Powering Growth with Customer Health Scores Part 3

By: Megan Heinz  |  June 3, 2021

Part 3: Operationalizing your Customer Health Score for Go-to-Market Teams

Now that you’ve designed and deployed your Customer Health Score, learn how to operationalize it into everyday use for Go-to-Market teams.

Leveraging your Customer Health Score

Like any business tool, a Customer Health Score only adds value when it is leveraged properly. Now that you’ve designed and deployed your Customer Health Score, the next step is to enable the score as a tool to help your customer-facing teams increase Net Revenue Retention (NNR) and maximize your relationship with every customer.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Determine your Customer Health Score use case

Ask yourself: What teams will be using these scores, and how? If multiple teams will be using the score for different use cases and outcomes, try to narrow your scope initially. This will help you quickly gain traction, outline clear objectives, find key results and optimize the team’s time.

In other words, start by focusing either on retention OR on expansion, not both.

2. Evaluate and reallocate current resources

Make sure you have the right number and profile of people engaging with customers. For all use cases, a proactive outreach model will help you get the most out of your Customer Health Score. This model requires having an Account Manager or Customer Success team dedicated to systematically contacting customers based on their health score category.

If you have an existing proactive outreach strategy, use the current performance and capacity of that individual or team as your first input. If proactive outreach is not part of your existing customer success strategy, consider dedicating one representative to the role, either part-time or full-time. This person should be in a customer-facing role and knowledgeable about the entire platform.

While this may initially limit your segmentation or alter your engagement structure, it’s a great way to initiate outreach, gauge response rates and optimize the process on a smaller scale.

3. Segment your customers to understand needs

Within your health score bands, we recommend further segmenting customers based on individual attributes for purposes of the initial outreach. This provides a few follow-on advantages, including:

  • A/B testing on a smaller scale before mass rollout
  • Allowing for proper engagement within groups to avoid overloading the team
  • Attribute specification: what is qualifying this customer as green, yellow or red? If a customer moves tiers, what’s changed? (This also makes room for future engagement should the first reach-out not elicit a response.)

Don’t attempt to engage all reds, yellows and greens out of the gate. Instead, focus on one segment at a time.

4. Determine your engagement strategy

Engagement strategies consist of two aspects: the method and the message.

Method: How you communicate with your customers. Should your method of engagement be an email campaign, a phone call, a webinar or something else? This decision can be made based on historical customer preferences or available resources. Be aware that how you reach out will drastically change customer engagement and, thus, support time needed per customer.

You’ll also want to consider the method of action you want in return. Are you asking for a 15-minute scheduled phone call, an hour on a webinar or for them to engage with self-serve materials via links? While you don’t need to limit your strategy to one format, these are important aspects to consider when modeling the team’s time and anticipated response rates.

Message: What you want to say to your customers. The outcome you desire may be clear to you—for your customers to use dashboards, complete automations, add on products—but your message needs to be nuanced. With so much competing for your customers’ time, why should they care about one dashboard or one automation? You know it will save them time, but they may not realize that, so you need to identify a pain point and elicit an emotional response.

If you can’t do this, it’s not worth the customer’s time, and the email or phone call will go unanswered. So, in your communications, briefly outline how this conversation will benefit them. This will help you come across in a consultative manner, as opposed to an upsell or feature-pitch.

Once the engagement strategy is outlined, test it! Make sure you are not inadvertently causing cancellations or unnecessary unsubscribe rates by sending too many emails, or emails with the wrong message. Be prepared for customer responses unrelated to the health score such as feature requests or potential complaints and provide your team with an action plan for appropriately capturing and responding to such responses. This may be, in the customers’ view, the first opportunity they see to express the need for more training, technical issues or general comments regarding the product.

5. Hire and train your teams

Everyone who interfaces with a customer should know what components form the health score and where to find the detailed attributes surrounding them, as every customer interaction is an opportunity to engage and improve. Train your success managers, or dedicated reps assigned to proactive outreach, on the GTM strategy, key risk areas and red flags. Train your entire customer-facing team on the details of the health score.

Be sure everyone understands that the score is for internal use only and should not be reported to customers. A support representative should not say, for instance, “By the way, I noticed you’re at-risk.” Instead, a representative could lead with, “While I’m in your account, I noticed we don’t have you set up on our automations, which could prevent errors, improve your workflows and save you time.”

Finally, train your team to gauge the reason for the customer interaction in the first place before bringing up any additional actions to be taken.

Measure the success of your process and track KPIs

While tracking health scores and changes in the Customer Health Score can be done within the CRM, the engagement team should also be tracking the success of engagement activity, including:

  • When was the reach-out?
  • What was the message?
  • What was the method?
  • Did the customer respond or act?

These captured details for every engagement will help to determine:

  • The best method for engagement and response rates
  • The message that resonated best with customers
  • The best timing for engagement or response rates
  • The time spent on follow-up calls or support based on engagement
  • How often each customer is being contacted and for what reason

All activity should be tracked and accessible within the CRM so that the engagement team, customer-facing teams and those responsible for reporting on the success of the program can see the customer engagement at a glance.

Meanwhile, monthly KPIs should include:

  • Engagement outreach
  • Response rate
  • Tier change goals/attribute attainment goals
  • Retention goals

Program management structure and proactive outreach KPIs should be determined post-90 days to ensure appropriate benchmark data can be gathered and Customer Health Score iterations, if needed, can be made.

That’s only the beginning

Now that you have your teams properly leveraging your Customer Health Score, iterate and expand! As you engage with your customers, learn what works and continuously re-evaluate your GTM strategy.

In other words, don’t stop here. Training your staff, consistently measuring critical KPIs, and re-evaluating your strategies will help ensure future success.

Read Part 1 of this series.

Read Part 2 of this series.

Meg is Vice President of Revenue Operations at Mainsail. She is responsible for helping Mainsail’s portfolio companies implement best practices and drive go-to-market efficiencies to support their growth, among other operational initiatives.
More by Megan Heinz
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