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What's on Your Dashboard?

Posted on January 23, 2015 , by Sabrina Bozek
What's on Your Dashboard?

When logging into a SaaS vendor, B2B employees need to get right to the point. There’s no time to mess around with formalities, clicking through a complicated web of buttons to get answers or generate a report. Gone are the days when a Welcome page is purely cosmetic.
SaaS companies everywhere have built dashboards that convey the necessary metrics or information needed to give a snapshot view of what is deemed important, right after login.
But with so many options for what is “deemed important” in customer success, a B2B voice-of-customer (VoC) dashboard has a unique set of requirements. These are the six key performance indicators (KPI’s) we’ve determined to be necessary on every customer feedback dashboard:

  1. % of Identified Promoters

  2. Alert Follow-Up Rate
  3. Overall Response Rate
  4. % of Silent Accounts
  5. % of Accounts meeting Invitation Guideline
  6. % of Accounts meeting Response Target

Why these specific KPI’s?

Let’s look at the value of having these at your fingertips as a CSM.

  1. % of Identified Promoters

Simply put, this is a basic KPI that shows how many of your customer contacts are “with you.” If you’re running a Net Promoter® based program, forget the overall NPS for a second and focus on the positive – the customers that are willing to recommend you. Apply those good habits to other customers with a similar use case, or use that knowledge to activate advocates and acquire new ones. Identifying these customer contacts can be profitable in-and-of-itself. They are the most likely to buy more from your firm, or if they are utilizing your product in the most effective way, they likely would be willing to make a reference call with a prospect or provide a testimonial for marketing.
Understanding how this number stacks up in the overall voice-of-customer process also lets you know right away how large the opportunity is to win more customers over to your side. Ideally (although not necessarily optimally), you’d like to see 100% of the people that interact with your products and services be “raving fans” of your company. But a low Percentage of Promoters means you’ve got a great opportunity to accelerate growth by converting more Detractors, Passives, and the Disengaged (non-responding contacts – more on this in KPI # 3 and 4) to become Promoters.

  1. Alert Follow-Up Rate

This is one that unfortunately gets ignored in customer feedback, lost in the daily tasks and to-do lists, but is important enough to be the second KPI on your VoC dashboard. Why? Because this metric has to do with taking action (the hard part) and re-engaging customers to find out the meaning behind their initial responses and address any of their concerns. This is especially important for the people who have explicitly requested contact in a survey response.
Using the Alert Follow Up Rate, managers can know exactly how many customers have been contacted for follow-up and keep track of how long the process takes. If this is a new step for a Customer Success team, there will undoubtedly be a learning curve for how scalable and effective the process is (i.e., How many team members are actively helping with the follow-up? What is a reasonable amount of time to spend per follow-up?). Tracking the follow-up rate will coach management in setting expectations with customers and training new team members.
This rate will also save time for Customer Success Managers (CSM’s) as they won’t need to manually maintain and submit Excel sheets to capture this metric. Upper management doesn’t need to micromanage the team, but will have the information to know exactly which customers have been contacted and the outcome of those conversations.

  1. Overall Response Rate

Response rates are a strategic metric to track when collecting customer feedback and can be quite telling. This KPI is a great gauge to depict several things: 1) how engaged your customer base is, 2) how well you communicated the value in spending the time to complete a questionnaire, and 3) how easy it was for customer contacts to respond to the feedback request. Did respondents find little value in spending the time to complete your survey? If they don’t see the value, is it because they know there’s no point in providing feedback to you (i.e. they believe nothing will change)? Or perhaps they don’t see the value because, even if you do demonstrate that you will act on their feedback, they don’t care (uh oh, those folks are ripe for churn). Could your company be on the verge of losing these accounts and therefore they did not see the need to give you pointers for improvement?
Having this KPI right on your main dashboard is a clear indicator of customer experience within your feedback program as well as with the entire company’s interactions.  High response rates generally equate to highly engaged customers.

  1. % of Silent Accounts

This KPI follows the one above because it peers into the flip side – and most dangerous side – of customer feedback. Most companies we’ve worked with that have run surveys on their own have never paid attention to this important metric. Our research has actually shown that Silent Accounts are between 4x – 14x more likely to churn than an account that responds to your requests for feedback! That’s a staggering difference with a logical connection there – if your customer (all contacts in the account, mind you) doesn’t even bother to tell you how mad/annoyed/frustrated they are with your product, then it’s probably because they are going to leave anyway. They’ve already found a solution to the problem: a competitor.
Track your Silent Accounts right from the get-go and follow up with them to find out why they didn’t deem the request worthy of their time. Was it simply bad timing with their fiscal calendar? A major shift in their business structure? Or perhaps it’s because that they simply don’t want to give you the time of day to voice an opinion. And everyone has an opinion.

  1. % of Accounts meeting Invitation Guideline

These next two KPIs go hand-in-hand to determine whether VoC data represents the business in a way that can form a basis for strategic decisions. The combination of the two tells management that the data is trustworthy and is reflective of customers as a whole.
When devising a strategy for collecting customer feedback, B2B companies need to set parameters for who to invite because this environment is more complex than a typical consumer scenario. One “customer” is an account, made up of many different people with many different roles. Decide on a minimum for how many of each role type you are comfortable with inviting and responding, and set the guideline for this KPI before feedback invitations are sent. Remember to handle the fact that large, strategic accounts probably have more contacts working with your firm, while small accounts might have only a handful or fess.
Not sure who in the account is a Decision Maker versus an Influencer? You’ve got a couple options. Account Managers can ask their day-to-day contact up front to actively recruit the right people to submit feedback (which should really happen, anyway) and/or your team can simply set minimum response numbers for accounts based on the type (or “tier”) of the account.
An additional advantage of this KPI is that it shows you the depth of your customer relationships without even having to get feedback. If you have a large strategic account with 5% or firm’s total revenue, you ought to have a large number of contacts that are being asked for feedback on which areas can best be improved. A low number here shows that your customer relationships lack the depth needed to accelerate revenue growth.

  1. % of Accounts meeting Response Target

This KPI is a great way for companies to know immediately whether they can trust the information collected from customers. Is this data trustworthy? Your dashboard can answer that with this metric, demonstrating whether you’ve collected enough responses from customers in each account.
If accounts continually struggle throughout survey waves or fail to meet these minimum requirements across the board, perhaps you’ve set the bar too high. More likely is that reminders need to be sent or the communications team should adjust the invitation messaging to adequately to communicate the value behind the feedback request. Nevertheless, having this KPI on your VoC dashboard is great metric to understand if the feedback you are getting is representative of the business, such that large improvement initiatives can be made with confidence..

What KPI’s do you have on your dashboard? Usage data? Overall NPS score?

Notice that NPS is intentionally not on this list.

There are so many other leading customer success indicators that B2B companies should focus on first. For example, can you even trust the NPS (i.e. does it truly represent your business)? Instead, use these six KPI’s to answer that first before management puts any value on an overall score.
We developed the dashboard for TopBox so that B2B companies can get the most out of the surveys they are inevitably running and get meaning from a Net Promoter-based program. Many people we meet often have a polarizing opinion of NPS and we understand why; it was originally developed for B2C companies to measure loyalty. The thing is, this methodology can work in B2B if strategically tweaked to account for the differences in the two. The first step is to use these KPI’s to get the most effective customer success program working for them. And now it can all happen right from your own dashboard.