Customer Success Glossary

Welcome to our list of common Customer Success terms. Keep up with our continually evolving industry and empower yourself with the latest Customer Success terms, definitions, and knowledge.

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Business Intelligence Software (BI)

BI software is a data analysis software that is designed to collect, analyze and report data for data queries, visualizations, and reports or dashboards. It provides users with much-needed insight into company-wide customer data and makes it more accessible and convenient to organize and analyze.

Why BI Software Is Simply Not Enough For Customer Success Teams
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Chief Customer Officer

The Chief Customer Officer is typically the highest position in a customer success department and reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), though this may vary between companies. The CCO is the voice for the customer and the CS department and is responsible for uniting C-level executives and the rest of the company on customer-centric values.

The Role Of A Chief Customer Officer

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Customer 360

Customer 360 is the unification of all customer data into a single view; enabling a complete look into the health of all your customers without jumping between platforms.

What Is Customer 360 And How Does It Affect Customer Success?

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Customer Acqusition Cost (CAC)

To calculate your average CAC, total up all of the costs that go into your customer acquisition tactics for a given period. Then divide by the number of customers acquired during that period. The result is your average CAC. CAC can also be calculated for individual customers.

How to Calculate the Cost of Customer Retention Versus Customer Acquisition

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Customer Advocacy

Customer advocacy is the art of learning what customers need and working to help them gain the value.  When you advocate for your customers, they’ll reward you with their loyalty and become lasting proponents for your brand - they become Customer Advocates

How To Drive Customer Advocacy

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Customer Churn

Customer churn is the % of customers lost over a given time frame, typically a month. It is sometimes called customer attrition, customer turnover or customer defection. You can also think of customer churn as the opposite of customer retention.

What is Customer Churn

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Customer Churn Rate

To calculate the rate of customer churn, divide the number of churned customers (over a given period) by the initial number of total customers: Churn rate = Churned Customers / Total initial customers

What is Customer Churn

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Customer Data Platform

A customer data platform (CDP) is software that collects and synthesizes data from various sources into a holistic view of each customer.

Customer Data Platform Benefits: How To Make The Most Of Them

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Customer Effort Survey (CES)

Customer effort score (CES) measures how much effort a customer has to expend to deal with some type of customer service issue, such as returning a purchase or getting a support ticket resolved. It evaluates this by asking the customer a question such as, “on a scale of ‘very easy’ to ‘very difficult,’ how easy was it to interact with our company?” The scoring system works similar to CSAT. CES, like CSAT or NPS are an important dimension of customer health.

5 Crucial Customer Satisfaction KPI Scores To Track

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Customer Engagement

Customer engagement refers to the level of interaction between your brand and your customers across all channels over the course of your entire relationship. It can refer to what customers do to interact with your brand, as well as, how loyal they are towards your brand.

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Enagement

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Customer Journey Map

A customer journey map shows the experience a customer has during their interactions with your company. Mapping out your customer journey helps you optimize each stage in the process in order to improve customers’ experience and promote revenue growth and customer retention.

The Customer Journey Map: An Ultimate Guide

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Customer Journey Optimization

Customer journey optimization is a strategy for improving customer experiences by analyzing the impact of your customers’ interactions with your brand at each step and implementing best practices to deliver delightful outcomes.

Customer Journey Optimization: 2021 Beginner’s Guide

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Customer Lifecycle

In the wake of technological advances, the definition of customer lifecycle has shifted from the perspective of the seller to that of the customer. At one time, customer lifecycle models took a seller-centric perspective which split the pre-sales phase of the customer’s journey from the post-sales phase. In today’s cloud-based environment, SaaS business models have increased awareness of how the pre-sales and post-sales phases form a unified experience from the customer’s perspective."

Understanding Your Customer Lifecycle in 2021

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Customer Lifecycle Management

Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) helps you predict and address your customers’ needs and goals as they naturally grow and progress over time in order to foster a lasting connection. Effective CLM requires a goal-oriented approach, with clear milestones to strive for, and a clear roadmap to follow.

How To Select A B2B Customer Lifecycle Management Solution

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Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value (CLV) measures how much your average customer spends over the course of their relationship with you.

Measuring Customer Loyalty: 5 Ways To Track It

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Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is your clients’ commitment to your brand. This can be broken down into a couple of key components:

1) How much customers purchase from you
2) How often customers promote you to others

These components, which correlate closely with customer engagement and satisfaction, can be quantified by assigning key performance indicators to them. This makes customer loyalty a metric as well as a concept.

Measuring Customer Loyalty: 5 Ways To Track It

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Customer Loyalty Index (CLI)

Customer loyalty index (CLI), like NPS, tracks how likely a customer is to recommend a brand, but unlike NPW, it also asks customers how likely they are to buy again and to try other products. CLI doesn’t have a standard scale. It may use 0 to 10, or it may use a different numerical range. No matter what scoring scale is used, a CLI survey invites customers to answer three questions:

1. How likely are you to recommend us to family or friends?
2. How likely are you to buy from us again?
3. How likely are you to try our other products?

