Customer Analytics and Reporting w/ CS Leadership Office Hours

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This is a podcast episode titled, Customer Analytics and Reporting w/ CS Leadership Office Hours. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week our topic is around customer analytics and reporting.</p><p><br></p><p>A weekly segment:</p><p>CS Leadership Office Hours</p><p>Every Thursday. 11:30am ET.</p><p></p><p>--</p><p>If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain:</p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...</p><p>Jay Nathan: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Jeff Breunsbach: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
Simplifying the Message
00:43 MIN
The Difference Between CSAT over NPS and the Benefit
00:55 MIN
Being Selective About What You Present
00:52 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Gain Grow Retain podcast.

Sherry: So just as a reminder of what our topic was today, were our customer analytics and reporting. What is your... If you have a dashboard, what does that look like? How do you surface these metrics to your leadership team and or your board? What do you share? How do you teach them what they need to know rather than what they want to know? What I mean by that is they're always very interested in the financials, which we know are lagging metrics, NRR, GRR, and those kinds of things. How do we talk to them about some of the leading indicators? And what teams are you working with, if any, to get that data and what tools are you using? There was a lot. There was a lot to pack in here today. So we'll go round for the... I think there were seven total groups, and we'll kick it off, group one.

Jeff: I will be bashful. Being a participant is nice, I'll tell you that. So appreciate you doing this, Sherry. We had Kelly. We had Pam. I just blanked, I'm sorry. So we were talking about Kelly and... Kelly has a little bit different of a business in terms of professional services and isn't necessarily SaaS related. So it's interesting conversation to look through what kind of metrics were important. Tools and systems, obviously, was a big thing, talking about how not everything's connected, so how do you start piecing these things together? Finance system is different than your CRM. Which one's the truth? How do you start looking into some of these things? But I think, at least for us, the big thing that I talked about was getting a strict hierarchy for our team to actually relate to. I think when we first joined the business, we had 50 metrics we're looking at. We were trying to pull on everything. We'd be looking at all these numbers that really didn't truly mean anything to anybody at that given time. So we tried to simplify the message. Obviously, at the end of the day, we're in the SaaS business, so either net revenue, retention, or gross revenue retention is probably the key indicator for 99% of us to keep our jobs. We use that as our North Star. Then to your point, Sherry, the way we've started to look at that is tier two, let's break it down. Tier one is just that big metric of gross revenue retention, we'll say. Tier two, let's break it down by the tiers and markets that we have. Tier three, we're getting into projects and behaviors that we're trying to impact tier two, which is going to impact tier one. So that hierarchy for us has just been really critical to get our teams aligned, make sure that we can simplify the message too. I think it's really started to connect our team to the business so that they can see," Hey, I'm working on this project" or" We're doing this type of behavior and it's impacting our tier two, which I feel like is going to impact tier one metrics." I think the big thing that we're working on now is just how do we get that all systematized? Some of it is in Salesforce. Some of it is in another tool. So we're trying to go through now and just clean that whole thing up. But I think, at least, we have a clear direction about where we're going now and starting with that tier one metric was the big thing for us.

Sherry: May I ask you a question with all of that? Because that's really interesting the way you said how the different tiers can affect some of those other, whether lower tiers or the lower tiers can affect some of that, the higher tiers. But in all of those, are you using usage data to help paint or do you help paint the picture of the customer and who they are and what do they want and their challenges like, and including usage and their voice? Does anyone include that in their metrics?

Jeff: Are you asking me or are you asking the group?

Sherry: I said, did you guys talk about that at all? If anybody wants to answer that.

Jeff: We talked a little bit about voice of customer as a big way that we are looking at programs to run to impact those tiers. For us, I guess, the big thing is we have a segmentation breakdown that we look at that takes into account their market inaudible is, as well as their opportunity with us. So when we're looking at those tiers, the reason why, let's say, we're using gross retention, why that's important to us is say, tier three gross retention is low. What are programs that we can go run towards that group that is going to help us increase retention? How do we get ahead of that? So using voice of customer, like you said, using some of the feedback data, maybe it's data in usage, but using that to influence what type of campaign or what type of program we're going to run towards that tier three is how we start rolling out programs, I think. So we're trying to use that as our maybe leading path of how do we use the voice of customer to drive the right program to that segment or cohort of customers to impact that retention, which is going to impact our overall retention, if that makes sense. Carry that through.

Sherry: It does. That's cool, thank you. This is also very weird that I'm telling you, thanks, Jeff. Moving along here. Who is the spokesperson for group two?

