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For a team to be truly successful in the customer success world, data and metrics should inform every decision made. While gathering data after a strategy has been implemented is a great way to tell if an initiative worked, customer success teams can also gain a predictive advantage into long-term customer success with leading indicators.
Leading indicators are variables or occurrences which can help your team forecast how a customer account will fare over time. By tracking these leading indicators, your team can more accurately identify accounts that may have red flags (i.e., churn) over the upcoming months and are prepped and ready for a smooth experience.
Here are five critical customer success leading indicators your team should start tracking this year:
1.Customer engagement: Regular, ongoing check-ins and communication with your customers is vital for fostering long-term value and building relationships. If your customers start to go dark, back out of meetings unexpectedly, or miss key project milestones, then you may want to start looking into if something is wrong.
2. Successful onboarding: Although a customer relationship technically begins during the sales stage, there is no understating just how important onboarding is to the long-term success of a customer. This is when customers and users learn how to independently use your solution and start to align product features with value, and it can set the stage for the rest of your customer partnership.
3. Product usage and adoption: Another leading indicator of customer account health, product usage, and adoption directly correlate to the value customers are seeing on the platform. Make sure your team has thoroughly communicated with and trained every viable user possible, and these users are leveraging your solutions in the right – and valuable – ways.
4. Sentiment: One of the oldest customer success metrics in the books, capturing customer sentiment early and often in your customer relationships can ensure your team is always on top of sentiment changes and issues. Don’t forget that it’s okay to bring up the sentiment on calls with customers to talk through any red flags or dips you may be seeing in the data.
5. Relationship Development: While day-to-day customer relationships are managed on the ground level, successful SaaS customer relationships require access to contacts across a customer organization, from the end-user to the executive. Make sure you nurture and develop these relationships over time to serve your customers better and forge stronger partnerships.
By tracking the right leading and lagging indicators of success, your customer success team can build a more holistic picture of your customer relationships, forecast where accounts are heading, and be more prepared for significant issues down the road.