Tracking Customer Success: Beware Of Aggregation

Data Aggregation

Imagine that you have a family mobile phone plan with four phones on it. Your latest monthly bill is £200 higher than the previous month. The first thing you want to know is why the bill is higher this month. Did you exceed your data allotment? Did someone download a bunch of ringtones? Who’s responsible?

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. To take appropriate action, you need to look beyond the aggregate amount – the amount you owe – to the specific reasons. The same is true when you’re trying to track customer success through usage data. Data aggregation can hide the information that you need to take action.

Relying On Aggregate Usage Data

The idea behind aggregation is a good one – we need a quick, high-level perspective on what’s happening. Wouldn’t you just love to have a simple ‘customer usage score’ that told you where you were with a customer?Reality is rarely simple. Aggregate data obscures the insight you need to make substantive change.

For example, companies often measure customer usage by aggregate resource consumption. But that’s like the lump sum mobile phone bill. Aggregate consumption doesn’t tell you if a small number of users are using the solution heavily, or if one solution is responsible for most of the usage.

If you rely on aggregate data alone, you’re taking a lot of possible strategies off the table when it comes to managing customer success and growing revenues, including:

  • Health scores for individual subscriptions in addition to overall accounts- many successful businesses carefully monitor the ‘health score’ of critical users within larger accounts.
  • Personalised outreach or plays for individual users or roles to ensure adoption or nurture a potential advocate.
  • Optimising your product and rate plans based on what users do using their mobile device as compared to their desktop computer.
  • Insight into resulting success and usage to determine if those interventions drove improvement and fine-tune your efforts.

None of these strategies are available to those who have only aggregate data.

Correlate By Product, Subscription, User & Device

Make sure you have the ability to drill down and cross-correlate data across multiple segments: by product, by subscription, by user and by device. This will help you find the actionable information in the aggregates, including problems with adoption that may be hiding behind a few high-resource users.

With detailed data, you can run personalised plays and understand what’s happening with individual subscriptions as well as larger accounts. You can also use that detailed data to drive new revenues. For example, you could evaluate a tiered pricing strategy, in which you charge the intensive users of the solution at a higher rate than the light users. This helps you retain the light users, potentially expanding that market, while generating more revenue from the heavy users.

Finally, detailed data is essential to evaluating the effectiveness of your efforts, so you can close the loop. Did your personalised campaign reach the right people? Did your investment in training deliver success for the right users? To get the answers, you’ll need to look beyond aggregates.

Matt Shanahan

Matt Shanahan, Vice President of Product Strategy at ServiceSource, brings nearly 25 years of experience in the execution of business transformation. His specialities include business model innovation and new market development.