Russell : I'll take it. Let's see. We had [Chandler, Jeremy, Josh, and Dave 00:05:10]. Actually, we had a really similar conversation as to what Jeff talked about. We all started off saying that we wish it wasn't net revenue retention because there are just too many factors that play into that. But what we did say is that we wanted to figure out okay, at a leadership level, let's agree on what factors of net revenue retention customer success can impact and have control over, and then find a way to measure that. I don't want to put Chandler on the spot, but he said the... I was starting to make a system to figure out how to get that data into a stack and figure out what's important, but that was the main thing we did. We also touched on NPS a little bit. Dave had some really good perspectives on that, that it was basically meant to be a B to C metric and that there's a hypothesis out there, but it's horrible for B2B.

Sherry: I think I read that in the community the other day, this week. It had to be. Yeah, I agree with that. I am personally not a fan of NPS.

Russell : Yeah.

Carl: Russell, was there a discussion on... I knew we were talking about analytics, but was your discussion around on replacement for NPS then for that type of data?

Russell : We didn't get too far into that. My opinion is that surveys just have to be a little bit more nuanced in that. If you get a five to seven- question survey and you figure out what really matters to you, that your customers will respond on, you get a lot more insights out of that than just a single number type question.

Matt: I don't want to call out on Anna real quick. Anna said CSAT over NPS, and so I was just thinking there what would be the... Explain the difference in how that's beneficiary.

Anna: I knew you were going to ask that. Our customer research team is able to explain it so clearly, but I thought I'll probably butcher it, but I'll do my best. But the way they approach it as NPS has a tendency to be more volatile when you're looking at it quarter over quarter. So it's less meaningful based, at least, for our customer base and our sample size. NPS is more volatile. It's less meaningful looking at it quarter to quarter. So we use CSAT on a quarterly basis. We still capture like an NPS- type question in the CSAT survey, but we only look at it at a yearly basis as opposed to a quarter over quarter metric. There are other nuances that our customer research department can expand on around CSAT that I know there's other supporting materials on that. But ultimately, that was the biggest difference and the biggest reason why we switched. We used to report on NPS. A couple of years ago, we switched to CSAT because of that.

Matt: When you're looking at the NPS question there individually on a year, do you look at it calendar year, or lagging year, per customer, per segment?

Anna: We look at it like at the end of... We just looked at 2020's data in Q1 of this year. So we look at the previous year compared to the previous year. So it's calendar year.

Matt: Got it, yeah.

Anna: Then what was the other question? Oh, by segment. Some segmentation, yeah, like by- products. We have a decent customer base, but it's not gigantic. If we started to break it down too much, once again, you get to where is your sample size really big enough to where that data is still meaningful? So we typically just break it down by product. We can break it down further if there's a specific segment that we're interested in seeing something by, like admin versus end user and things like that. We have the ability to do that as well.

Matt: Yeah. I think as Carl made a good point that I think it was asking the right person, the opinion of a champion and executive sponsor. I think it'd be significantly more than someone who drops into the tool once every quarter.

Anna: Yeah.

Speaker 8: I was just going to say, our conversation ended up centering more about getting the right tool set because there's... We had Dave who is having to switch tools because of one type of software doesn't allow for how they actually do deals and how their accounts are set up. We had a couple of people who are currently looking to set up tools. Then we also have like Brian, who's actually using several different sources of data and doesn't have a dashboard, and might be able to put together some reporting in eventually, but they don't really even have the resources in- house to be able to put all of the reporting into a single dashboard. Or Laura, who is still trying to convince her CEO of a small startup that it's worthwhile to have a dashboard. So sometimes, it's really even just collecting the data in the way that's useful can be the first challenge to overcome.

Laura: All right, let me take it over. I haven't seen Matt. Congrats on the Liverpool win. I got to call it out, 3- 0 to Arsenal. Sorry for Arsenal fans, but I was super happy. Anyway, hey everybody. Had a great team. We had [Jessica, Jeremy, Sherry, and Ori 00:10:48]. So really thoughtful conversation. Everyone is really in the early, I think in a type of reporting to C- suite, reporting to boards in our team. I think to echo everyone else, we've covered the high- level metrics. But the other things that people talked about were product activity and engagement percentages, support and time to respond to tickets and close those, health scores, and then advocacy. One of thoughtful questions Jeremy proposed is, how do CSMs just experience comp KPIs actually tied to that? We had a really thoughtful conversation and, of course, it was an answer of it depends. But I thought it opened up a nice way of how can you take what is something that's going to the board and higher level to then drill down to more activity- based think through team goals around hitting advocacy scores, hitting a percent increase in reoccurring retention, and all of these things. It was a really strong conversation, but it took us into some nice pathways of how you streamline all of this data together.

