How to Set Goals for Your Customer Success Team That Make an Impact

If you’re looking to maximize the impact of Customer Success in your organization, it’s important to set clear and specific CS goals that align with your company’s broader objectives.

In general, setting goals and following through with them has numerous positive benefits for individuals, teams, and organizations, according to scientific research. But to get the most out of your goal-setting efforts, you’ll need to:

  • Make your goals specific and measurable. Instead of saying “improve customer satisfaction,” set a goal to increase customer satisfaction scores by 10% in the next quarter.
  • Make your goals achievable and relevant. Set goals that are challenging but achievable, and that are aligned with your company’s overall goals. For example, if your company is focused on user growth, your CS goals should focus on increasing customer adoption and retention.
  • Make your goals time-bound. Set a deadline for each goal, so you can track your progress and make adjustments as needed.
  • Communicate your goals to the team and stakeholders. Once you’ve set your goals, communicate them to your team and anyone else you collaborate with. This will help everyone align their efforts and work towards the same goals.
  • Review your goals regularly. As your business and market change, review your Customer Success goals regularly to make sure they are still relevant and achievable.

In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into how to establish and measure Customer Success goals within your business.

How to Set Impactful Customer Success Goals

1. Align Your Goals With Key Business Objectives

If CS leaders aren’t aligning their team’s work with the company’s primary business objectives, it can be difficult to “keep a seat at the table” and earn more investment in the CS function. When setting goals, be sure to focus on these three core areas:

  • Revenue growth: Align CS initiatives to upsell and cross-sell opportunities. By focusing on expanding product usage or introducing complementary services, CS teams can directly contribute to revenue growth.
  • Customer retention: This is a natural alignment for CS teams. By ensuring customers achieve their desired outcomes and addressing pain points proactively, Customer Success can significantly impact retention rates, which can be quickly measured in your CSP.
  • Profitability: CS can influence profitability by reducing churn (which increases customer lifetime value) and by streamlining support processes to reduce operational costs.

Arlen Panchoo, Director of Customer Success at Gorgias, says:

“If outcomes aren’t evident at the organizational level, their value might be hard to convey. Prioritize the desired outcome and work backwards from the goal to clearly plan all parts of an execution strategy.”

Liam Feldstein, Director of Customer Success at BuildWitt, says:

“Goal-setting will be driven by a few factors — sales pipeline, company objectives, customer lifecycles. If you’re new to the org, it’s best to do a historical performance analysis to establish baselines for expansion, retention, and churn and contractions. From there you want to steadily raise the respective bars to encourage high performance and report the high-level metrics to the broader company.”

2. Define What Your Success Spectrum Looks Like

You can have varying levels of Customer Success goals, such as your primary and stretch goals. To make these goals attainable, it is important to clearly define the benchmarks and levels of achievement.

“Outline what ideal success looks like, along with other achievements that could be considered wins, both major and minor,” says Panchoo. “By showcasing how different levels of achievements contribute to larger company goals, you make a compelling case for the value of the initiative’s outcomes, rather than simply success vs. failure.”

Panchoo’s example: Even if the ultimate goal of a win-back campaign is to reclaim $250,000 in Net Retention Revenue (NRR), other achievements that contribute to that goal, such as the number of customers who were re-engaged or the qualitative feedback gathered from those conversations, are also valuable.

While it may be tempting to set ambitious goals, unrealistic goals can overextend your team, add stress, and make it difficult to build trust for future initiatives. This is why realistic stretch goals can be a great way to push the boundaries of success.

3. Ensure Your Goals Are Outcome-Focused for Customers

Remember, customers don’t buy products, they buy outcomes. Regardless if you’re a sales enablement software platform, VoIP service provider, or everything in between, your customers need to see the return on their investment if you want to retain them.

Understand Your Customer’s Desired Outcomes

Start by engaging in honest conversations with your customers about what they’re trying to achieve by using your product. This often starts during the onboarding stage.

Understand your new customer’s pain points, aspirations, and what success looks like for them — all of this will vary from one customer to another. Regularly review and update this understanding, as customer objectives can evolve over time.

Set Clear, Measurable Goals

Once you understand the desired outcomes of your customers, translate them into clear and measurable goals.

For instance, if a customer’s aim is to increase their email conversion rate by 5%, your Customer Success playbook should account for that. What are specific actions that can be taken to set up their account for success? Make sure to check-in and see how they’re progressing toward their goal.

Align Internally

Collaborate with sales, marketing, and product development so they understand the outcome-focused goals of your customers. This alignment ensures everyone in your organization is working through the lens of Customer Success. As a result:

  • Sales understands the common pain points customers are trying to resolve. This helps them in their discovery calls.
  • Marketing creates outcome-focused content and explains how your product or service is best fit for achieving these goals.
  • Product development gains a deeper understanding of how customers are using features and functionality to achieve success.

Review and Adjust

Continuously monitor your customer’s progress toward their goals. Use the analytics within your CSP to track progress and make necessary adjustments based on customer feedback and results.

