscope Data, “ I own it all; it is my relationship with the client. I am their partner.” Their job is to get their clients value, with renewal being part of the CSM’s reward for doing the job right. Cloudflare recognizes the heavy workload that is involved when CSMs own everything. They set a global CS team goal that contributes to their comp but it is not individual. They do not want CSMs getting possessive over their accounts, and this encourages them to help each other out when one CSM has a particularly heavy day or week.

Many are hesitant to have CSMs own expansion and renewal because they fear that CSMs will lose the “trusted adviser” role, but Dave, Angeline and Sylvia all disagree with this based on experience. Customers tend to prefer having the trusted adviser to talk to about the commercial aspects, rather than bringing in a sales rep. They want someone who knows their business and if the commercial interactions are done right, CSMs can actually gain more trust as an adviser.

Model 3: A separate sales team of Account Managers own expansion and renewal

This last model brings in a third party into the organization’s ecosystem, a dedicated team of Account Managers who specialize in expansion and renewal. There is an undeniable benefit of specialization that comes with this model, letting AEs focus on new logos and CSMs focus on adoption. However, none of the experts at August’s Meetup were keen on this model, even having seen other companies successfully use it.  Dave and Angeline found that customers are overwhelmed, having so many introductions and relationships to maintain. Sylvia suggested that if there is noticeable tension between the trusted adviser role and the commercial duties, then this is the model for you. It’s important to clearly delineate the duties among these three roles, with appropriate comp and incentives to drive the individuals in these roles.

Lana Pucket, a CSM at WalkMe gave insight into her experience with this model and relationship during the most recent Customer Success Meetup, saying that she executes the entire lead up to the renewal, but the AM comes in to handle the renewal contract. She noted that 20% of her salary is based on renewals, tying her salary to a number that she does not own according to the roles within her organization.

Having previously managed an AM team, Angeline says this model worked at that unnamed company, but you have to think about the type of person you are hiring for each role. The AM needs a balance between the CSM mindset of customer care and the AE mindset of making the sale. To learn more about the traits you should look for in a CSM, check out this article.

Tailoring it for you

Depending on the product you’re selling, the maturity of your organization, and the size of your customers, you may need to switch from one ownership model to another. Through this transition, remember to define the roles clearly to your customers, aligning to their needs. All of this will result in high expansion and successful renewals.

Retain more customers. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score feedback with InMoment.

How SaaS Companies Hire & Scale Customer Success: Perspectives from Leaders at JobScience & brightwheel

Great news! Your company is growing fast.

If you are responsible for scaling the Customer Success team though, it can be daunting. You need more CSMs to support all of the new customers your Sales team is bringing in the door.

How do you recruit? Who do you hire? How can you ensure new hires succeed? What are some of the hiring pitfalls to avoid?

At the latest Customer Success Meetup in San Francisco, moderator Emilie Davis of Periscope Data asked Sabine Gillert, VP of Customer Success Operations at Jobscience, and Eddie Nguyen, VP of Customer Success at brightwheel, to share their customer success hiring expertise, and attendees were not disappointed.

Sabine and Eddie have entirely different backgrounds giving exciting, diverse perspectives as they answered questions. Eddie has a strong history of working with early-stage startups and helping them grow from a few team members to hundreds, while Sabine works with a leading SaaS business in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Traits you should look for in Customer Success candidates

The first question asked was: What are the universal traits for customer success managers to be successful in the role? This is the question most of us need to have answered as we are searching for the right person for our team. 

To start Eddie laid out four qualities he looks for, keep in mind this is for early-stage startups hiring for customer success:

Grit: The hire has to be willing to work hard as it’s sometimes necessary for a startup role.

Empathy: Both internally and externally. It makes sense that empathy is needed for customers and clients, but the internal part is an interesting tidbit to consider. No doubt there will be issues that developers, sales, or even marketing has mistakenly caused, and it won’t help to blame them, it’s much better to acknowledge a mistake, help the client, and move forward.

Learning Mindset: Managers have to be interested and willing to continue learning, especially at an early stage company, as there will continuously be changes and they will need to learn steadily.

Leadership: Sometimes customers need to be led through their issue. Other times they may expect or want too much from the company and that will need to be conveyed. There will also be times when a CSMs will need to internally advocate for a customer to management, sales, and/or marketing.

Sabine added additional skills that are important for customer success:

Listening Skills: Customers can sometimes bring their frustrations to the conversation. The manager will need to listen, identify the core problem(s) and propose solutions that will help on all levels.

Curiosity: Just as Eddie mentioned Learning, curiosity is a necessity. Managers will need to investigate issues, ask why things are the way they are, and possibly propose solutions. Customers don’t usually know what they don’t know, and further, they won’t usually give a lot of details, so the manager will have to go the extra mile in some cases.  

When pressed for attributes for building your team out and hiring to improve the team you have, our two experts suggested:

Attitude: Someone that has a great energy, that can be happy about handling issues that require going the extra mile.

Process & Data-Orientation: You’ll need someone on the team that can dig into data and find opportunities while also being specific about following procedure and sticking to policy.

How do you hire for Customer Success? 

Hiring should start long before an ad is placed. Either the company desperately needs a hire (and should have started the process weeks ago, which is standard) or they are looking ahead and know that will need to have people available as new accounts come online.

With that in mind we wanted to know how the experts handle hiring, what approach do they take?

Sabine and Eddie had very similar answers to this question. Sabine suggests knowing who you would like to hire ahead of time, and approaching them before you need them.

Eddie also starts the process before hires are needed. He begins with leveraging the people at his company for intros on Linkedin. He also throws recruiting parties to get to know prospective team members.

Like a sales process, he plants seeds, so he has someone ready when they are needed. This keeps the pipeline full and hiring easier to manage than posting an ad and hoping the right person comes along.

At the other end of hiring is firing. Sometimes we hire the wrong person for a fit on our teams, and Eddie and Sabine seem to have experience here as well. Both experts suggest breaking ties with the employee as quickly as possible; it’s never good to prolong it or start looking for other opportunities for them. Sabine further suggested that every employee has a 90 day probation period and this helps with identifying poor fits.

What is Customer Success?

This was an intriguing question to ask as it would often seem like a simple answer.  You might just jump to the conclusion that every company’s CS team would be there to help customers be successful. But, both experts had unique perspectives to share.

Sabine started with a quick question: “What does it mean to your organization?” She followed up with “What do you want customers to achieve?” and added that at her company customer success also means protecting revenue and staying focused on what you have to do to do that.

Again, Eddie had an altogether different answer from his early stage startup experience. “Customer success represents brand and voice. It’s about supporting customers, harnessing the knowledge you gain and teaching the rest of the organization. It evolves being an innovator for customers and making sure everyone gets an amazing experience.”

Two strategies for training CSMs

Once you have new employees on board, it’s time to train them for customer success within your organization. Depending on how you handle management, you’ll probably have your own way of dealing with training new hires. Sabine offers extensive training programs where hires do not talk to clients until they are confident and have gone through time being shadowed by someone with experience.

