The importance of a data-driven customer success process

Data-driven customer success helps companies personalize their services at scale, build brand loyalty and reduce churn. Here’s UserGem’s data-driven CS process.
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You’ve probably seen this stat; a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25-95%.

If you care about customer retention (and we think you do), you can't overlook the role of customer success in today’s preferred digital-first buying experience. But hiring a Customer Success (CS) manager to cross it off your list isn’t enough for revenue growth. 

You need a data-driven CS process to keep customers engaged and satisfied. 

This article covers the benefits of a data-driven CS process and the workflow we use here at UserGems.

Let’s dive in!

What does it mean to be a data-driven customer success team?

TL;DR: A data-driven customer success team makes strategic and personalized decisions based on data to enhance product and customer experience.

First off, what does a Customer Success Manager (CSM) do?

CSMs help customers achieve their desired business outcomes with your product. We don’t know about you. But we think that’s a cool superpower.🦸🏻‍♀️

And like most superheroes, there’s a nemesis waiting to pounce. In a CSMs case, it’s blind spots in the customer’s lifecycle. 

Without a 360° view of the customer lifecycle, the following happens:

  • The CSM stays reactive instead of proactive. 
  • Scaling CS operations become impossible because success looks different for each customer. You can’t use one playbook for all.
  • Your customers are 4x likely to switch to your competitor when the customer experience is poor. 

A CS team with a data-driven mindset will leverage tech tools to collect accurate and actionable customer data. As a result, they build an effective CS workflow to:

  • Track how customers use their products and segment them for personalized support and proactive communication.
  • Identify opportunities for automation to scale CS operations successfully.
  • Create and track key metrics to measure customer health and churn scores.

Frankly, data-driven is used so often it’s now a buzzword.

Let’s show you what a data-driven CS means in practice and its benefits.

What are the benefits of a data-driven CS process?


Steven Farina, Senior Customer Success Manager, UserGems, presented these benefits at RevCon 2021 by RevGenius. You can watch the full presentation below. Otherwise, keep reading for all the insights 💡

Benefit #1: Proactivity

Proactivity is key to customer success. But it’s challenging to keep up when you serve several customers. 

Thanks to our data-driven CS approach, we leverage our data to trigger alerts, tasks, and pre-generated emails, which helps streamline proactive outreach. Our CSMs need only review the pre-generated information and hit send. Some examples include:

ROI triggers/Advocacy 

We have different automation in place for ROI milestones. For example, when a client hits 1x (breakeven), we immediately tell them they're in the green and send some gifts to celebrate. At 5x, we're asking for G2 reviews and other forms of advocacy. At 10x, we're trying to secure a case study. At each of these specific moments, the actions are auto-generated in a series of tasks and emails.

Monthly pipeline & revenue summary 

Once they qualify and hit all the data needed to trigger this, each month, we send a complete summary of their performance metrics, including their ROI, direct pipeline, closed opportunities, and license usage.

Weekly Usage & Adoption Summary

“Usage & Adoption are crucial KPIs for the UserGems CS team. That much is true for most CS teams, but this is especially important for a tool like UserGems, which is designed to be used at scale,” explains Steven. “For us, outreach rate (percent of leads contacted) and projected license utilization are the first levers we can focus on to help make our clients successful.”

Our weekly summaries are pre-generated emails that we send each Friday containing the client’s outreach rate and projected license utilization rate for the current week and the week prior. 

We have different CTA’s and suggestions depending on whether those metrics are above or below the benchmark. We’re asking to get on a call for any dangerously low metric as part of the email.

Track champion movement with UserGems

We use UserGems to track job changes and signal when a champion has left an account. We can then engage them. Moving to a new role presents a potential cross-sell opportunity while preventing us from being blindsided.

“There is a crazy phenomenon in the world of CS. Champions leave just a few months before renewal,” says Steven. “This is a helpful trigger for us to know precisely when this happens so we can troubleshoot within the account they left to make sure we still have all the motions and people in place to cover renewals and continue the conversation. 

“And while our UserGems instance will let our Sales team know when this person joins a new account, it’s a great moment for us to proactively connect with Sales to give them the full scoop of how we worked with this champion in the past before they reach out,” he continues.

Benefit #2: Accurate and timely business insights

As we’ve shown above, customer engagement at critical stages keeps you informed on what’s happening in your business. 

With the surfaced data, you can create trustworthy health/churn scores. Here are the four general buckets we use to estimate health with accuracy:

  • ROI
  • Usage/Adoption 
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Engagement. 

Benefit #3: Seamless onboarding processes 

Your onboarding process is the deal-breaker for 63% of customers. Either make it seamless with personalized content or direct them to your knowledge base. 

For example, tracking your product data usage can tell you which onboarding stage customers drop off the most. You can then program an in-app notification at that stage to guide them through it.

Benefit #4: Increased chance of upsells due to increased customer satisfaction

Keeping your customers satisfied creates avenues for more business. Since you’ve kept your word with one service, they are likely to trust your recommendations. Plus, you can count on satisfied customers to serve as referrals even when they move to new companies.

Our ideal data-driven customer success tech stack and workflow

There’s no one-size-fits-all CS tech stack. 

Your tech stack is determined by your business, the data you want to collect, and how you plan to use it. Here’s our ideal tech stack and how we use it. 

CRM - Salesforce

Salesforce is the centralized location for all our customer data, and it's integrated with the rest of our tech stack. We use it to store customer info and keep track of customer activity. 

CRM updates - Scratchpad

Scratchpad integrates with Salesforce to maintain current notes and to-dos on the customer. It’s our preferred tool for managing CRM updates & (customer) data hygiene. When a CSM is assigned to an account, they know the customer’s status and where to pick up.

Sales intelligence - UserGems

It’s pretty cool we use our product 😎 

We use UserGems to automatically surface past customers'  — these are warm leads with buying intent. We can track our champion’s movement to maintain an account we’ve won. And opens opportunities to win new accounts. 

CS software - ChurnZero

ChurnZero helps us manage customer journeys, assess churn likelihood, and trigger automation. 

“In addition to monitoring client health, ChurnZero allows us to segment our client data so we can manage journeys and trigger plays, alerts, and other automation for specific clients at specific moments in time. It's a key tool in helping us stay proactive,” adds Steven.

Data-driven CS is key to customer engagement 

You’ve probably heard or experienced the benefits of customer success in your business. But replicating CS at scale is where most people get stumped.

Our framework for data-driven CS has helped us engage with our customers at scale and smoothen roadblocks that discourage them from using our product. We can also stay proactive, create accurate and trustworthy health scores, and stay informed on all aspects of our business. 

Always remember that successful customers make successful companies... 

Why UserGems

UserGems helps companies generate more revenue by combining relationship data with trigger events to surface the most relevant buyers for each company. With UserGems, customers get a bigger pipeline and win more often.

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