The Importance of Data in Serving Your Customers

A CEO of a start up asked me recently, what would I do first, in my first 90 days if I didn’t have Customer Success technology. I responded by saying I’d speak to customers personally and I’d start working with them on building out success plans.

It got me thinking. Whilst having data is fundamental to running successful customer success initiatives, let’s not forget the simplicity of customer centricity by listening to customers and what it is they need your help with. What does success look like to them?

What We Did

I kicked off a quick exercise with my team. The aim was to ask a few probing questions that would result in a) understanding their perspective and b) to create opportunities for digging deeper to find solutions to a bigger problem. As a team they are my super brain! They’re on the front line and it’s my job to continue removing roadblocks and uncovering problems the team are perhaps not yet reporting.

Two hours and two CSM’s into the exercise and already a few themes were emerging. I want to discuss one of them, how much we really know about our customers.

We collect a really good range of data points. It’s taken some time to bring it into order but we’re in good shape, or so I thought. The conversation I’d had with the CEO had positioned my mindset to strip my assumption back to bare bones and challenge what we would do if we didn’t have the technology. Were there gaps and what might we do differently that we could do with implementing to support what we have.

If you have product usage data that’s terrific but it doesn’t tell the whole story on it’s own. If you have good NPS scores, it’s one measure that may put you in a false sense of security. It requires a constant evaluation of the data that is being collected, used and analysed. Is it still surviving its purpose, still relevant and what is missing?

We’ve uncovered some quick wins for us through the exercise which is always pleasing. By implementing new data collected, it gives us another way to segment and service our customers in a more targeted way with information that is helpful to them – to them being the important point here. 

What data do you need that will help you service your customers better? Knowing more about them enables you to drive them to outcomes and see value and results in the partnership with your company, but it also has to be the right information. It’s a constant evolution so don’t get stuck in a rut with what you have. Listen to your customers, what are they telling you and how does that help you access the information you have about the wider customer base, what is that information teaching you about your customers and is it enough?

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