The Toronto Customer Success Executive Breakfast is a forum whereby local industry leaders get together over breakfast to discuss the still young and rapidly evolving field of Customer Success.
Co-hosted by Natasha Narayan and myself, and Sponsored by Gainsight, senior executives in the field of Customer Success are invited to share their knowledge and expertise amongst their peer group in an intimate and highly interactive setting.
The breakfast is an opportunity for these leaders in Customer Success to convene, exchange ideas and further define industry best practices.
The Toronto Customer Success executive community was recently treated to a presentation by Jocelyn Brown, VP Customer Success at Allocadia, about Allocadia’s journey of building out a health score that the entire company now rallies around to drive customer success.
When Jocelyn arrived at Allocadia the company was customer centric, but fairly open in terms of its Customer Success structure.
It had Net Promotor Score (NPS), support cases and a subjective Customer Success Manager (CSM) health score in place, but the group was still very reactive working on customer “fire drills”, the health score was not paid much attention to, and data to determine customer health was not readily available.
The first thing the team did then was to instrument the customer journey and get adoption metrics in place so that they could figure out what made customers successful.
They started by journey mapping and putting customer touchpoints on the wall to understand their customer’s success path and help figure out what they needed to measure.
Jocelyn knew that NPS and advocacy alone were not enough of a predicator for risk, they are typically lagging indicators, but she also noticed the single threaded relationships with the customer were also part of the problem.
Additionally, she wanted to make sure there was an element of the customer and their perceived value of the offering in the customer health score.
Finally, the health score had to be actionable.
There needed to be a process in place to take action based on the health score results otherwise there was no point in a score being used.
With that knowledge and purpose in hand, the group determined that in addition to the obvious component of product adoption, the health score needed to include elements of the customer relationship and reflect value realization as perceived by the customer.
The resulting health score therefore consists of three key components – Relationship, Adoption and Value Realization – each with its own measureable sub-elements that when combined, serve as a proxy to the health of each of the three components.
Allocadia uses Gainsight and Nudge.AI to host the health score and measure the Relationship component respectively.
Jocelyn shared her philosophy on scoring with the group pointing out that a health score is a process enabler that allows activities to be prioritized and therefore does not have to be perfect.
The health score is a means to facilitate intelligent conversations with customers to move accounts forward and to create meaningful relationships that drive value for customers.
The entire company started to use #JustAsk as a moniker for reflecting customer perception.
The point being that “value” is a moving target that changes as your customers mature with the product, and that regularly asking the customer how they are doing so that it becomes a natural part of the relationship, is important to understanding the customers ongoing business objectives and their perceived return on investment.
Everyone at Allocadia is encouraged to build relationships with the customer and have the ability to impact the score.
Customer Health Score as an Alignment Driver
The resulting alignment that the score created in the company was the amazing part.
When everyone at the company could see the data and how the results of their effort were contributing to improved customer health, employees were motivated to impact the score.
Playbooks for both reactive and proactive scenarios were created based on driving the components of the health score up and Quarterly Business Reviews are created with the objective of focusing on particular activities in the quarter that will improve the scores.
Lastly, the soft benefits of a common language within the company, product building with instrumentation in mind to support customer health and the real value placed on building relationships also came as a result of this initiative.
The change within Allocadia of understanding what Customer Success Managers do and the value they add has been significant.
By sharing the data with the entire company, Customer Success is able to give credit to everyone in the organization for building solid customer relationships that drive retention and expansion.