By Jim Jones
A wise mentor of mine told me years ago: “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” His point was that it’s not enough to set goals, objectives, and targets for a team – it’s also necessary to measure how you’re doing against what you’ve planned and communicated. If you can’t measure your team, how do you know if you’re making progress? Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, allow you to do just that. KPIs for customer success teams is a hot topic these days. In this post, we’ll provide some general guidelines on building your own KPIs for your team.
To better illustrate what KPIs are and how to use them effectively, I’m going to compare your customer success team to a car. I’ll also define some of the key terms used in measuring customer success.
KPIs vs Metrics
As the name implies, a key performance indicator (or KPI) is a measurement of your team’s most essential goals and objectives. It represents a summary of how your team is doing relative to its overall plan for the month, quarter or year. KPIs should be limited to just a few numbers and should be visible to the team and to the rest of the company. Think of it as the dashboard on your car. Most of the time when you’re driving, you only need to monitor your speed and keep an eye on the gas gauge. The dashboard also has warning lights for your engine, your tires, etc. These lights don’t tell you what the exact problem is, but will highlight a critical or severe error that requires more investigation.
Metrics is the generic term for the universe of all things you could measure. Metrics provide more detailed information about KPIs and give you more insight into what factors are influencing a KPI. Metrics are best used by team managers and members and can help provide valuable feedback on performance. A metric for your car would be tire pressure on all four tires (plus maybe your spare). It’s not something you have to check often, but your dashboard should tell you when a deeper investigation is required.
Leading vs Lagging Indicators
Both KPIs and metrics can show you data in one of two ways – either they can be used to predict future events (leading indicators), or they can show events that have already occurred (lagging indicators). Think of the those leading KPIs and metrics as the view out your front windshield – you can see what road conditions you’ll face in the immediate future. Your odometer is a lagging indicator. It tells you how many miles you’ve driven your car, but it’s not terribly useful for predicting future performance.
The “Best” KPIs for Customer Success
New leaders of customer success organizations may want to know what the best or most appropriate KPIs are for their team. The short answer to that question is: “It depends.” KPIs must be specific to your company and your team. However, there are some general rules to be aware of when building Go to the full article.