Sherry: Thanks, Laura. Yeah, that was a great conversation. I will credit Jeremy for asking that really thoughtful question about how to put that together and how you look at the CSM is what you might share down versus what you might share up. I know one of the other things I said is, I think for me, I like to share a lot with my team because I think that helps to educate them on what that is. It's part of, for me, coaching and development, and they should understand what the business looks like. I think that's beneficial. It helps them have more educated, I think, conversations, not just with maybe executives in our company internally, but also with their customers. It gives them a more sense of comfort knowing how to talk to those things.

Laura: Sherry, really quick. One thing I thought that was so thoughtful that you added that I forgot to mention is the laggard versus forecasting. Sherry sounds like she's done a lot of thoughtfulness in how we can forecast those retention numbers versus always showing the laggard numbers to our executive and board teams. I think that is something that definitely needs to be added into the thoughtfulness of our strategy for quarter growth.

Sherry: Thanks. Yeah, we just talked about... One of the things we, boards, and I think execs always look at are things like your ARR, NRR, GRR, churn, CLTV, all of this stuff. They're lagging. When do we get them to or how do we educate them to look at the leading indicators? You may have that where... That's where I think a lot of evangelizing our roles and what CS does and some of those other leading indicators, it's up to us to educate them on what they need to know versus what they actually want to know in that case. I think we're up to group five.

Matt: You did miss out group three, but I won't take it personally.

Sherry: How did I miss you, Matt? Go ahead. We'll go backwards. Group three, let's go.

Matt: I'll be really quick. It was me, [Alona, Doreen, Ora, and Carlos 00:14:01]. we spoke about a couple of things. So working for different companies with different maturity of customer success organization or business will determine what you may choose to report or not report. I can talk about that from four or five different leadership roles I've had. What I'm reporting today at Cision at a very early start of our customer success organization is a lot more tactical and operational than it would have been at somewhere like SAP or Autodesk, where I was presenting a lot more strategic numbers. I think that's part of it. I think the other thing we touched on a little bit as well is being very careful about what data you're presenting. One of the things that I remember, one of my leaders at Autodesk spoke about, if you do not have a why a story to tell, do not present that number or that KPI because you'll get yourself into a world of problem that you probably can't get yourself out of. So just be very selective about what you present and why you're presenting it and what the story is behind it. The other thing I touched on or we touched on was just what we're using to report our dashboards. I'm using something called Domo, which is similar to Power BI, Tableau. We talked a little bit about that and inaudible. But that's a bit of a high- level summary. I don't think I've covered much more or we covered much more.

Sherry: So now I think we're up to group five.

Matt: Was five Jeff's group and they maybe just jumped in as one? I'm trying to remember when I saw her. Yeah, John's nodding. Yeah, I remember seeing the numbers of the groups.

Speaker 8: We were group one. And so that's why I just interjected at some point.

Sherry: Got you.

Matt: Who's going to volunteer as tribute?

Sherry: Are we at a deli counter or something?

Matt: The problem is that of our group of five, only Anna and myself are left, so I think what's crosstalk.

Anna: I'm also trying to remember if we were group six or not, Steve. crosstalk.

Steve: We were. Do you want to tag team it?

Anna: Sure. You start.

Steve: All right. We had [Abby, Anna, Laine, Kevin, 00:16:13] and myself. I think the overall view I got was everybody is at an earlier stage or early stage and still figuring things out when it comes to dashboards. Where I am specifically is last year was very much focused on dashboards related to the COVID impacts on our customers and how to figure out from a health score perspective whether our customers were likely to turn because of COVID. Now, we're revisiting that. Also, we've since implemented Catalyst as a CS platform. Part of that is how do we now track the things that matter in Catalyst and be able to report on them and to have them be part of the customer health score. So we're in this customer health score 3. 0 staging process right now of trying to figure out what that new health score looks like, but that's going to be an important piece of our dashboard when it comes to looking at customers.

Sherry: So if you're working on the health score... Because I know that was something I did last year and it was getting people to understand it and what it represents and that it's not the answer to everything. It's more of an indicator, is a challenge. I guess to that point, have you used a help score internally before? If not and this is new, how do you.... Do you have a plan to evangelize that going up?

Steve: Yeah. We did use it quite a bit last year, and it was primarily to really focus on, from a management perspective, which customers were likely to turn based on the impacts of COVID on their business. We had customers who overnight went from 3000 employees to 1, 000 employees. There were significant impacts in a lot of industries as we all know, and some of those customers were at high risk for churn. So we used it there, just more predicting, focused on net revenue retention numbers, and projecting that out and seeing how accurate we could be. The challenge we face is that, especially last year, a lot of our customers were lagging behind on their renewals. Not that they weren't happening, but normally, a lot of our medium- sized and large customers kick off that process mid- year and a lot of them didn't kick it off until third and fourth quarter because they were just trying to ride out COVID and see how it was going to impact them going forward into the next year and what those budgets might look like.

