Congratulations! You just got your new gig as a leader in Customer Success and more than likely, you’ve been brought in because of a churn problem. One of the most important things you can do to help you get a handle of your new responsibilities is to develop a Customer Success scorecard. In this post, we’ll offer advice on how you can create your scorecard, as well as offer examples of advanced programs your business should strive for.

We know that Customer Success is often brought in to battle a churn problem, but prioritizing the creation of a Customer Success scorecard gives you an honest assessment of what your organization is good at and what areas need to be improved. In many ways, this can be a foundational piece for creating a strategy that gets your team out of firefighting mode and into a proactive Customer Success mindset.

The 11 Pillars of Customer Success and Your Scorecard

The 11 Pillars of Customer Success provides an operational framework for a world-class Customer Success organization. The “Pillars” are what you should be basing your Customer Success scorecard on and the None, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced swim lanes are how you should be scoring yourself.

“None” is pretty self-explanatory but you may have some questions about what defines “Basic,” “Intermediate” and “Advanced.” We’ll provide some examples of advanced programs below, as well as criteria that will help you categorize your program.

You’ll find a basic template of a Customer Success scorecard below.

Onboarding

Onboarding is the process for driving initial adoption of your product or solution. The importance of onboarding can’t be overstated because it can be the difference between a customer for life and a red account. A basic program will include sending an email with new user login credentials, as well as links to support pages. Intermediate onboarding programs will have the Customer Success Managers provide walkthrough of key features.

An advanced program incorporates handoffs, visibility and training. Done well, an onboarding program enables a business to hit the ground running and sets the stage to grow up-sell opportunities.

Training

Training should be available to end users, admins and/or executives in order to maximize their capabilities with the product. Basic training programs can include a help section or support portal, while an intermediate one can provide customized training for large/strategic accounts. An advanced program includes a systematic approach to ensure that key personas are educated on the product throughout their lifecycle with assets, help portals, intelligent nurture campaigns and more.

Escalations

All organizations should have a program for managing and resolving at-risk accounts. Basic escalations programs will do things like track the resolution in a CRM system, while an intermediate program will have cross-functional teams engaged to resolve the issue.

Advanced programs include an effective process that enables organizations to mobilize resources in the most meaningful way to deliver timely service, as well as identify service patterns and trends that led to the escalation.

One View of the Customer

You wouldn’t want a doctor to diagnose a patient by just taking their pulse. Likewise, you shouldn’t assess customer health with just one input. The different levels utilize increasing amount of feedback mechanisms. A basic program may utilize usage data and CRM. An intermediate blends those signals with Customer Satisfaction and marketing data. An advanced program gives you a full view of the customer by incorporating usage data, CRM, service desk tickets, social media, customer advocacy information and more into a centralized view.

Early Warning System

The faster you know a customer is at risk, the faster you can take action to improve the customer’s health. A basic program will provide simple alerts based on uncomplicated triggers like a drop in usage data. Intermediate can provide multidimensional alerts like a power user usage dropping in the last week.

A robust early warning system provides your Customer Success team with actionable alerts that identify at-risk accounts, as well as which opportunities are ripe for expansion. These alerts are based on an accurate Customer Health Score that incorporates structured data like billing systems and unstructured data like the personal insights of account managers.

Business Reviews

This is the process for reviewing customer progress, including usage, adoption, current business value and expansion opportunities. Basic business reviews will share usage reports with a customer’s system admin, while an intermediate program will include Quarterly Business Reviews that go over adoption, best practices and new features.

An advanced program is structured, strategic and utilizes data-driven discussions about business value. These should include onsite business reviews with all the stakeholders to present insights based on usage data, share best practices, verify the current business value.

Renewals

Renewals are the lifeblood of successful SaaS businesses because it’s less expensive to generate more revenue from existing customers than to constantly acquire new ones. Renewals are also an important signal that customers are achieving value from your solution. A basic renewal program consists of sending renewal invoices at the appropriate date. An intermediate program has a Success member proactively managing the renewal cycle 90 days in advance of the expiration date.

An advanced program is proactive and operates with the hypothesis that renewal management starts at the point of sale. This includes monitoring renewal progress throughout the entire customer journey, and having updated churn-probability reports that enable the Success team to take corrective actions early.

Up-Sell/Cross-Sell

While there’s a great debate about if Customer Success should own revenue, it’s clear that the department should be identifying up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. A basic program has the Customer Success team reactively managing requests based on customer inquiries, while an intermediate program can leverage business reviews to engage customers on up-sells and cross-sells. A stellar program is repeatable and scalable in the way it utilizes ROI success metrics to spot opportunities for expansion. This program also ensures that the expansion opportunities align with the customer’s business needs.

Voice of the Customer

Being able to incorporate customer feedback into your organization can have a dramatic impact throughout every department. A basic Voice of the Customer program includes yearly relationship surveys, and an intermediate program could take that up a notch by including in-product NPS surveys.

An advanced Voice of the Customer program can’t just be reliant on NPS, as it must also include other signals like relationship surveys, usage data and transactional surveys. This feedback must also be incorporated throughout the entire organization through elements like a product advisory panel.

Customer Advocacy

Customers who achieve success with your products can become your best resource because their advocacy can be more convincing than any marketing campaign. One report even said a 12% increase in advocacy could generate a 2X increase in revenue.

A basic customer advocacy program identifies potential advocates based on relationship data, while an intermediate program may utilize advocacy tools. An advanced customer advocacy program includes a systematic approach for identifying, growing and managing your advocates.

Lifecycle Marketing

Marketing doesn’t end once you’ve signed the deal, as campaigns targeting existing users can build your base of advocates, increase adoption and ultimately improve the overall customer experience. Basic lifecycle marketing programs will include elements like customer newsletters and welcome emails. An intermediate program will have Customer Success Managers manually identify which stage the customer is on and manually fire off campaigns accordingly.

A robust lifecycle marketing program factors in the customer’s level of engagement to deliver relevant and timely messages. This program should also seamlessly wire into your marketing automation system, as well as create clear communications lines between the Marketing and Success departments.

As we mentioned before, developing a Customer Success scorecard is extremely important because it gives you a benchmark on how you can measure your success. This scorecard can also be used to periodically assess how far efforts have come – Every quarter would be ideal but each business will have its own unique cadence.