Eddie’s approach was entirely different; he puts customer success managers on the phone with clients on Day 1 to expose them to the environment and help them learn what they’ll be handling. He likes to present an environment where it’s OK to make a mistake, and the manager doesn’t have to be afraid they’ll be fired for messing up. Even in these cases, answers to support issues are usually approved by another team member before going back to the customer, so there is a failsafe in effect.

How do you retain Customer Success talent?

It’s no good getting new employees on board if you can’t keep them happy and with the company, so we wanted to see what Sabine and Eddie thought about retaining talent.

Both suggest understanding and getting to know the person and what is going on in their life. Sabine likes to give them space and flexibility to handle issues so they can give it their all at work. She says it’s best to understand they are people and that it isn’t all about salary.

Eddie added that you want to first hire who is right for the company, and find out how committed they are regarding staying with the company — what are their goals? can you help them succeed? Then understand their currency, some people are motivated by money, some want recognition, others want more trust to work on tougher projects. Find out what they like so you can give it when they perform well.

Additionally, Eddie suggested that when you ask for feedback, you should take steps to appreciate the input, and take action to make changes needed. No one will leave feedback if it isn’t acted upon.

Interesting Hiring Lessons

One of our last questions for Sabine and Eddie was about their most significant learning experiences in hiring. We all have them!

Sabine had a particularly useful one about working with mentorship/ apprentice programs. Her company took on five college students in 2016, and they thought it would be just like any hire.

They quickly realized these hires required more time, management and investment because it is so early in their careers. You have to make sure they are supervised. Recognize the investment these programs require because you’ll want to do everything you can to make them successful.

Eddie summarized his lessons by saying that up until 100 people, you do unscalable things to grow, you want effectiveness. Then you’ll start to hire for efficiency, you’ll keep giving managers customers until you hit a ceiling, and that ceiling is different for every business, but you won’t know what yours is until you get there.

In the world of Customer Success, many things are new and changing, so it’s helpful to hear from others that have been in the field for years and can share their experiences. It is clear from the approaches that Sabine and Eddie shared that different strategies can be equally successful. CS leaders who are growing there Customer Success teams must  determine what practices make the most sense for their SaaS company. Good luck to all!

Each monthly meet-up gathering in San Francisco is packed with Customer Success Managers from SaaS (Software as Service) companies who want to learn the latest insights from experienced Customer Success leaders. If you don’t live in the SF Bay Area, you can still benefit from the expertise shared at these monthly meetups.  Whenever possible, the organizers post a video of the event on their meetup page courtesy of The September meetup was hosted by Cloudflare

Measure and improve customer health. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

CES: New Ways SaaS Companies are Using Customer Effort Score

Effort. We’re taught to praise it, get really good at avoiding it, and really, would rather do without it. Effort is hard and uncomfortable. As human beings, we’ve designed incredible digital tools to reduce effort as much as possible. Today, “user-friendly” isn’t just a selling point anymore, it’s become a basic expectation among customers – to the point that if a task isn’t intuitively easy to complete, consumers will drop the product and go elsewhere.

Effort is a big deal.

So why are most companies not measuring customer effort, or only relegating it to a customer support metric?

What is Customer Effort Score (CES)?

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a newer metric originally developed for Customer Support. In that context, it measures customer service satisfaction by asking customers “How easy was it to get the help you wanted today?” That is valuable information for your Support department. But Customer Success and Product Development departments have been latching onto the idea for so much more.

The core CES question is: “How much effort did this task require to complete?” – typically on a scale of 1-7. And that question, followed by an open-ended “Care to tell us why?” question,  can be used in a number of ways to yield more relevant feedback from customers on numerous fronts.

In-app CES Customer Effort Score Survey

Customer Success and Product Development teams in particular have been adding CES to their customer journey metrics to get feedback on onboarding and ease of feature use.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”1b54y” via=”no” nofollow=”yes”]”Anytime you have a workflow you want a customer to complete, #CES is a great question to ask.” – Jessica Pfeifer, Chief Customer Officer, Wootric[/ctt]

How Product teams use CES to improve UX & feature adoption

Customer Effort Score fits in seamlessly with Product goals because user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) depend largely on ease of use. Product teams are starting to use CES to get feedback on how well the UI supports new feature adoption and to identify moments where customers begin to feel frustrated and lost.

Frustration is an emotion that is closely linked not only to churn, but to a decreased rate of customer advocacy.

“The revenue impact from a 10% improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion.” – Forrester

Frustration metrics” like rage clicks, error clicks and form abandonment are also useful to track, and can alert dev teams to issues they may not have expected, but adding CES to the mix can shed more light into just how hard customers perceive tasks to be. And with an open-ended follow-up question, they can even tell you why. When 40 to 60 percent of software users open an app once – and never log in again – anything that reduces friction during those early critical stages will have major impact.

Canva, a design tool for non-designers with a freemium sales model, has one of the smoothest onboarding sequences, which begins with a 2-minute tutorial that shows users the value they’re about to get while giving hands-on instruction on using the tool. Instructions ask users to complete fun design exercises, like putting a hat on a monkey or selecting different layouts and backgrounds, which builds users’ confidence.

Canva onboarding

Canva onboarding example 2

SaaS guru Lincoln Murphy says, “The first in-app experience your customer has with your product sets the tone for your relationship, and if it’s confusing, overwhelming, or otherwise puts up barriers to achieving success (or at least recognizing the value potential of your product, you’re in trouble.”

Canva may hit this out of the park, but for businesses struggling with smoothing out their onboarding flow, CES surveys – especially those that can be deployed while the users are in the app – becomes tremendously valuable.

But it’s not just about reducing friction and frustration – retention really is about ease. A Customer Contact Council survey of more than 75,000 consumers found that the most important factor in customer loyalty was reducing effort – defined as “the work they must do to get their problem solved.”

How Customer Success teams use CES to reduce churn

Customer Success managers know that one of the most important purposes of onboarding is getting the customer to experience value from the product – as soon as possible. This has it’s own metric, called “time to first value,” and the shorter it is, the more likely the customer will be to continue using the product.

CES for onboarding

CES now helps Customer Success keep a pulse on the onboarding experience of each new customer. The customer onboarding experience in Enterprise SaaS can involve training and implementation advice delivered by Customer Success Managers, in addition to the elements like videos, documentation and walk-throughs in the product itself. Unfortunately, “the seeds of churn” are sown if that process is painful.

Sarang Bhatt, Customer Success Manager at Wootric uses Wootric’s own CES survey to assess the onboarding process. “I find it very useful. We may not get a 7 every single time, but when we do miss the mark, we can close the loop with the customer and improve our processes for the next cycle. This is all because we have proactively solicited honest feedback via CES. Customers see a CES survey before NPS, so it gives us a chance to learn whether we are on track and make adjustments.” 

CES for monitoring customer hand off from Sales to Success

Customer Success teams are also using CES even earlier in the customer journey to measure the ease of transition between Sales and CSMs.