CLI is calculated by taking the average of customer answers to these three questions. For example, if your average answers on a scale of 0 to 10 for the three questions were 6, 7 and 8 respectively, your CLI would be 7.

Measuring Customer Loyalty: 5 Ways To Track It

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Customer Onboarding

Customer onboarding refers to the actions you take immediately post sales (after a customer buys a product from you). Customer onboarding focuses on guiding key decision-makers and administrators at your customer's company through the onboarding process and helping them use your product to attain their business goals.

Guide to Customer Onboarding

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Customer Onboarding and User Onboarding?

Customer onboarding differs conceptually from user onboarding, although in practice the two have common goals. Customer onboarding focuses on guiding key decision-makers and administrators at your client's company through the onboarding process and helping them use your product to attain their business goals. User onboarding encompasses all users of your product at your client company, including decision-makers as well as other users, and it guides them through learning how to use your product to accomplish daily tasks.

Customer Retention

Customer retention refers to the act and process of keeping customers as loyal repeat buyers who are likely to promote your brand to others. Customer retention is the opposite of customer churn.

How to Retain More Clients: Benefits and Strategies

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Customer Retention Cost (CRC)

Customer retention cost (CRC) can be calculated by adding up all of the costs required to retain customers over a given period and dividing by the number of customers retained during that period. These costs can be averaged over your entire customer base or calculated per customer. Typically Customer Retention Cost is calculated on an annual basis.

How to Calculate the Cost of Customer Retention Versus Customer Acquisition

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Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT)

CSAT stands for customer satisfaction or, when referred to as a key performance indicator, customer satisfaction score. As a KPI, CSAT measures customer satisfaction by inviting customers to respond to a question regarding an experience they have had with your product or company.

What Is CSAT And How Can It Help You Improve Satisfaction?

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Customer Success Management

Customer success management is a business strategy that promotes customer loyalty by ensuring that customers see value by achieving the goals which led them to purchase your product or service. Customer Success Management can also be called customer management and in older organizations might be transitioning from account management.

Ultimate Guide to Digital Customer Success - WIP

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Customer Success Milestones

Milestones are quantifiable events or activities, such as the percent of users adopting the platform, usage of key features, specific business outcomes, etc. and are used to show if customers are seeing value. Be sure to celebrate milestone achievement and take action to mitigate risk when your customers are not hitting their milestones.

The Complete Guide to Customer Retention

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Customer Success Operations

Customer Success Operations define processes and metrics for the VP of CS and CSMs. This role uses data and technology to support operations, diagnose issues, and create more effective programs and activities. They operationalize your VP’s strategy, define the right customer success KPIs, and make decisions that help the team achieve their goals. The most effective customer success teams dedicate talent to CS Operations.

The Vital Role Of Customer Success Operations

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Customer Success Plan

Customer success plans are proposals that document your clients’ goals, so you can monitor performance against plan and to help you achieve them. Their key components include:

1. A list of objectives mutually agreed upon between you and your customer

2. An action plan outlining concrete steps you and your customer will take to achieve their goals

3. A set of key performance indicators and benchmarks to track and measure client progress towards goals

4. A feedback system for incorporating data and client input in order to make strategic adjustments and improvements

Customer Success Plans Promote Client Satisfaction

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First Response Rate (FRT)

First response rate, also known as first response time (FRT) or speed to contact, measures how long it takes on average for your support team to respond to customers after a support request has been initiated. You can measure this by taking all closed tickets from a given time frame (such as last month), tallying up the total amount of time it took until an agent responded to each ticket, and dividing by the total number of tickets.

50 Tickets Closed / 25 Days = 2 Tickets/day

5 Crucial Customer Satisfaction KPI Scores To Track

Freemium

A freemium strategy uses a free version of a software product to promote a premium version. The free version of the product combines enough functionality to make the product appealing with enough limitations to make an upgrade to the premium version desirable.

What Is A Freemium Strategy?

Freemium Onboarding

Freemium onboarding forms a critical stage in users’ path to becoming paying customers. The communications you use to onboard freemium users can directly determine whether they upgrade to premium buyers or they become inactive users.

Freemium Onboarding: How To Convert Free Users Into Paying Customers
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Gross Retention (GRR)

Gross revenue retention (GRR) specifically focuses on revenue retention rather than customer retention,. Gross revenue retention measures how much of your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) you retain each month after you’ve subtracted the effects of churn or downgrades to lower-priced products, but not the effects of upgrades. Gross revenue retention can be calculation in monthly, quarterly or annually depending on your selling model and typical subscription term.
This can be mathematically expressed as a formula for monthly:
GRR = [(MRR from renewals – MRR lost due to churn – MRR lost due to downgrades) / MRR at the beginning of the month] * 100

Gross Retention Vs. Net Retention: What’s The Difference?

