Data-Driven Customer Success Management and How APIs Provide the Leading Indicator of Account Health
By employing API analytics platforms Customer Success Management (CSM) teams can proactively help customers reach their goals, which in turn encourages them to renew their subscription and upgrade their contract. Conversely, in times of recession, these same platforms can help CSM professionals identify and minimize customer churn. Getting your customers to love you is snap with customer-centric API analytics: integrations will happen faster, support will be more on-point, churn risks will be automatically flagged and you’ll be set-up to provide real ongoing value.
Customer success was born out of account management. In the old world of software products, you sold it, then they stood it up and, if you’re lucky, the account manager would call on the customer once a year, unless your product blew up. Who wants a pissed-off customer?
In the new world of subscription- and consumption-based software & services (SaaS and cloud), technology is complex and evolving so customers need ongoing help to adapt and realize value. Customer value realization is the flywheel that keeps customers coming back. CSM is the power that accelerates the flywheel. But how do you get customers to love you and keep coming back?
The Proactive CSM Team
Olivia, the CSM manager at a leading subscription management provider, has flipped the paradigm. Just like sales, her team is super proactive rather than reactive. Instead of pissed-off customers, she has customers who love her. To get to that point, she followed a three-step approach:
- Know your customer’s business. Gather as much information on them as possible. Use Datafox, Alexa, web crawling and intro calls to really understand what they’re all about.
- During integration, help the customer stand up your product as effortlessly as possible. Since you’re already familiar with their product, and obviously with your own, you’ll know which features they care most about, and what integration gotchas there might be, even before they hit.
- Oftentimes, your customer won’t be using your product to its full potential. You’ll also release new features. The crucial issue is to know your customer and then determine if that feature’s relevant for them. By staying on top and letting them know about the latest and greatest features appropriate for them, you’ll continue to provide real value.
“If I do get pissed-off customers, then at least I know they can talk to my CSM team. My customers tell me what’s happening, why they’re unhappy and cut me slack, so I can fix it.” Olivia, CSM Manager
Without a successful integration there is no new customer. Conversely, with a quick integration you get a happy customer and one more likely to upgrade their plan. CSM’s first job is to make sure the product’s integrated as fast and effortlessly as possible.
By employing a tool that can identify and understand common erroneous patterns, bad customer experiences can be avoided. Equally, if problems do arise, best practices dictate that they should be triaged quickly.
The better API analytics tools, like those from Moesif, are able to drill into how an individual customer used your API, where they got stuck, how it happened and what can be done to mitigate it. By quickly resolving integration issues customers can deploy faster, reaching their Time to First Working App within hours, as opposed to days or weeks.
Instill a Data-Driven Culture
Sharing information leads to more understanding. Sharing key metrics and SLAs across your CSM team, with other stakeholders in the company, and directly with customers, leads to a more symbiotic relationship company-wide and with clients.
By connecting to tools like Salesforce, Marketo and Zendesk a richer customer tapestry can be woven and, with tools like Moesif, managed within a single pane.
The Leading Indicator of Account Health
Through API analytics the CSM team can glean unique insights into the health of customer accounts. Not only is it possible to track which customers recently integrated, you can dig deeper into usage statistics like Weekly Active Tokens, or Weekly Active Users. This gives a more complete picture of the user and company-level usage. By monitoring who has accelerating platform usage, you can get an early alert when key accounts are ready for an up-sell.
If you can avoid it, don’t struggle with SQL and complicated visualization tools, create real-time dashboards to monitor account health with the click of a button. Moesif offers a suite of dashboards, that can display all of the key usage metrics you and the CSM team care about.
Minimizing Churn Risk During a Recession
Identifying and minimizing customer churn risk becomes far more important than the top of funnel growth during a recession. Many times, you can find additional growth by reprioritizing the customers/potential customers who already signed up and/or are paying. By employing an analytics platform that automatically tracks which accounts have low platform usage or other failing metrics, it’s possible to be alerted when things are not looking good and the customer is at risk of churning. Things to look out for include:
- Customers with decreasing API usage week-over-week
- Customers that are accessing only one or two endpoints
- Looking into SDKs that have a higher drop off could indicate bugs or lack of documentation
- Customers with a high number of errors or latency such as unauthorized errors
- Customers who have not accessed your primary value creation endpoints
Continue to Provide Value
After Olivia helped a recent key customer integrate, she didn’t just try and spam them with ads for an up-sell, instead she brought ideas about how they could use her products better. She advocated for them in her company’s product roadmap and she kept them informed about what’s coming.
CSM is the voice of the customer inside your company, so listen to their concerns and drive product change.
In her in-person Executive Business Reviews she shared with them their quarterly platform usage dashboard, and reviewed their spending, looking at other issues that were important to them.
The CSM team bridges the gap between sales & support, and is a key factor in the new world of subscription-based software.
Moesif API analytics equips the CSM team with the tools necessary to understand customer usage and engagement trends amongst others, gauge customer health, prevent churn, and grow key partnerships, all in a single cohesive platform.