One of the most common causes of frustration for customers is answering questions asked by Sales, only to have to repeat their answers once they’re handed to a Customer Success Manager. The interdepartmental communication ball tends to be dropped during the handoff because customer information is siloed by department instead of shared freely. Customer Effort Score serves as an alert when these types of communication failures affect UX

In fact, Customer Success can use CES to monitor many (if not every) success milestone to see how easily customers achieved them – from the customers’ perspectives. Mapping CES onto the customer’s journey by checking in at success milestones effectively transforms CES into part of the overall customer health score every CSM should be tracking.

Not familiar with customer success milestones? These are often a checklist of tasks your customers must complete to use your product successfully and get closer to achieving their ideal outcomes – what they really want from your product. You can chart them out visually in a customer journey map.

CES for Advocacy

Using CES in customer success has another benefit: advocacy. Users are more inclined to become brand advocates – sharing positive reviews publicly – after positive support experiences. So an in-app CES question that follows high ratings with a timely advocacy ask can help spread brand awareness.

How Customer Service & Support use CES

CES surveys are most often deployed via email after customer support interactions. A user has a question, contacts customer support, receives an answer, and is then asked to score the interaction based on ease.

Why ease? Because research shows that the most important attribute of satisfaction is ease, which makes it the most logical metric to use instead of, or in addition to, other satisfaction metrics like length of wait time or even resolution of the problem. The CES question gets straight to the heart of whether the customer service experience increased satisfaction.

Don’t throw CSAT away though – customer satisfaction metrics provide broader feedback that is still extremely useful.

What to do if CES is low

What if the rating isn’t high? Close the loop! Put a process in place, or use a software platform like Wootric, that takes less than ideal customer effort scores and allows you to close the loop with the customer by reaching out to them individually or triggering appropriate automated responses.  Take action — create a cross-functional team to review feedback and prioritize actions you can take that will ease the pain and create a better experience for your customers.

Trends Tab CES in Wootric Dashboard
CES Trend in Wootric Analytics Dashboard

As you track CES over time, you’ll be able to see the results of your efforts in the score and in your customer retention numbers as well!

Sign up today for free Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

Tips on Improving Customer Experience from Six CX Experts

Why is Customer Experience becoming the primary way companies differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded market? How does CX pave the way for growth? How do you measure it accurately (and actionably) – and how can you leverage customer feedback for happier customers, more referrals, and more sales?

We asked all of these questions and more of CX experts at the top of their field – and their answers will inspire you.

Customer Experience Experts on Growth

Customer Experience is inextricably linked to growth – when you give the customers not only what they want, but also what they need in a way that leaves a positive impression, you’re making an investment sure to pay dividends.

“Customer experience drives growth. Data supports this fact. Forrester showed that CX leaders, on average, grow more than 5x faster than CX laggards. The companies that have made CX a priority focus on understanding the customer’s needs and wants and spend a lot of time understanding the journey a customer takes. They ensure the customer voice is heard (either through direct interviews or other opportunities to provide feedback) at each touch point of the customer journey, make sure actionable insights from feedback gets back into processes and close the loop with customers to advise them of the actions they took. They do this because they understand the post-purchase phase of the customer lifecycle is where growth occurs.” – Sue Duris, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, M4 Communications, Inc.

Customer Experience Experts on Tracking CX Metrics

What’s the best way to improve the experiences your customers are having? Opinions differ, even among experts, but everyone agrees that what gets measured gets done.

“An organization should have many tools available to them and not lean on any one of them too heavily. They should look at a combination of CES, NPS, CSAT, loyalty, and emotions metrics. In addition, measurement shouldn’t be taken in a vacuum. Testing and analysis should occur regularly and consistently so you can view trends and then take deep dives to determine the reasons the trends are what they are. This will help you improve your CX performance.” –Sue Duris, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, M4 Communications, Inc.

“If you want to get started with measuring and improving customer experience, I recommend you begin by tracking Net Promoter Score. You’ll get a metric that everyone in the company can rally around improving, and the rich feedback you get from customers will give you guidance on how to do it.  Over time you can build a sophisticated customer feedback strategy that incorporates a number of CX metrics, but I advise that you get the ball rolling as soon as possible. There are a number of low cost/no-cost SaaS platforms out there, including Wootric, that can get you started quickly.”  –Jessica Pfeifer, Cofounder and Chief Customer Officer, Wootric.

The Net Promoter System is the most effective way to gauge customer experience at scale. The better your customer experience, the more likely your customers will be brand enthusiasts or promoters. And the more promoters you have, the higher your Net Promoter Score will be.” – Jes Kirkwood, Content & Community Marketer at Autopilot

The social media sites that have perfected the art of public reviews are the best customer experience gauges available.  Yelp is a great example for the service industry, Capterra is a grand example for the software industry.  Monitoring those channels is a passive way to manage these gauges.  If you want quality, meaningful results, you will have to intentionally drive customer traffic to those platforms. Be brave. Invite them to be honest.” – Joe McCollum, Configio Support/SaaS Consultant

Customer Experience Experts on Retention

Sure, you can keep customers even if you provide a lackluster experience – if you’re the only game in town. But with competitors coming out of the woodwork, nobody has any market cornered for long. Offering superior CX is the only way to win the kind of loyalty that becomes the mortar paving the road to retention.

“I spend a lot of time with SaaS startup clients whose number-one goal is to improve recurring revenue. What I’m really excited about is a lot of my early stage startup clients are eager to put CX in place now so they are ready for when they scale. They know how vital CX is to corporate growth.” – Sue Duris, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, M4 Communications, Inc.

“Customer experience is one of the two core pillars of customer retention — the thing is, you can’t grow if your customers don’t stick around. Keeping customers around is harder than ever—and delivering an unparalleled customer experience is the only way to win. Today, companies must curate a timely, relevant, and personalized customer journey, nail customer support, and take advantage of every opportunity to surprise and delight.” – Jes Kirkwood, Former Content & Community Marketer at Autopilot

Efforts toward retention should start early in the customer relationship. At Wootric, we ask our customers the Customer Effort Score question to get feedback on our onboarding process. When we don’t get top marks, we get an opportunity to make things right with the customer immediately and get back on track. All because we reached out and proactively asked for feedback early on.” –Jessica Pfeifer, Cofounder and Chief Customer Officer, Wootric.

Customer Experience Experts on Leveraging Emotion

Emotion is a vital, yet often underappreciated, component of decision-making – but CX experts know that winning minds isn’t enough. Customer Experience is a game of winning hearts.

“In my experience working in varying industries, customer trust is a byproduct of an amazing customer experience. Whether it’s helping them with a purchase or teaching them how to use software; the make or break is how they feel when they walk away from you. If they walk away with complete trust, that type of experience translates to growth.” – Joe McCollum, Configio Support/SaaS Consultant

“We’ve found that it’s often the accumulation of small annoyances that does the most damage to a customer’s perception of a brand and their loyalty as a purchaser. Frustration metrics (things like rage clicks, error clicks and form abandonment) are a great way to quickly spot and fix major things that are actively blocking customers from achieving their goals and/or contributing to an overall negative experience.” – Amy Ellis, Marketing & PR at FullStory

“As a Product Designer, I understand that even more than having a great graphic design and program, the product needs to generate an experience that connects customers emotionally with your brand/service/product. Meaningful relationships are created by strong experiences. It’s how customers become allies for the marketing team for both referrals and acquisition.” – Diego Dotta, Developer & CXO at Youper

Customer Experience Experts on The Future

CX is a quickly-evolving field as new technologies make it easier to create better experiences, track those experiences, and leverage those experiences into engines for retention and growth. What does the near future hold – and what do you need to do to stay on top of the wave?