High Touch

A high touch customer engagement strategy involves regular, one-on-one assistance from a dedicated Customer Success Manager for whom this might be their only account (but is more likely one of a handful of accounts). It is usually used for strategic or high-value customers that are often more complex and require one-on-one assistance.

Low-Touch Vs. High-Touch Customer Success Models
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KPI

Key performance Indicator. Key performance indicators are the metrics you collect at various stages throughout your customer journey to help you identify performance against the goals you have set.

Low Touch

Also called tech-touch, this customer engagement strategy involves digital or online engagement and the use of non-designated customer success associates as needed. It is frequently used for customers that generally have a low recurring revenue and/or uncomplicated usecase.

Low-Touch Vs. High-Touch Customer Success Models
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Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score has become synonymous with measuring customer satisfaction. Developed by Bain & Company business strategist Fred Reichheld, NPS measures customer satisfaction by asking survey respondents to use a scale of 0 to 10 to answer a single question such as, “How likely is it that you would recommend our brand to a friend or colleague?”

5 Crucial Customer Satisfaction KPI Scores To Track

Net Retention (NRR)

Very similar to gross retention, however, net retention factors in how losses in revenue from churn and downgrades are offset by upsells and expansion. The formula for calculating net revenue retention is almost the same as that for gross revenue retention, except we need to add in the effects of upsells and cross-sells. We’ll call these “upgrades” for short for the sake of simplifying our formula. When this new variable is added in, our formula for GRR becomes NRR:NRR = [(MRR from renewals + MRR from upgrades – MRR lost due to churn – MRR lost due to downgrades) / MRR at the beginning of the month] * 100

Gross Retention Vs. Net Retention: What’s The Difference?
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Product Engagement

Product engagement refers to how and how often customers use your products. It encompasses several key elements:

1. Which features customers use

2. How many of your features your customers are using

3. How advanced their feature usage is

4. How consistently or sporadically they use those features

5. How frequently they use your product as a whole

6. How long they spend in your product

How to Monitor and Manage Product Engagement
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Quarterly Business Review

A quarterly business review (QBR) is a chance to unite your executives and your clients’ executives to discuss the health of their business and your relationship, to communicate future goals and plans, and to strategize how you can deliver more value to them based on those factors.

Best Practices To Ensure A Successful Quarterly Business Review
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Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement, the process of aligning, informing and collaborating with parties who have a vested interest in an organization - aka  the decision makers that can make or break your relationship - is an extremely important strategic relationship that should be a high priority but is often neglected.

Proactive Stakeholder Engagement - Key Strategies During Covid-19 From Lucid and Totango

Customer Success and Customer Experience

The difference between customer success and customer experience is perspective.
Customer success is proactive, focused on continuously delivering new ways for the customer to derive value from the product.
Customer experience is interactive, focused on delivering an enjoyable and accessible product that can be smoothly integrated into a customer’s daily workflows.
Customer success is the search for new and unexpected ways to sustain positive emotions about your product into the future. The customer experience deals with the emotional response a customer has to your product today.

What’s The Difference Between Customer Success And Customer Experience?

Customer Success Managers and Customer Account Managers

CSMs are proactive in their approach versus AMs and their reactive approach. CSMs have always been seen as the trusted advisor within the company with a holistic view of the customers, while AMs manage escalations and renewals.

The Difference Between Customer Success Managers And Customer Account Managers

Customer Success and Customer Support

Customer success vs. customer support: although these two terms appear similar, they actually refer to two different, yet complementary, functions within a company. Fulfilling a proactive role, customer success focuses on problem prevention and creates value by enabling clients to achieve business goals. Customer support is reactive and acts as a resource for clients to use when they encounter specific technical issues and need help.

Customer Success Vs. Customer Support: What Are The Differences?

Customer Success and Customer Service

The main difference between customer success vs. customer service lies in their respective approaches to customer interactions. Customer service is reactive, focusing on solving problems as they arise, whereas customer success is proactive, focusing on preventing problems and fostering long-term growth. It drives value for customers and helps them achieve their goals.

Customer Success Vs. Customer Service: How They Work Together

Customer Success and Account Management

As a broad customer success vs account management distinction, these engagements occur in different ways. Account Managers tend to react to renewal anniversaries, customer feedback, and the overall health of the customer experience. CSMs also often work on renewal and expansion, but tend to be more proactive, seeking to create additional value for the customer by measuring day-to-day metrics that reveal the customer experience and taking action based on this data to ensure customers remain engaged throughout their journey.

