Customer success without usage data is like choosing a washboard over a washing machine. You can still get your laundry done with the washboard but there’s really just one setting. The washing machine gives you more options: wash cycles, water temperatures, and spinning speeds. Before you get totally lost in this metaphor, the point I’m trying to make is: customer success with usage data gives you the options to do it better.

I recently interviewed Dan Conlon, who has more than 16 years of end-user and partner service provision success in the automotive retail technology sector, to ask him about his thoughts on what role usage data plays in customer success.

“Usage data is absolutely a key component to fostering customer success. It’s a heck of a lot easier than without it,” shared Dan. The big question he believes customer success professionals should be asking themselves with everything they’re doing is: “How is what I’m doing right now benefitting the client, and if it’s not, why am I doing it?” A company he previously worked for made it a point to categorize support tickets rather than working mindlessly to clear out the queue. “It was important because it was an efficient way to see what kind of tickets were coming in — whether they were feature or process related — and which areas needed our attention.”

CES Satisfaction Customer Effort ScoreOne interesting tidbit he shared was that he felt too many companies were wasting time trying only to delight customers (which is mostly an end result) versus making them more efficient or making their lives easier. “Knowing low-cost, effective ways to delight your customer is important, but be sure you are asking yourself how often are people calling back about the same thing or following up on issues. That should be an indicator that we need to take a look at what’s going on or that our processes aren’t proactive nor efficient enough.” If you’ve ever heard of CES (Customer Effort Score) then you’ll know it’s about reducing the friction of helping customers achieve their objectives. It’s almost like a reverse approach to add value to their experience.

These may be different aspects of viewing and measuring the customer journey and experience, but ultimately, it’s still usage data. It may not be strictly about your software or how they’re using your product, but it could be about your support organization or processes, and more importantly it’s from the customer’s perspective.

Although it’s commonly believed that price is everything, Dan advises that companies should be more of a premium provider and not just compete on factors like price. If the customer is making more revenue from using a solution than it costs to have it, they are more likely to be satisfied.

Power up!

Your customer will always want to know the ROI of using your solution. You need usage data to educate your customer in an informed and intelligent way. For example, your team can reach out and say “I see where you’re missing an opportunity to increase efficiency threefold because you’re not using features X, Y, Z. Let me show you how.”

Like doctors and their patients, your success absolutely depends on your relationship and success with your customers. It won’t be enough to just handle interactions as one-offs but rather part of an ongoing journey together.