“I believe that CX will only become more important as it gets easier for newer, more nimble companies to disrupt larger slower companies. Technology will continue to get better at helping companies quickly and easily see where they’re letting down their customers – like causing them frustration and anger, complicating their progress toward their own goals, and missing opportunities to surprise and delight.”  – Amy Ellis, Marketing & PR at FullStory

“Right now brands are inundated with CX feedback–social, surveys, support tickets–and it’s all over the place. Companies that take a systematic approach to aggregating and analyzing all of that Voice of the Customer data in one place will have a competitive advantage.  AI–in this case a combination of machine learning and natural language processing–is making it possible to glean insights from those thousands of qualitative comments.” – Jessica Pfeifer, Cofounder and Chief Customer Officer, Wootric.

“Companies will need to focus on two areas:

  1. Creating consistent omnichannel experiences that cover digital. CX tends to be fragmented which hurts customers and companies. A better approach is to create a consistent experience across channels, and companies miss the boat on digital because they have gaps in their technology. Companies should focus on setting up a strong technological foundation which encompasses the entire customer journey
  2. Investing in AI. While current AI applications include chatbots for many tasks (Facebook Messenger currently has over 100,000 chatbots), a common application is to use AI for lower level customer service tasks. At more advanced stages, AI will be invaluable to CX in predicting sales and service behaviors and in augmenting engagement, to name a few.”

      – Sue Duris, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, M4 Communications, Inc.

“As technology continues to evolve, customer expectations will continue to rise. Delivering a hyper-targeted, personalized customer journey will become standard practice—customers won’t accept anything less. Creative marketers will find unique ways to surprise and delight, setting the bar even higher. Any companies that are already falling behind will struggle to keep up.” – Jes Kirkwood, Content & Community Marketer at Autopilot

“The challenge I have here, in a behavioral health company, is to discover and solve customer issues before they realize it themselves. I also see a need for increased availability – even offline – for when customers need emotional support, which we can do by being proactive using AI and passive data.” – Diego Dotta, Developer & CXO at Youper

A lot of companies are turning toward value-added membership campaigns. I personally feel these first round of loyalty driven offerings are based too much on the fear of losing market share, less on value added that builds and increases the trust of the consumer. The evolution of CX will force many companies that want to be successful to bite the bullet and put their money where their mouth is. The good news is, the future is bright for the consumer.” – Joe McCollum, Configio Support  / SaaS Consultant

Experts Agree: The Future is About Using Technology to Serve Customers Better

From customer success goals to metrics that measure emotion, to carefully planned and tracked customer journeys, Customer Experience reaches into every aspect of how companies relate to their customers. You can look at CX as the end result of how business decisions ultimately affect customers, or you can look at CX as the guiding light that becomes a company-wide compass for customer-facing decisions. Either way, it’s clear: To survive and grow, today’s businesses have align behind the customer experience.

Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

Customer Experience Quotes from Experts

“Customer experience” is a phrase that is generating increasing amounts of buzz. It’s grown from a philosophical understanding of the effect of customer/brand interactions into a metric to track, a goal to obtain.

We’ve collected customer experience quotes, definitions and statistics from industry sources to help you understand the power of improving CX.

The Customer Experience Quotes Roundup

Experts have a lot to say about customer experience, especially as the market continues to evolve around the idea of wowing the customer, not just satisfying them.

Below are customer experience quotes divided between different subtopics and angles to show you just how much impact results when brands and customers align.

Customer Experience Quote Sections Below:

What is Customer Experience?

“Customer Experience is the sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.” – Harvard Business Review’s Adam Richardson in “Understanding Customer Experience.”

Forrester puts it in even more amorphous terms: “Customer Experience is how customers perceive their interaction with your company.”

The first definition gives companies the illusion of control over CX – after all, you can manipulate engagement metrics, study touchpoints. But Forrester throws a monkey wrench into the works. Because CX isn’t about you. It’s about the customers – and their perceptions of you.

The expert CX quotes we’ve gathered explore Customer Experience from all of these angles and show just how much impact results when brands and customers align.

Why Customer Experience (CX)?

               (Source: Why CX? Why Now?)

  • “As competition and buyer empowerment compounds, customer experience itself is proving to be the only truly durable competitive advantage.” – Jake Sorofman, Research VP, Gartner

Customer Experience (CX) Best Practices

  • “There are perhaps signs of a realization here that CX is more than just customer satisfaction (CSAT); you actually have to drive word-of-mouth recommendations and give your existing customers more reasons to keep coming back to you.”  – Nick Ingelbrecht, research director at Gartner

What is Customer Experience Management (CXM)?

  • “Customer experience management is the practice of using customer insight to design and execute a cross-functional CX strategy.” – Gartner for Marketers
  • “CX management is a team sport and should engage all departments from supply chain to HR to ensure success. The advocacy of the CEO or a top executive is important in making this happen; creating internal pressure to support the vision the CX leader produces and implements.” – Olive Huang, Research VP, Gartner

Customer Experience (CX) Metrics

  • “The revenue impact from a 10% improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion.” – Forrester 
  • “Different teams and different executives can have heated debates about your product….Who’s right?  Net Promoter Score is.  It’s the voice of the customer.  If you have a high NPS score, you’re doing something right here, no matter the feature gaps or other issues.  If it’s low — take action, my friends.  Stop being so proud of yourself.  Your customers aren’t.” – Jason Lemkin, Venture Capitalist and Founder of SaaStr
  • “Bain analysis shows that sustained value creators—companies that achieve long-term profitable growth—have Net Promoter Scores (NPS) two times higher than the average company.” – Bain & Company
  • From The Predictive Ability of  Different Customer Feedback Metrics for Retention – Evert de Haan et al
    • All CX metrics (CFMs), except the CES, have a significant impact on retention at both the customer and firm levels.
    • Changes in top-2-box customer satisfaction, followed by the official NPS, have the highest impact on customer retention.
    • The predictive power of CFMs differs across industries, i.e. there is no single best metric across industries.
    • The usefulness of CFMs differs depending on the level of analysis, i.e. comparing customers or firms.
    • Combining CFMs tends to improve predictions. Therefore, firms might be better off using a dashboard of CFMs.

Customer Experience Failure

         Forrester’s data shows that:

      • 84% of firms aspire to be a CX leader, but only 1 out of 5 companies delivers good or great CX
      • The top four challenges facing CX professionals are organizational culture, organizational structure, organizational processes, and peer support and alignment.
      • Firms lack discipline in six competencies to execute great CX consistently: customer understanding, design, measurement, prioritization, delivery, culture.
        • Only 16% believe their customer-facing employees can summarize the full arc of the experience
        • Only 36% require prototyping and iteration
        • Only 50% have modeled how overall CX quality influences customer behavior
        • Only 49% know what key experiences are
        • Only 33% of rms require soft-skills training for customer-facing employees
        • Only 33% formally evaluate how customer-centric executives are before offering them a job

CX: Companies have a long way to go

(Source: Why CX? Why Now?)

