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Gareth Goh | December 9, 2015

Why Data is the Key to your Customers' Happiness


For most companies – but especially at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startups – customer happiness is the key to...errr...happiness!

Many SaaS companies operate on a recurring revenue model; customers pay a monthly subscription fee to use your software. While it’s great to have revenue coming in at a consistent rate each month, there’s also an inherent danger with a subscription business:

Subscriptions can be cancelled. Customers can churn, and incoming revenue can dry up pretty quickly.

Customers tend to churn for one simple reason: they’re not getting the value they had hoped for from your product. They're not happy using it, and there's no reason for them to keep paying for something with which they're not happy.

Customer success teams take on an even more important role at SaaS companies, working with customers to keep them engaged, finding value and happy. While there are many different ways customer success can be effective, the best way is to lean on the data.

How Data Translates to Happier Customers

As with any problem, you can’t possibly begin to solve it until you fully understand the crux of the issue. In this case, you want to know which of your customers are least happy, and why.

For most SaaS products, happiness boils down to a simple metric: usage. Simply put, how much are they using your product? Are they using it at all?

Using a system like Intercom.io, you can track how frequently customers are using your product and which features they are using most. You’ve now identified your problem: the cohort of customers who aren’t using your product. Now you can go about addressing these customers, in several ways.

  • Reach out to them personally – Your customer success team simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to address all customers, so it makes sense to start with the ones who are most at risk of churning, i.e. the ones who aren’t using your product. Having data on which customers fall into that category can help your team prioritize their personal outreach and understand why those specific customers are slipping away, and what you can do to pull them back in.
  • Spotlight key features in your customer newsletters – If you have a great value-add feature that your customers aren’t using, it could be simply that they don’t know about it, or fully understand it. Use the data to determine which specific features it would make sense to highlight and draw your customers’ attention to.
  • Set up training programs around those features – Similarly, features might be under-used because they’re simply too complex. Now that you know which features those are, you can set up training programs through your customer success team – such as through a customer webinar – to educate your customers.

Usage is a critical piece of data that can make all the difference to your customers and their happiness. But it is also far from the only helpful data for your customer success team:

Number of Support Tickets Submitted

A customer who regularly submits support tickets is clearly having trouble with your product. It would make sense for your customer success team to spend a lot of their attention on these “trouble customers,” but not all support tickets are created equally. Be wary of grumpy customers who like giving you a hard time and are likely to churn regardless of how much support you give them.

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

FCR is calculated by taking the number of support cases solved in one rep response divided by all resolved cases for a given period. Essentially, this means that the service rep on your customer success team needed only one response or interaction with the customer before resolving the issue. This speaks to your team’s strong ability to understand and tackle customer issues. According to Think HDI, there is a direct correlation between having a high FCR score and customer satisfaction:


Finance Data

SaaS businesses care most about customer lifetime value – the longer a customer stays with you, the more monthly payments they’re contributing to your revenue. Many SaaS businesses also offer different pricing tiers, matching different product features or capabilities.

While all customers are important and deserve your attention, it stands to reason that customers who have been around for a long time or customers who pay substantially more than your Average Sale Price (ASP) should receive that extra little bit of hands-on attention from your customer success team. If you know who those customers are, you could even have a dedicated customer service rep assigned to those clients, to make sure their needs are always promptly taken care of.


There is a wealth of data from a variety of different sources – from your support system (like Help Scout and Intercom.io) to your CRM and marketing automation and even to your finance systems – that can contribute toward making your customers happier. Knowing where all that quantitative and qualitative data lies – and being able to integrate and sync all that data so that they’re not siloed but working together – will allow your customer success team to be more efficient and effective in solving customer problems.

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