Learn how to measure 13 customer success metrics and identify opportunities for improvement in this new article.
The success of your business hinges on the success of your customers.
If your product or service is able to help people achieve their goals and overcome pain points, you'll have no problem attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. If you can't help your customers achieve success, they'll go to someone else who can. It's as simple as that.
It's for this reason that customer success metrics are so important. They tell you whether your customers are experiencing success.
In this guide, we'll look at 13 of the most important customer success KPIs you should measure. By consistently measuring these metrics, you'll be able to gauge your customer success levels and identify opportunities for improvement.
Customer success metrics and KPIs are specific pieces of data used to determine whether customers are having success using your product or service. They enable you to see whether customers are adopting your product, continuing to use it, and recommending it to others.
Customer success metrics are essential to the ongoing growth of your customer base and the health of your company. The more your customers have success using your product or service, the more satisfied they will be and you'll have a higher Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), as well as a lower churn rate.
Now let's look at 13 essential customer success metrics that you should consistently track.
Churn rate is, arguably, the most important customer success metric to monitor. It is the percentage of customers who have terminated their accounts over a specific time period. For example, if at the beginning of the month you have 100 current customers, and by the end of the month 10 of those customers have left, your churn rate is 10%.
A high churn rate is always a bad sign, and it needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. If it continues to grow, and you're unable to bring those customers back or convince them to stay, you could run into serious revenue problems.
Start by looking for any patterns around when customers leave. Is there a consistent place in the customer journey where they tend to drop-off? Do they regularly churn after key events, like after implementing new features? Identifying when churn happens can help you determine what is causing it and address the problem.
Customer Lifetime Value is a measurement of the value a customer brings to your business over their entire relationship with you. It's a forward-looking metric that takes into account the revenue from all future purchases, minus what you paid to acquire that customer.
LTV is a critical customer success metric to measure for several reasons. First, a higher LTV means your customers are generally happy with what you offer and are loyal to you over the long haul. Additionally, knowing your LTV enables you to calculate what you can spend on acquiring new customers.
Focusing on increasing LTV and decreasing churn rate ultimately provides a significant boost to your bottom line.
Monthly recurring revenue is calculated by multiplying your total monthly active customers by the average revenue per user. This calculation tells you approximately how much revenue you're generating every month.
Why is this an important customer success metric? Two reasons:
The time to complete the onboarding process is tied closely to how well your product is adopted. Generally speaking, the longer the onboarding process takes, the less likely it is that a person will adopt your product. It's through the onboarding process that customers learn to use your product and see the value that it provides them. You want your customers to see the value of your product quickly so that they continue using it and exploring all that it has to offer.
If your average onboarding time is long, it suggests that your onboarding process is ineffective in some way. The first steps in using your product may not be clear. You may not have enough examples or be helping customers get enough quick wins early in the process. Whatever the case, you're not helping your customers get up to speed quickly enough and that must be addressed.
This customer success metric measures how long it takes until a user experiences value for the first time from using your product. In other words, how long before they experience their first win, even if it's small?
If users don't experience value from your product relatively quickly, they're not going to want to keep using it. If they don't get that first win relatively quickly, they'll think your product is too complicated and not worth learning. While you can help users to get more value over time by providing better training and resources, the initial experience has to include a quick win for them or otherwise they won't stick around.
The number of people who convert from a free to a paying customer is an indicator of both how effective your pricing strategy is and how well you onboard freemium or free trial users. If your free to paid conversion rate is low, it means that most of your new users don't experience enough value from your product in relation to what it costs.
To remedy this problem, you either need to change your pricing model or your onboarding process. If your lowest-paid tier is too high relative to the value new users receive, they aren't like to convert to a paid plan. If the problem is related to your onboarding process, identify ways you can get users up and running faster so that they can experience more value.
This success metric measures the percentage of customers that hit key milestones in the product adoption process and how long it takes them to get there. For example, if you're a SaaS company that sells project management software, a key milestone might be when users create their first multi-task project. Users that do this are much more likely to use the product for a lengthy period of time.
By identifying key progress milestones, you can determine whether the majority of your customers are making progress in the adoption process and identify any drop-off points. If you can determine why customers are dropping off at specific points, you can address the problem.
Customer engagement indicates how consistently customers are using your product. It's usually measured by calculating the percentage of users who perform a particular action with your product, such as logging in and using it for a certain length of time.
If this percentage is low, it indicates that users don't find your product to be valuable enough or are unable to use it in a way that benefits them. This could be due to your onboarding process not providing users with the knowledge and capabilities necessary to use your product in a beneficial way. Or, it could indicate a problem with the usability of the product itself.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key measure for gauging overall customer happiness. Customers are asked to rate their likelihood of recommending your product on a scale of 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Promoters are customers who score 9 or 10, while detractors are the ones who give you scores of 6 or lower. A higher NPS always correlates with higher retention rates, more referrals, and ultimately, more revenue.
You need to know what users think of your product or service in order to make informed decisions regarding future development. Both positive and negative feedback is helpful. Positive feedback gives you insights into what people love, and you can work to incorporate more of those things. Negative feedback helps you identify and reduce points of friction, as well as resolve any issues with users who had a bad experience.
First contact resolution rate is the percentage of customer support issues that are resolved by support members on the first attempt without requiring further actions.
This is an indicator of how well your support team is performing, which in turn indicates customer satisfaction levels and user experience with the product in general. If users need to keep following up for additional help resolving a problem, they'll be more likely to have a negative experience and stop using the product. If your support staff can resolve problems quickly, users are more likely to have a positive experience with the product.
This metric indicates how quickly support members respond to initial customer inquiries or problems. It doesn't necessarily mean that the problem is solved within the first contact, but measures how fast your support team can at least acknowledge incoming requests and begin to deal with them.
While it's obviously more important to solve the problems your customers are facing, it's also important to respond quickly when issues arise. Even if the problem can't be solved within the first contact, a quick response shows customers that you care and want to help them.
The Customer Effort Score (CES) measures how easy it is for customers to get the help they need when they encounter a problem. It measures how much work is required from customers to solve the issues that arise when interacting with your product or brand.
After experiencing poor customer support, users are unlikely to use your product again or recommend it to others. In fact, Gartner found that CES is a much better predictor of customer loyalty than customer satisfaction scores.
Use CES surveys with your customers to gain more insight into their overall experience and how you can improve it.
Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a measure of how satisfied users are with your product or service. It's similar to Net Promoter Score, but instead of asking your customers the likelihood of them recommending your product to others, it simply asks them to rate their experience with your brand.
In addition to asking customers to rate their satisfaction levels, you should also ask for feedback and suggestions on how to improve the user experience with your product. Use this information to implement changes that will help you retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Regardless of the industry you're in or the product you sell, your success depends on your customer's success. Use the customer success metrics we've discussed to determine whether your customers are getting sufficient value from your products or services and make adjustments based on the data. Focusing on helping your customers succeed ensures that your company will also succeed.
Molly Hocutt has been a Content Manager at Livestom since 2019. She has more than five years of experience in SaaS content writing and B2B marketing.
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