Customer Experience (CX) and Growth, Loyalty & Retention

      • “55% – Customers would pay more to guarantee a good experience
      • 13% [of dissatisfied customers] tell 15 or more people (if unhappy)
      • 72% tell 6 or more people (if happy)” – Slideshare: CX for Executives, Esteban Kolsky, ThinkJar

Great CX Drives business results

(Source: Why CX? Why Now?)

      • “Customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experiences.” – Peter Kriss, Senior Research Scientist at Medallia and the Director of Research for Vision Prize (Source: The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified)

CX drives Sales

(Source: The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified)

CX and Loyalty

(Source: Customer Experience Leads to Recommendations)

      • “As a SaaS startup grows, recurring revenue begins to fuel the company. Not too far into the future, the existing customer base begins to contribute more of the startup’s revenue than new customers and bookings. Each startup will observe this revenue composition transition at a different point in its evolution because it’s a function of growth rate and churn rate. This evolution demands a focus on retention, upsell and cross-sell.” Tomasz Tunguz, VC at Redpoint (Source: The Strategic Shift In Revenue For SaaS Startups As They Scale)

Renewals as a percent of revenue

(Source: The Strategic Shift In Revenue For SaaS Startups As They Scale)

Customer Experience Transformation

      • “The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.” – Customers 2020, Walker
      • Organizational culture remains a top priority for CX transformation among CX Executives and CMOs (CX + Marketing). – Forrester (Source: Twitter)
        Org Culture is top of mind for CX Pros
      • “Every organization, every company across the line needs to go from a relatively anonymous relationship to a one-to-one relationship with the customer. They need to think, ‘How do I connect with my customer in a whole new way?’ No industry is exempt from this transformation.” – Marc Benioff, CEO at Salesforce (Source: 14 Memorable Quotes from #ET13)
      • “Analytics, personalization, digital store, and omnichannel tech are high priority / key investments for most firms in 2017.” – Zhi Ying Ng, Forrester Analyst (Source: Twitter)

12 CX Technologies to watch

      • “Customers are evolving in five key ways, which is driving customer empowerment: willingness to experiment, self-efficacy, information savviness, device usage, digital / physical integration.” – Forrester (Source: Twitter)

Customers are evolving in 5 key ways CX

(Source: @Forrester)

Customer Experience is the New Brand

Every single one of these customer experience quotes leads us to a final thought: if Customer Experience is the subjective sum total of a customer’s life-long experience and perception of a company – it’s really your brand. Consider:

Brand is not a thing. It’s a perception. And by no means today is the brand controllable.” – Dipanjan Chatterjee, Forrester VP & Principal Analyst (Source: The new brand framework, how emotions fuel your brand energy [Podcast])

In an eerie echo of the first Forrester quote, “Customer Experience is how customers perceive their interaction with your company,” brand and CX are drawing closer and closer together, becoming nearly indistinguishable from each other. This, as much as anything predicted or observed by the experts cited above, is the future of business: Your brand is only as good as your customers feel about it.

Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

The Loyalty Metric: A Brief History of Net Promoter Score and How to Use it in Practice Today

More than two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 list currently use Net Promoter Score, a customer loyalty metric introduced by Fred Reichheld in a 2003 Harvard Business Review article, “The One Number You Need to Grow.” One number. And to get to that one number, you only have to ask one question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this [product/brand/company/service]?” Anyone who scores 0-6 is considered a Detractor. Passives rate 7 and 8. Promoters are those who score 9s and 10s – extremely likely to recommend.

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting Detractors from Promoters. Scores can range anywhere from -100 to 100. It couldn’t be simpler, or more powerful. Since 2003, the popularity of that one number has grown exponentially, spawning specialty apps to track it and spurring researchers to study it. The most recent study by Temkin Group of 10,000 U.S. consumers showed a direct connection between NPS and customer loyalty across 20 industries. In 291 companies, NPS was highly correlated to the likelihood of repeat purchases from existing customers. In fact, promoters across those 20 industries were 92% more likely to make more purchases than detractors (not surprising), were 9 times more likely to try new offerings, and 5 times more likely to repurchase. Promoters were also 7 times more likely than Detractors to forgive companies if they made a mistake. Loyalty is lucrative. The ability to measure and improve it is imperative. And that’s where NPS comes into play.

Calculating Loyalty Used to be Hard

The CEOs in the room knew all about the power of loyalty. They had already transformed their companies into industry leaders, largely by building intensely loyal relationships with customers and employees. – “The One Number You Need to Grow,” Frederick F. Reichheld Reichheld’s NPS origin story begins in a boardroom with chief executives from brands like Chick-fil-A and Vanguard. They’d gathered to discuss what they were doing to increase customer loyalty, and when the CEO of Enterprise Rent-a-Car spoke, everyone listened. He’d found a way to quantify loyalty that didn’t use traditional, complex and faulty customer surveys. His solution was a poll with just two questions:

  • How would you rate the quality of your rental experience?
  • How likely are you to rent from us again?

The simplicity of this approach allowed for faster results – nearly real-time feedback – that could then be relayed to the company’s far-flung branches. But Enterprise did something else as well: They only counted the customers who gave their experience the highest possible rating. Why ignore the less happy customers? Because concentrating on the happiest customers let the company focus on a main driver of growth – the customers who returned to rent again and recommended Enterprise to their friends. Today’s NPS hasn’t ventured far from Enterprise’s system, and it is still has two-parts:

  • “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this [product/brand/company/service]?”
  • “Why did you give us that score?”
Setting up an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Leverage customer feedback and drive growth with a real-time approach to NPS.

How SaaS companies use Net Promoter Score in practice

NPS has risen in popular estimation from ‘a nice number to know’ to the most important number you can track for growth for a reason. But to understand that reason, you have to see how real companies are using this information. Receipt Bank is an award-winning bookkeeping platform that saves accountants, bookkeepers, and small businesses valuable time and money, and all of their business is subscription-based. While every business can benefit from NPS, growth of subscription-based businesses are inherently tied to customer loyalty – customers have to choose, over and over again, to come back. Receipt Bank had a challenge though. They recognized the value of measuring user NPS, and so were sending monthly emails to survey sample groups across their user base. However, this method was time-consuming to set up, and resulted in their NPS score only being updated on a monthly basis. With new initiatives being constantly released across Receipt Bank to improve the customer experience, monthly sampling just didn’t provide the quality of insight needed. In addition to the delay, users were reluctant to respond when presented with another email task to complete. Conversion rates were low. With the happiness of users on the line, Receipt Bank needed a fast, efficient way to gauge how well their product performed. To overcome these challenges, ReceiptBank tested triggering their NPS surveys in-app — while users were logged in and using their product. Their hunch was right, and their survey response rate jumped ten fold in the first 48 hours.

