Customer Success: How to Monitor Customer Happiness

Customer Success is not about making customers happy. In fact, there are 8 other things Customer Success is not if you’re so inclined.

But for the sake of this post, just know that we’re here to make customers successful, not happy.

But how do you monitor that?

Good question… let’s explore that a bit.

For context, on Friday, May 5, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video (audio only… sorry) is embedded below and below that is the transcript (edited for better readability) that answers the question.


Monitoring Customer Happiness

Douglas asks, “What’s the best tool to monitoring individual customer happiness in an onboarding team?”

It’s time to talk about happiness versus success. If you try to solve for the happiness of your customers, you’re probably going to be in for a long, disappointing ride. Happiness is not something … Maybe there’s a language issue there.

Maybe we’re just talking about that. I think when people say, “We want happy customers, I think they actually mean it.”

Sometimes that can cause you to go down the wrong path of solving for things that are either outside of your control or outside the scope of what we need to be solving for.

That said, what we need to be focused on is the success of our customers, which means we need to figure out, first of all, talking about onboarding, what does that even mean? This is the thing that I run into all the time, which is, when is a customer onboard? What is that point?

When I see companies who will say, “Our customers are onboard after 30 days. Onboarding is 30 days,” and then day 30, they move them out of onboarding. Whatever that means. They check a box. They’re not onboard. They just made it through 30 days. They didn’t actually do anything. That’s a problem.

What we want to make sure of is that we know what onboarded means.

The way that I look at it is one of two ways.

Either they’ve achieved some actual value for the first time. We call it maybe First Value Delivered (measured by Time to First Value – TTFV), whatever, or … This is really true for a lot of more complex products.

There’s some products that you might take months and months and months before you can actually get real value out of it because there’s not just setup time, but there’s actual time of using it before it becomes truly valuable. In that case, onboarding may be when a customer for the first time sees the value potential in our relationship.

Maybe that’s after going through some setup and onboarding and getting some dashboards and things like that up and running. There’s setup and implementation and getting those dashboards and everything set up, but they’re not actually usable yet.

They’re not getting true value from it yet, but they will and they see it for the first time outside of your promises and sales and marketing. They see the value potential. It’s either when they get first value or when they see for the first time the value potential. That’s what we would call onboarding.

What has to happen to get us there? Work back from that.

If they’re doing those things. If those things are happening … If we have a dedicated onboarding person or a dedicated onboarding team, that may look more like a project management situation. Are they doing the things that are necessary in order to get value? If they aren’t, they’re not successful. The onboarding isn’t working.

Your Customer Success person or practitioner or pooled resource, or whoever owns the relationship with the customer, needs to be able to have visibility into those steps that the onboarding team is taking with the customer so that they can see whether or not things are working.

If things are not working … “working” means are we moving through these milestones in the onboarding process? If they’re not the Customer Success Practitioner could intervene with the onboarding.

They could intervene with the customer, whatever. We don’t have to overthink that process. There’s workflow tools, project management tools, whatever.

There’s different ways to manage that. The main thing is we need to understand that that’s what we’re trying to solve for.

Do you also look for satisfaction, happiness, or whatever, in the onboarding process? You can, but most of the time as long as we’re moving them through the steps that are going to be necessary, we don’t have to go look at other things.

We know that they’re on the right track to being successful. That’s the most important way to look at it.

About Lincoln Murphy

I am a Customer Success Consultant focused on Customer Success-driven Growth. I wrote the Customer Success book which you can buy at Amazon. If you need help applying Customer Success-driven Growth principles in your company or would like me to speak at your event, please contact me. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

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