Customer Success Vs Account Management: Understanding What Each Team Does

Customer Onboarding and User Onboarding

Customer onboarding differs conceptually from user onboarding, although in practice the two have common goals and they can overlap. Customer onboarding focuses on guiding key decision-makers and administrators at your client's company through the onboarding process and helping them use your product to attain their business goals. User onboarding encompasses all users of your product at your client company, including decision-makers as well as other users, and it guides them through learning how to use your product to accomplish daily tasks.

The Guide to Successful Onboarding

Product Adoption and Product Consumption

Product adoption is a measure of how many users are utilizing your product and how often they are using it. Product consumption is a measure of how much of your product is being utilized. Are users only using one feature or are they using all of the product functionality.

Gross Retention and Net Retention

Net retention, is very similar to gross retention, except now we factor in how losses in revenue from churn and downgrades are offset by upsells and cross-sells. Note that once again we’re talking about revenue retention rather than customer retention.

Gross Retention Vs. Net Retention: What’s The Difference?

Customer Success and Business Intelligence (BI)

BI tools are built for data but they are not built for data application. While they can collect and democratize data for the whole company, they are not equipped to manage internal and external projects, tasks, workflows, and other important factors. Consider these three things that CS software does that BI software simply cannot do: Automation, Intelligent Workflow Optimization, Customer Lifecycle Management

Why BI Software Is Simply Not Enough For Customer Success Teams

High Touch and Low Touch

The low-touch vs high-touch customer success engagement is often trivialized to a clash between human and automated communication. The distinction is better presented as a choice between one-on-one customer assistance and personalized solutions and the provision of resources a customer can use themselves.

Low-Touch Vs. High-Touch Customer Success Models

Gross Retention and Gross Revenue Retention

Often, these terms are used synonymously, but the are not the same. Gross retention is a measure of the quantity of customers you retain. Gross revenue retention is a measure of how much revenue your retain.

Gross Retention Vs. Net Retention: What’s The Difference?

Freemium and Free Trial

A freemium strategy differs from strategies that rely on free trials. An essential difference is that a free trial limits the amount of time a SaaS product may be used, which is not a characteristic of a freemium strategy. Freemium strategies and free trials are not mutually exclusive but can be combined. For example, you can offer freemium users a 30-day free trial of your premium product.

What Is A Freemium Strategy?

NPS and CSAT

CSAT shares some similarities with another popular customer satisfaction metric, Net Promoter Score (NPS), as well as some key differences. NPS uses a scale of 0 to 10 to measure how likely a customer would be to recommend a brand, product or service to a family member, friend or colleague, depending on the exact wording of the survey question. Scores of 9 or 10 are isolated to yield a percentage of customers who would be likely to promote recommendations.

What Is CSAT And How Can It Help You Improve Satisfaction?

NPS and CLI

Like NPS, the customer loyalty index (CLI) tracks how likely a customer is to recommend a brand, but it also asks customers how likely they are to buy again and to try other products. Unlike NPS, CLI doesn’t have a standard scale. It may use 0 to 10, or it may use a different numerical range.

Measuring Customer Loyalty: 5 Ways To Track It

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What's inside a SuccessBLOC?

A framework at your fingertips

SuccessBLOCs–a groundbreaking, modular concept in customer success, allowing organizations to start with their most critical business priority first, and grow into broader customer success initiatives.

Each SuccessBLOC contains goals that guide enterprises through the successful completion of each stage in the customer journey with relevant KPIs, dashboards, analytics and best practices.

GOALS & KPIs

Your guiding light

SuccessBLOCs–a groundbreaking, modular concept in customer success, allowing organizations to start with their most critical business priority first, and grow into broader customer success initiatives.

Each SuccessBLOC contains goals that guide enterprises through the successful completion of each stage in the customer journey with relevant KPIs, dashboards, analytics and best practices.

Segments

Filter, analyze, and act

SuccessBLOCs–a groundbreaking, modular concept in customer success, allowing organizations to start with their most critical business priority first, and grow into broader customer success initiatives.

Each SuccessBLOC contains goals that guide enterprises through the successful completion of each stage in the customer journey with relevant KPIs, dashboards, analytics and best practices.

Reports

Something here

SuccessBLOCs–a groundbreaking, modular concept in customer success, allowing organizations to start with their most critical business priority first, and grow into broader customer success initiatives.

Each SuccessBLOC contains goals that guide enterprises through the successful completion of each stage in the customer journey with relevant KPIs, dashboards, analytics and best practices.

Campaigns

Scale your connectivity

SuccessBLOCs–a groundbreaking, modular concept in customer success, allowing organizations to start with their most critical business priority first, and grow into broader customer success initiatives.

Each SuccessBLOC contains goals that guide enterprises through the successful completion of each stage in the customer journey with relevant KPIs, dashboards, analytics and best practices.