Quick path to high response rates & real-time NPS

Segment offered an ideal implementation solution: It is a central data and analytics platform that allows Receipt Bank to turn on tools for their teams as needed. Every team has its own data needs and its own list of preferred tools. In addition to tools that let ReceiptBank report on marketing campaigns, message their customers, A/B test, and find fresh user insights, they used Segment to integrate Wootric, a customer feedback management platform that delivers the NPS questionnaire in-app, to measure user experience. “Because of Segment, Wootric was simple to install and within a few hours, we had live NPS data like we’ve never had before,” says Steve Lucas, ‎Customer Experience Manager at Receipt Bank.

Delivering the NPS question in-app, while customers are using the product, continues to result in higher response rates. Not only that, but in-app surveying allows for a more representative sample of their active users, providing more powerful insights into their customers’ happiness. “We’ve seen a much higher response (10x) using in-app messaging to obtain our NPS data. Having a real-time NPS pulse has really helped us support our users better and resolve root causes to improve the CX for our whole customer base,” says Steve.

Improved Net Promoter Score = higher loyalty

“The combination of closing the feedback loop effectively and identifying common experience shortcomings has allowed us to improve our NPS score by at least 40% in just 6 months,” Steve reports. Once a company establishes its baseline score, it can then pursue A/B testing and other means to continually improve it. Receipt Bank, like most companies, combines the basic NPS question with a qualitative, or open-ended, follow-up question that asks users to explain their answer. Armed with these insights, companies can test improvement ideas to see what works best for their best customers. NPS is also a valuable addition to Customer Success programs. Wootric reports that Customer Success teams use their constant stream of customer health data to save accounts at the first signs of trouble, identify promoters ready for upsells, and celebrate clients’ successes – reinforcing their positive perceptions of the product. NPS works on multiple levels to alert you to trends in your user base, and reinforce your users’ positive perspectives of your company. It’s no wonder that promoters are more likely to become repeat buyers, upgrade their accounts, try new offerings, and recommend your company.

Taking action by Net Promoter Score segment

Now that you know who is a Promoter, Passive or Detractor, what can you do about it? Promoters offer the most immediate wins. Clearly, they’re already finding success with your product, so the question becomes: Could they be even more successful with an upgrade, expansion, or additional feature? But don’t just focus on selling, even though Promoters may be ready to buy. Show your appreciation. Make them love you even more. These are your best customers! And, most importantly, empower them to become vocal advocates of your brand. Don’t be afraid to immediately ask them to leave reviews for you, Tweet about you, or participate in your latest Instagram hashtagathon. Encourage them to join an “inside circle” of community members in a private Facebook group or section of your site. Making your best customers feel appreciated is the best thing you can do to attract more of them. Passives are tough cases. They’re just not that impressed, and your job is to figure out why. Hint: They’re not achieving the success they’d hoped for with your product, in all likelihood. Why is that? It’s worth your time to find out. Detractors do not like your company and/or your product. And for some of them, it can’t be helped – but don’t worry. They’re probably not your ideal customers. Some of them shouldn’t even be using your product in the first place, like a guy who wants to heat a frozen pizza quickly so he buys a toaster (instead of a toaster oven). But others have legitimate grievances, and they are worth winning back. First, determine whether or not they are your ideal customers (did they want the toaster oven?). If they’re not, point them in the direction of a product – even a competitor’s product – that will get them the results they want. They’ll be so impressed. Non-ideal clients waste time and resources, are never happy, are always willing to jump ship for cheaper competitors anyway, and are more likely to be detractors than promoters. By sifting them out, you can put your focus on target clients who will love you, promote you, and not drive your customer service department crazy in the process. Everybody wins! However, if detractors are your ideal customers, find out why they aren’t willing to recommend you. Did they have a bad experience? Are they not achieving their desired outcomes? All segments, however, benefit from receiving responses to the feedback they so generously give you. So remember to acknowledge their effort with something as simple as a quick, personal thank you.

NPS is a journey, not a destination

NPS is an ongoing effort that never really ends, and never should. Keeping your finger on the pulse of how your customers feel about you will become central to how you conduct your business – if you let it.

Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

Our product: What we’ve built, what’s next & why

As the co-pilots of Wootric’s product team, we’re excited to share all the progress we have made in the past twelve months, and also give you all a peek into what’s on the immediate horizon for Wootric.

Expanding our offering while boosting customer happiness

At Wootric we prioritize people, product, and process–in that specific order. At the end of day it’s people who build products and support our customers; process is there for people to be productive, not to get in their way. We are very pleased to see that in this competitive job market we have not only retained all our team members but have also grown the team to deepen our machine learning and big data prowess.

As you can imagine, we work hard to “walk the talk” of boosting customer happiness.  I’m happy to report that Wootric’s Net Promoter Score has improved 7 points year over year. We are especially proud of this trend as we have grown (rapidly) and the capabilities of our platform have developed exponentially. As we drive innovation in customer feedback management, our own customers — like Docusign, Mixpanel and Hootsuite — are seeing the value of our platform and the way we prioritize their success.

Wootric's NPS July 2017
Wootric’s own Wootric NPS Dashboard – July 2017

Ensuring our customers have the insights they need to improve customer experience

Now let’s talk about product. One sentence that would describe our evolution this past year? We have evolved from an Net Promoter Score survey tool to a platform that effortlessly turns all of your customer conversations into insights. In a world where customer experience is the new battlefield for competitive advantage, this empowers you, as a business, to shift from product-led growth to the holy grail of customer-led growth.

Here are new features to back up this evolution claim:

  • New survey types: Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) Survey, in addition to NPS
  • New survey channels: Email and SMS, in addition to in-app web and mobile
  • New Integrations: Salesforce, Mixpanel, Intercom, Slack, Zendesk, Webhooks
  • Email Templates: Mailchimp, Intercom, Marketo, Hubspot, Salesforce Pardot, PersistIQ, Zoho, Amity
  • Survey respondent profiles
  • API your way to almost everything
  • Big Data warehousing through partnerships with Stitch Data and XPlenty
  • Accessibility improvement.  Wootric surveys, now compliant with Section 508 standards, can be filled out by the visually impaired — highly valued in education and government services.

Among these features, if we were to pick the two that most impact our customers’ growth, they would be (a) launching our Salesforce Managed Package on the AppExchange and (b) the integration with Intercom. Both Salesforce and Intercom are two-way integrations in which Wootric enriches your CRM and Customer Support software with customer feedback and at the same time allows you to trigger surveys to customers based on events in Salesforce and Intercom. This has a huge impact on renewal and upsells because your sales and success teams have more context into what your customers think of your product and services.

It’s been a fun challenge to keep a balance between new feature development and upgrading our infrastructure to handle our growth.  Our already ‘big data’ platform has exploded this year, with 300% growth in survey responses, and over 800% growth in REST API calls.  (To reiterate: API all the things!)  Our tech stack now includes Elastic Search, PostgreSQL, Redis, and several Amazon (AWS) and Google Cloud (GCP) services.  Our infrastructure and devops are ready to handle the growth we foresee in next 12 months.

But that’s all in the past!