Sherry: Yeah, that's interesting. It's funny because when I was creating a health score, I did not use paying the payment of invoices as part of it, because sometimes it has nothing to do with, depending on the size of the company, procurement could make things inaudible. It take things forever and it has absolutely no bearing on what the team and the executives that I'm talking to, because they oftentimes don't even know and you have to get them involved. So that was one of the things that I had to weigh. Do I want to include this or not? Thank you. We're up to group... Was that group six? We have two more groups. Who wants to speak? We have six minutes left or five minutes left.

Steve: I can jump in for group seven if-

Sherry: Sure.

Steve: ...everybody's silent. But I was with [Claudette, Carl Gabriel, Jackie, and Peter 00:19:44]. We had a lot of discussion around the dashboard itself and what our challenges are, and what we have to report, and who we're reporting them to. I think a lot of us found that, me in particular, find that the numbers that we or the information that we provide on the dashboard often doesn't resonate too well with everyone else in executive leadership outside of revenue or numbers that helped to generate revenue, if that makes sense to everybody. But for me, I have always tried to force this information out to our executive team, as well as the company as a whole through different ways. One of which, I do a quarterly newsletter from customer success showing just the influence that we've had on revenue, renewal, customer satisfaction, making sure that customers have the information and the resources that they need in order to grow and what influence we've had on that. It seems to resonate a little better when it's given in that easy to read format. I even had our design director come up with something that was easy to read right in the middle of an email. So there's no attachment, there's no nothing, it's HTML- formatted and fits perfectly in a real quick snapshot for everybody to read. But our weekly executive leadership calls or meetings revolve around crazy dashboards and things that we're pulling from different systems. We have two revenue generation systems. We have a licensing system. We have our CRM. We have a lot of different things and a BI tool that works on top of most of those systems. So for me, our data is often contradictory or incomplete, I'll say. I think a lot of us in our group were finding that getting that data and being able to properly present it in a digestible format was a challenge. For a lot of us, building a CS program from the ground up took a lot more precedence over show me your results right away. It's more like, let me get my feet on the ground first, and then I can get you what you want. It's a challenge for those of us that come into existing companies to do that. I think there are idea of being able to come in at a startup with that knowledge is probably a much more ideal situation knowing that you can lay the groundwork and the framework from the beginning and be able to get that key data early on.

Sherry: Yeah. Thank you, Steve. I think it sounds like something we're all challenged with or thinking about as things change over time and what do we want to share and how do we share it and pulling different themes together and systems because it's a challenge. I think as James, you put it in the chat and I said earlier, it's probably something we can continue to talk about over time and even have this conversation in the community itself. Because I think it would be great if we had a followup in maybe a few weeks where we could share some dummy scrubbed dashboards and just an idea of how people are reporting that. I think we could definitely do that later. In the interest of time since we only have about a minute left and I want... I know everyone's anxious to get back to their email and life. What I want to say in the close is, I don't know if anybody is a fan of Brené Brown like I am, but she is the queen for me. I've been recently getting back into the Dare to Lead book and finding passages that I looked at and even listening to her podcast. One thing I was reminded is that life sits outside our comfort zone, and that vulnerability equals brave and daring leadership. The reason I bring that up is because I was super nervous to do this today. As much as I like to talk to people and connect and be social, I was scared I'd fail. I didn't necessarily want to agree to it because I just didn't think I could do it. Then I realized the discomfort is a good thing and that I should probably do this. While I don't think I'm replacing Jimmy Kimmel anytime soon and quitting my day job and hosting a late show, this was a lot more fun. I've learned some things I could probably do better the next time, but I'm glad that I did this. I'm saying that because sign up people, there are so many smart people in here, especially smart ladies. I want to see more ladies hosting this and more diverse group. There are so many people to learn from. I hope if anything, I can share that with all of you that sometimes, stepping out of our comfort zone can be really exciting and we could learn a lot. So thank you, everybody. Thank you for being patient with me. I hope everybody has an awesome rest of the week.

Speaker 1: Hey, guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain Grow Retain podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues, and subscribe. We really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


This week our topic is around customer analytics and reporting.

A weekly segment:

CS Leadership Office Hours

Every Thursday. 11:30am ET.


If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain:

This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...

Jay Nathan:

Jeff Breunsbach: