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It’s Time to Start Monitoring Customer Health

Do you know the health status of each of your customers? How confident are you that your “green accounts” are actually healthy and happy?  Do you know when a customer needs help (and why) so you can proactively engage with them at the right time?

Don’t let these questions make you anxious; they highlight problems that many companies face. Even today, despite how quickly companies move, and how fast customers can signup and then leave us, companies don’t have a good way to tell where a customer stands right now and when a customer needs a helping hand.

Ask any executive how they measure customer health and you’re most likely going to get answers such as NPS scores, history of support tickets, billing history, and the like.  Yet every executive knows intuitively that this is not giving them a true picture of customer health — and even if it does, it’s too late by the time you see the red flags.  The problem is we’re stuck with business applications that focus on looking at and aggregating historical data.  And this means that the way we look at customer health is also largely a historical view.

Instead, customer health requires more of a monitoring paradigm.  Think of a Fitbit to monitor your vital signs vs. an online medical records repository — i.e. sensors, monitoring, pattern recognition, and proactive spotting of potential problems (as well as opportunities).

So what does this mean in the context of customer health?  How do you understand where your customers are right now, so you can be proactive? You need a way to monitor their behavior, their actions, and their level of engagement with your company. You need a way to monitor for events that matter… events that are leading indicators of health issues or events you need to take into account as a Customer Success team member.  For example, did your customer add new users and how is their onboarding progressing?  Was there an unusual spike in support activity?  Has the executive team stopped using your reports and dashboards?

And ideally, you need to be able to do this from a macro and a micro viewpoint.  What I mean by this is that you should be able to view health at different levels — a portfolio view of health across your customer base (or the accounts you own), a drill-down into the health of a specific account, and going even as granular as an individual user (for example, your executive sponsor) or a specific event/activity (for example, is your account beginning to use a new key feature launched last quarter).

Why is monitoring important?

Putting technology aside, there is a simple reason that makes customer health monitoring a critical requirement for companies today.  Given the focus that customer success warrants, the only alternative to implementing a monitoring paradigm is to build massive teams that can keep their fingers on your customers’ pulse all the time.  This is a non-starter, so customer health monitoring allows companies to provide customers a great experience at scale.

Additionally, monitoring finally gives you a health score you can actually trust.  It allows you to get an accurate representation of the business value your customers receive from your product or service. It will help predict the likelihood that a customer will churn and pinpoint a customer that needs to be nurtured or one that can be engaged as an advocate.

We’re happy to help you get started. Click here to schedule a one-on-one with one of our customer success experts.

Guy Nirpaz

Guy Nirpaz is a Silicon Valley-based Israeli entrepreneur and CEO of Totango, a Customer Success software platform. A pioneer in the Customer Success field, Guy established the Customer Success Summit and is a well-regarded industry speaker and community contributor. Guy loves people and technology and has dedicated his career to improving the way in which business is done through innovation. Fun Facts: Guy moonlights as the lead guitarist in a rock band based out of his garage in Palo Alto and used to command a tank battalion...as well as having grown oranges.

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