Our current focus is to add more intelligence to our service.

We are working on being smarter about who to survey and when to survey so that you can converse with more of your customers. And, once we have your customers’ feedback, we will provide better and more automated insights through the use of artificial intelligence.

AI-powered insights trained by millions of survey responses

Because the survey data we receive is unstructured text, it’s a great use case for the meeting ground between machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Besides leveraging the Google Cloud Platform, we are creating our own industry-specific machine learning algorithms that analyze open-ended human-generated feedback.  CX Insight™, our text and sentiment analysis product–trained by millions of survey responses–focuses first on SaaS, e-commerce, and media use cases. As with all things Wootric, this has been a customer-led effort. Our customers expect that AI-powered insights will provide them with a game-changing ability to improve customer experience.

Wootric is at the forefront of a revolution in customer experience intelligence and we look forward to sharing this journey with you.  Thank you.


Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

How to Start a Customer Success Program from Scratch

If your SaaS company hasn’t leapt on board the Customer Success train yet, it’s likely due to “focusing on other things,” or “we don’t have the budget for that right now.” But prioritizing a customer success program pays big dividends in returning revenue – so much so that it’s gaining the reputation as the ultimate growth hack. That’s not hype – Customer Success is how SaaS businesses raise retention rates and increase referrals while paving the road for cross-sells and upsells.

Why Should You Establish a Customer Success Program?

If you’re focusing most of your resources on acquisition, you’re missing out on one of the greatest growth engines at your disposal.

“Customer success is where 90% of the revenue is,” – Jason Lemkin, venture capitalist and founder of SaaStr

Customer Retention

Acquisition may get the ball rolling, but retention is where the big money is. Big, sustainable money that costs less and less to make. And, this alchemy only works when customers achieve the successes with the product or service that they’d hoped for upon signing up. Customer success programs are large factors in reducing churn and helping increase long-term customer retention.

Expands Business

Statistically, successful customers:

  • Spend more money over time
  • Are highly likely to consider additional products and services
  • Serve as enthusiastic brand advocates that reduce the Cost to Acquire new customers (CAC)

Easier Future Acquisition

That last point, customer evangelism (aka. brand advocacy), is the most significant benefit of Customer Success and the one that leads to spending less on acquisition efforts, while acquiring more customers.

When your company understands what success means to your customers, then ensures they receive what they need to achieve it, those customers respond – on Facebook, on Twitter, on Yelp, on Linkedin, and in person. They become not just your fans, but your best salespeople, helping your company grow.

But how do you start a customer success program from scratch?

First, let’s start with what customer success really is, because any time a term becomes a “buzzword” it tends to lose its original meaning.

What Is Customer Success?

Customer Success is how you help customers achieve their desired outcomes, even if those outcomes are outside of the product or service you provide. 

With this as our definition, Customer Success is really about one thing: Giving your customers everything they need to be successful with your product – within and outside of the product.

For example, if a person downloads a SaaS budgeting app, they don’t want to budget per se, but they do want to pay off their credit card debt and start saving for a kitchen remodel. That is what success means. Not using the app. Not budgeting. But finally running your hands over smooth quartz countertops and showing off that Big Chill refrigerator when the neighbors come over.

That is success. Your product or service is merely the means to get there.

Sure, you can pile more tasks onto your Customer Success department, like planning upsells and cross-sells and customer referral rewards programs. But if you don’t have that one thing in place first – their success – you can’t move onto anything else.

You Had One Job

It’s why I advocate building Success Milestones into Product Development’s user flows.

What Are Success Milestones?

Success Milestones are when customers receive value – value that they recognize – from using a product. It’s when that budgeting app customer saves their first thousand towards that Big Chill ‘fridge.

Building Success Milestones into your user flow is a useful way to chart what’s happening within the app and link it to wins happening in real life.

For businesses looking to build a Customer Success program from scratch, this is a key concept. Your process begins by understanding your ideal customer’s real life.

You need to understand how your product fits into their lives, helps them achieve their real-life goals, what frustrates them, and what blocks them from achieving those goals.

Which leads us to Step 1.

How to Start a Customer Success Program

Step 1. Get to know your ideal customer really well (through qualitative data)

When your company was merely a gleam in your founder’s eye, there was (hopefully) a process in place to identify ideal customers and find out what problems they needed to solve, which pain points felt the worst, and what they deeply wanted to achieve.

If your founder followed the Lean Startup methodology, customer interviews happened to ensure product-market/problem-solution fit well before Product Development set to work.

But, if your company skipped those steps, you’ve got a lot of qualitative data to catch up on.

Don't panic everything will be okay

Do not panic. You don’t have to start at the beginning, because you have a product and customers already. What you need to do now is focus on the segment of customers who fit into your ideal customer profile.

Your ideal customers are: Customers who love your product, use it, and tell other people about it because they love it so much.

You can identify which of your existing customers fall into this category by tracking brand mentions, but you can also just ask.

When it comes to identifying your best customers, a Net Promoter Score survey is fast and efficient. You can send the survey via email or within your app (a less disruptive option), and ask existing customers “On a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being most likely, how likely are you to recommend this product to friends and colleagues?”

Anyone who scores a 9 or 10 is a “Promoter.”

Promoters are the people we want to speak with when developing Customer Success Program strategies because we know, for certain, that they have problem/solution fit. Not all customers do. Customer Success can only do so much, and if there isn’t that problem/solution fit from the start, you can’t manufacture it. So you have to identify it, attract more of it, and nurture it.

Customer Success is as much about identifying customers likely to be a good fit as it is helping them achieve their ideal outcomes.

Ask some of your Promoters – those who scored 9s and 10s –  if they’d be willing to speak with you, or at least fill out a detailed open-ended-question survey, so you can confidently identify your ideal customer’s needs, wants, pain points, ideal outcomes and more. This qualitative data will allow you to create solutions that speak uniquely to them.

Sarah E. Brown, Head of Customer, Community and Brand Marketing at ServiceRocket, uses a Voice of Customer program with NPS to understand how well they’re delivering outcomes for customers and improve marketing at the same time:

“VOC is executed through our marketing function in conjunction with our Customer Success team, and together we are able to identify high NPS customers as brand advocates and follow up with them to create high-value marketing collateral like co-hosted webinars, case studies, podcasts and video testimonials.

Through our NPS review program, we have an incredibly clear picture into our customers who are using our product to achieve successful outcomes. Then we channel them into becoming vocal advocates who bring in new customers and help current customers love our software even more.”

Step 2. Build Your Team

Once you understand who you’re serving and what they’re trying to achieve, you need to put your team together. Sure, you could hire an experienced Customer Success manager or consultant, but you can also look inside your own building – at the Sales department.

A good salesperson already knows your product and your customers, which makes for a relatively easy transition. The key, however, is to shift the sales mindset from selling the product to setting up customers for success.

That can be a substantial challenge. Because sometimes, a customer’s success won’t come from being upsold, and it can run counter to the salesperson’s gut instincts to not jump at an immediate sale, and say “Hey, your company is on the smaller side. I don’t think you need this additional service yet. So let’s focus on how we can help you grow to the point where this service would be really useful.”

