This content, written by Brian Lafaille, was initially posted in Looker Blog on Mar 30, 2016. The content is subject to limited support.
The question I often hear from customers is…
“How does centralizing all my data turn into actionable, tangible business value?”
Put more simply…
“How is centralizing my data going to keep customers around (retain revenue), or cut costs (make my team more efficient)?”
It’s a great question.
On the Customer Success team at Looker, we leverage our centralized data warehouse and custom metrics in a number of different ways, but all with the same resulting outputs expected of the question above— we want to keep our customers happy and we want to be more efficient. Here are a few of the ways the Customer Success team leverages our centralized data to turn raw numbers into tangible business value.
Retain revenue: Data as a forecaster
Having a pulse on your customer health is critical to a Customer Success organization. But, the notion of ‘Customer Health’ is extremely customized to each company and its unique business model. Customer health for a marketing platform might be a weighted score on number of logins and marketing content created. For us, it’s a weighted score of active usage minutes in the app, combined with 14 other aspects of product usage data, transactional data, and support data.
All of this data is rolled up into a comprehensive, weighted health score which gives us insight into what customers are using Looker a healthy amount, who’s not, and who is likely to churn due to non-usage. This gives us a shockingly accurate forecast as to what customers are going to renew with us, who requires attention, and which customers are in a state of what we call ‘forecasted churn’.
Retain revenue: Data as an alerter
A powerful, but relatively under-utilized feature within Looker is the ability to leverage our to run queries consistently in the background and notify users via email if some condition is met.
For us, one way we use this is to set up alerts on top users. If our alerting system notices a significant drop of usage from that single user, we know something is wrong.
Usage by Each User (at the Individual Account Level)
This accomplishes two things for us.
It, retains revenue, by minimizing churn risk scenarios, as historically when we’ve see a top evangelist stop using the platform, that account is an inherent churn risk. By being notified that user has dropped off in usage, we can immediately engage with the other users on the platform to ask how we can help. It allows us to take action and engage with the customer at a risky time in the customer relationship.
It also, increases efficiency for the team at large. Instead of running daily or weekly reports on top users across our customer base, Looker’s automated platform takes care of it, and allows our Customer Success Managers to put this task on the mental back burner. Having this level of automation in Customer Success opens us up to take action on analysis and truly interact with our customers at a time in need.
Reduce costs: Data as a cleaner
Why are there duplicates? Why are there nulls? Why are there Salesforce accounts saying type = customer, without any closed/won opportunities?
Again, using alerting, we’re setting up logic to notify us when our underlying data doesn’t seem right, or is incomplete…
Can you tell we like Looker alerts? :)
We aren’t spending hours per month on Salesforce data cleanup… Which is great! It means we can focus on the bigger picture, like meeting with our customers face-to-face, reviewing the product roadmap with them, and talking about new use-cases for Looker on a new team.
Increase efficiency: Data as a company-wide KPI-er
As a SaaS company, Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is the lifeblood of our business. And on the Customer Success team, we’re responsible for every dollar of it. So knowing at a glance how each dollar maps to customer health is crucial.
Many companies spend hours per week creating KPI reports to inform the executive team on where each dollar stands with health. Our data is centralized, Salesforce data sits alongside our product usage data, so at the refresh of a dashboard we know how we’re doing as a business, as a team, and as an individual Customer Success Manager.
This is one such dashboard…
Looker’s Account Management Team’s Dashboard (with fictitious data)
Retain revenue: Data as a granular informer
Thanks to our 15 point custom health score (modeled from customer event data joined to salesforce data) we have a granular picture as to which Looker features each customer is, or is not, using.
That is huge.
At Looker, a healthy and engaged customer is one that’s getting the most value out of our platform. That means the customer is leveraging all aspects of Looker’s feature set - dashboards, , , , - and Looker is being used by lots of different people and teams. Our custom health scoring takes all of that into account.
It informs us of who is struggling to adopt each component within Looker, allowing us to tailor our check-in conversations and our customer marketing communications with the goal of increasing adoption, engagement, and stickiness of these prominent Looker features.
By leveraging our custom health metrics, we’re striving to increase our customer’s health, which in turn translates to healthy, engaged customers that renew (and expand) their Looker contract.
None of this would be possible without our custom health scoring system.
Reduce costs - Data as a scheduler:
With Looker in place, we’re not even spending cycles thinking about when to schedule touch points with our customer accounts! In our centralized database, we’ve also linked our Google Calendar and Salesforce data. Meaning we can track how many meetings we’ve had with a particular customer over time, what type of meetings those were, and how many days it’s been since the last touchpoint with an account.
Meetings by Week, from Google Calendar and Salesforce
This type of report, combined with our scheduling and alerting, allows Customer Success Managers to automate their future check-in scheduling by sending an email when it’s time for a customer check-in 30, 60, or 90 days after a customer deal closes.
Automated Alerts for “Days Since Last Client Meeting"
Bringing it all together
When you have your full customer picture with data from places like Zendesk, Salesforce, web events, transactional systems, Google Calendar, Marketo, etc., something really powerful happens. It turns your Customer Success people into data people. And with Looker, that 360 degree view of your customer can lead to more happy customers (reduced churn), and increased team efficiency (cut costs). Both items any business strives for.
With Looker, we’re automating the mundane, shining a spotlight on the important, and giving Customer Success Managers the opportunity to focus the thing that matters…Spending time with the right customer on the right topics, to make them successful.
If you’re a Customer Success Manager, or work on a Customer Success team, and want to hear how Looker can help your Customer Success organization. Get in touch, we’d love to help.