what is customer data

Customer Data: What Can You Actually Do With It?

Are you sitting on lots of metrics, but struggling to act on them? Start here.

Are you sitting on lots of metrics, but struggling to act on them? Start here.

In customer service, just like in everything else these days, everyone loves to talk about metrics.

“We’re getting deep visibility into our customers’ behavior.”

“We’re tracking everything.”

These sorts of sentiments—ones that at least recognize the importance of metrics—are great.

But the sad truth is that while we have more visibility and are able to measure more things than ever before, most businesses still don’t act on those measures.

If you’re struggling to act on your customer service metrics, here are five places to start:

1) Improve your onboarding flow

For most businesses, there are two key milestones that need to be reached before a customer can reach their full value potential:

  1. The moment they sign up for your product, and…
  2. The moment they achieve their first “success” with your product

A disproportionate amount of your customer churn will take place between (1) and (2).

That’s where customers abandon your product because they get lost, don’t understand something, don’t get value from the product, or simply lose interest.

Bad onboarding—the process by which you help a customer go from (1) to (2)—can crush your retention rate, and undo all of that hard work you did to get your customers to convert in the first place.

It’s your job to make that transition as fast and smooth as possible for your customer, and that’s where great onboarding comes in.

Metrics can help you figure out exactly what you need your onboarding flow to do.

Isolate your most valuable customers, and look at their behavior in those first few days or weeks of doing business with you.

What do they have in common?

What are the actions that your most valuable customers almost always take in their early usage?

Those are the “success triggers” that your onboarding flow should drive them to.

At Groove, we know—from looking at customer data—that customers who become long-term Groove users typically set up their support mailbox in their first session, they typically invite at least one co-worker to their Groove account, and they typically install at least one app from our Apps menu.

So we prioritized those behaviors as the actions we wanted new customers to focus on. It’s the workflow they get taken through as soon as they sign in to Groove for the very first time:

New user mailbox

2) Strengthen your saved replies and knowledge base articles

One of the most important data sets you can track is support “trends”; that is, which issues are appearing more and more (or less and less) in your support inbox?

We do this by labeling incoming tickets and tracking which issues are happening over and over again…

This gives you the insight you need to choose topics for new knowledge base articles and common replies—or improve existing ones—that address the questions your customers are increasingly asking, saving you time and cutting down on how long your customers have to wait for a response.

3) Proactive outreach

Customer data can tell you which customers to send proactive emails to, and when.

For example, you can use app usage data to see if a customer might be stuck on something.

We know how long it takes the average user to set up their support email to forward to Groove.

So if we detect that they’re spending much longer than that on the page (and don’t end up connecting their account), we can send them an outreach email to offer some help:

You can also set up proactive emails to go out to customers who haven’t logged in in a while and are “slipping away”, to try and win them back:

4) Inform your product roadmap

In addition to passive collection of user data, you should also be collecting qualitative customer data through surveys and regular customer development.

That qualitative data can unlock huge opportunities for you when you find out what problems your customers have that you might not be solving for them.

Regular readers of this blog know that long-term customer loyalty isn’t just about great support; it’s about making life as easy for your customers as you possibly can.

Whether it’s a new feature, a fix that you’re not yet considering or an additional product, there’s a great chance that your customers have other challenges that you have the expertise and ability to solve for them.

Doing that gives you a huge opportunity to upsell and cross-sell, delivering even more value and building deeper relationships with your customers (and of course, increasing revenue!).

Based on the feedback you collect, determine whether your product roadmap addresses your customers’ true biggest challenges. If not, consider whether it needs adjusting.

5) Track support team performance

We’re not just collecting data about what our customers are doing; we’re also interested in the customer service metrics on our own performance.

Of course, some metrics are far more important than others. Traditional metrics like response times and resolution times are good, but don’t use them to set goals for your team, as they create conflicts of interest between delivering great customer service and delivering fast customer service (you want the former, but focusing on response times incentivizes the latter).

Instead, focus on metrics like customer satisfaction (the single most important customer support metric) and first-contact resolution, which make terrific north stars for your team to make progress internally while keeping your customers happy.

You Have The Data. Now Use It.

Most of us are sitting on piles and piles of data about our customers. Hopefully this post gives you some ideas for what to actually do with it, in a way that benefits both your customers and your business.

Len Markidan avatar
Len Markidan

Len used to head up marketing at Groove. Though he has now moved on to other adventures, he still likes popping in and saying hi every now and then.

Read all of Len's articles

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