Customer Success can, sometimes, mean delayed gratification. But the loyalty you build by giving advice that is 100% to the customer’s benefit is priceless.

When assembling your Customer Success team, there are a couple more very important characteristics to watch out for: You’ll need people who are good team players and great communicators, because the most effective Customer Success teams are those that work closely with Sales, Service and Product to find ways to bridge success gaps.

Step 3. Determine What Structure You Need to Help Customers Reach Their Ideal Outcomes

If you have the resources, investing in a full-service Customer Success platform, like Gainsight, is a great way to begin. But these solutions can be out of reach, budget-wise. If that’s the case, then you may have to DIY and create your own processes.

Things you’ll need to consider:

  • Customer segments – do you have one “ideal customer” or an “ideal customer” for each user segment?
  • Do your user segments require different levels of help to reach their ideal outcomes? Often, one segment of users needs a higher-touch approach than another segment (and no, you shouldn’t base higher-touch vs. lower-touch solely on how much the segment pays – a lower paying segment might have high-paying potential with the right nudge).
  • What are the desired outcomes for each segment? Do they require different resources to reach them?
  • How do you intend to track customer health? What can you identify as “red flags” of disengagement?
  • Do you have a way to mark different customers according to their life stage – and whether/when they are reaching their Success Milestones?
  • If you have an existing product and the ability to track user behavior within it, where do users drop off?
  • Is there a process in place to identify when certain Success Milestones are reached and present opportunities for logical upsells?
  • Where are success gaps happening for each segment? (A success gap is the space between what your product does and the user achieving his or her desired outcome).

Step 4. Must-Have Metrics

  1. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is the foundation for a strategy to increase ROI and sustain growth, but its shortest definition is: The revenue earned from a single customer over time. LTV includes Cost to Acquire a new Customer (CAC) and Churn rate – how quickly customers leave. However, most calculations fail to include cross-sells, up-sells, and the value of referrals for each customer, which increase LTV. To affect LTV, your marketing strategies should take these other factors into account as well. LTV is, perhaps, the most important metric CSMs in subscription-based businesses can track because it’s the best at predicting success… or failure. Cost to Acquire (CAC) is intimately connected with LTV because if your CAC is higher than or equal to your LTV, your business is FAILING! The Cost to Acquire number comes from tracking metrics like  manufacturing costs, research, development, and marketing – everything you need to convince a potential customer to buy. While the equation is simple enough – just divide the total costs of acquisition by total new customers within a specified time period – adding up every acquisition-related activity is where companies get bogged down.
  2. Net Promoter Score (NPS) works better than churn to score how well you’re doing at delivering desired outcomes. Sometimes, an unhappy customer won’t get around to churning – the effort is just too low on their to-do list. But if you ask that customer if they’d recommend you to a friend (the NPS question is “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”), you’ll get an honest answer. Many NPS platforms also allow you to segment your surveys for even deeper insights. This is a great number to use if you haven’t got time to creat a complex customer health score system.
  3.  Churn is important to track, but more so in the context of understanding what causes churn and how you can proactively prevent churn. Yes, you need to know how many people are leaving. But that number is too little, too late. What you really need to track are the leading indicators of churn.
  4. Customer Effort Score – Traditionally used by support teams, CES can also be used to get feedback on user experience in onboarding, new feature setup, and to identify obstacles to users finding value.

Setting up an NPS program? Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Leverage customer feedback and drive growth with a real-time approach to NPS.

There are others. Groove reduced churn by 71% by using what they called “red flag” metrics, including:

  •         Length of first session
  •         Frequency of logins
  •         Total number of logins 
  •         Time spent on individual tasks (the longer the time spent, the more trouble the user is probably having, and the more likely they are to churn)

Whatever metrics you track, essentially, you need to know how well your customers are doing at any given time, identify when they’re experiencing success, be alerted when they run into trouble, and have a plan in place for helping them to grow and succeed even more (by using more of your product when it can benefit them).

It’s helpful to plan all of this within the context of the Product department’s user flows, which brings us to…

Step 5. Collaborate

Customer Success can’t do its best work separated off from other departments, keeping its data in a silo. It won’t do you any good to collect all of this data on your customers if you can’t share what you learn with departments able to act on that information.

To really begin to see the results of your Customer Success program, you’ll need to open lines of communication with Sales, Customer Service and Product Development so you can work together to identify and bridge success gaps for customers. Better yet, invite one person from each department to be part of the Customer Success team.

One example of effective collaboration is between Product and Customer Success. Customer Success needs Product Development to address product-specific success gap issues, and Product Dev needs to understand the broader concept of ideal outcomes, and where success gaps are occurring, from Customer Success. A good place to start collaborating is to align behind customer feedback. Use that to start discussions and to lay the foundation for the solutions you can find together.

When you bring these two departments together, you can achieve all of that and more, like building in Success Milestones into the app itself so users can track their own successes (and sales teams can keep tabs on their progress and introduce upsell suggestions when they make sense).

Step 6. Focus on One Thing at a Time

Is it retention after onboarding? Identifying upsell opportunities? Filling success gaps? Once your customer success program is set up, it can be hard to figure out what to focus on next. Kayla Murphy, Customer Growth, Advocacy and Success at Trustfuel works with early-stage Customer Success teams and recommends focusing on one thing at a time.

“Start with one focus and build processes to go with it. Institute QBRs (Quarterly Business Reviews) or regular check-ins. Start tracking your usage data and figuring out which metrics give you the best picture of customer health.

Just start.

Many of the teams I work with felt a great deal of analysis paralysis at the beginning of their customer success journey. They were worried about annoying customers, tracking the wrong metrics, or focusing so much on unhealthy accounts that morale dies. You have to start somewhere and no one knows more about your customers right now than you. Start being proactive and consistently evaluate your processes.”

Just start, perhaps, is the best advice.

How it All Works Together

Let’s pretend that customer acquisition is a game of “Who can prove their worth the fastest?”

The players are you and your competitors.

When a new user signs up to try your product, it triggers a series of events – the goal of which is proving your worth before that user gets bored and signs up with your competition.

When a new user signs up…

–          The new user receives a welcome email from a Customer Success agent who asks them what they would most like to achieve with your product.

–          The new user is impressed that somebody cares (they care! They really care!) and replies: “I’d like to sell more balloon poodles at the next county fair.”

–         The Customer Success agent replies “I love balloon poodles! So cool! Would 50 more balloon poodles be a realistic starting goal for the next 3 months?”

See what happened there? The customer success agent keys in on the new customer’s desired outcome, then creates a specific, measurable, attainable goal that they can keep track of. Maybe there’s even a page built into the website that helps the customer track their own progress towards their goal.

These steps don’t need to happen over email (although this is exactly what Slack does during onboarding). They can happen within your product too. Or a combination, like using a simple in-app how-to program to guide newbies through their first several actions. Then you might use customer feedback on their desired outcomes to send them an appropriate ebook or link to relevant blog posts to help them achieve it.

Essentially, you prove your worth by making your customer’s success a priority – and making sure they know it!

Build an effective customer success program with InMoment today.

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