4. Create a Success Playbook

A Customer Success playbook, or Customer Success process, is a roadmap that outlines the activities and workflows needed to achieve your goals. It should document your approach, delegate responsibilities, and address potential gaps and challenges.

Throughout the process of building a playbook, refer back to your primary goal to ensure that all aspects of the plan are aligned.

Panchoo says, “Frame your strategy in terms of milestones that directly link to broader organizational objectives and preemptively tackle potential hurdles. This will help to reinforce CS’s role in achieving strategic objectives.”

Tip: Browse through our Blueprints for real-life examples of CS processes and workflows that you can incorporate into your own Customer Success playbook. 

Metrics Worth Tracking for Measuring Customer Success Goals

Growth Metrics

Feldstein mentions that “Customer Success goals may vary, but you should be paying attention to the major acronyms — NRR, GRR, and GLR, as these most commonly align with business goals of growth and retention.”

  1. NRR (net revenue retention) measures how much revenue you retain from existing customers from one period to the next. It is calculated by subtracting the revenue lost from churned customers from the revenue gained from new and expanded accounts.
  2. GRR (gross revenue retention) measures how much revenue you retain from existing customers from one period to the next, regardless of whether they churned or not. It is calculated by dividing the current period's revenue from existing customers by the previous period's revenue from existing customers.
  3. GLR (gross logo retention) measures how many customers you retain from one period to the next. It is calculated by dividing the current period's number of active customers by the previous period's number of active customers.

“The longer customers stick around, the more likely they are to not only renew but expand their contracts,” continues Feldstein. “When leadership is looking at performance, CS can (hopefully) point to the expanded deals and retained business to demonstrate the value of the team. And it's always important to update these numbers on a consistent basis — we share monthly and quarterly metrics with the company — to reinforce the efficacy of your CS program.”

Customer-Level Metrics

1. Account Health Scores

Customer health scores provide a comprehensive view of a customer’s overall satisfaction with a product or service. It’s typically derived from a combination of data points such as login frequency, product usage, support ticket frequency, quantitative and qualitative feedback, and more. These data points can vary from one organization to another.

The Importance of Measuring Health Scores

  • Predictive insights: A declining health score can be an early indicator of potential churn or dissatisfaction, allowing the Customer Success team to proactively address issues before they escalate.
  • Personalized engagement: By understanding the specific components that contribute to a customer’s health score, Customer Success Managers can tailor their outreach and support strategy to address individual customer needs.
  • Goal-setting: CS teams can set goals to improve or maintain high health scores, ensuring that customers get value from the product or service. Additionally, teams can segment their automations based on specific health score ranges for a more personalized approach.

2. Renewal Rates

This metric calculates the percentage of customers who choose to renew their subscription or contract when reaching its expiration. 

The Importance of Measuring Renewal Rates

  • Revenue stability: A high renewal rate indicates steady monthly recurring revenue (MRR), which is crucial for stability and incremental growth.
  • Product value: High renewal rates suggest that customers find value in the product or service. Low renewal rates suggest that the product or service didn’t deliver as expected or there may have been gaps in the onboarding process.
  • Goal-setting: CS teams can set goals around increasing the renewal rate by proactively identifying and addressing potential renewal barriers. For example, if a customer decides their budget can’t justify a renewal, see if you can offer them premium-tier product features so they can see increased value.

Tracking renewal is essential because customers have likely already made up their mind whether or not they’ll churn before renewal discussions happen.

3. First Contact Resolution Rate (FCRR)

Customers don’t want to repeat themselves or be given the “runaround” when they experience issues with your product or service. Being able to resolve conflicts soon after (or before) they arise shows preparedness, and this is typically indicative of a Customer Success team with a proactive strategy.

The Importance of Measuring FCRR

  • Efficiency: A high FCRR indicates that the CS team is effectively addressing customer concerns without the need for several follow-ups. Creating a comprehensive knowledge-base, one for internal use and one for customer use, is a great way to ensure problems are resolved quickly. Customer Success templates and automations can also be helpful assets for your team.
  • Goal Setting: By aiming to increase the FCRR, CS teams can focus on improving their pain-point knowledge, internal resources, and tools used for addressing customer concerns promptly.

Sometimes, complex customer issues can’t be resolved over chat, through templates and automations, or with help articles. In this case, don’t hesitate to hop on a call with your customers to walk through their issues. Offering a white glove service can take your customer experience far.

Achieving Your Goals, Made Easier With a CSP

As the expectations of an ideal customer experience continually change in B2B, setting clear and impactful goals for your Customer Success team isn’t just a recommendation, it’s a necessity.

By aligning these goals with the broader company objectives and ensuring they’re measurable and visible to your stakeholders, businesses can set the foundation to a high-performing CS team.

If you’re looking to empower your CS team to achieve their goals, it’s essential to add a Customer Success Platform (CSP) to your tech stack. A user-friendly solution like Vitally can streamline your customer retention efforts, help you easily measure your CS goals, and improve the overall productivity of your CS team.

Schedule a quick conversation with one of our in-house CSP experts to hear more about how Vitally can help take your Customer Success team to the next level.

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