What’s new in Customer Success – Tuesday, July 26th

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors. Enjoy!

– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked
Sign up for Sparked’s Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com

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From the companies and pontificators:

Making SaaS sticky: Why customer success is the industry’s new linchpin
Ben Velker for CloudTech explains here that for SaaS companies the time it takes for a customer to integrate a new product into their business is critical, especially if your business model relies on monthly or annual subscriptions. This makes time a luxury most providers don’t have. As more and more SaaS companies are added to the market, it won’t be only the products make them winners, Customer Success will be what tips the scale for them. Love it.

Customer Experience Vision Dictates Value
If you don’t have a clear vision about your product, then you probably aren’t providing clear value to your customer. Lynn Hunsaker covers this topic in a new article for CustomerThink. Her view is that it is an issue of customer-centricity, and if your vision is in sync with your customers’, then you understand it. If not, you are missing an opportunity to reap the full rewards of providing a solid customer experience. By starting with an examination and definition of what is needed by every part of you company to consistently deliver your brand promise. Read it.

The Why, What and How of Customer Success
Here is a great article for those customer experience managers who are looking to institute customer success programs, but need to convince their bosses of why it’s such a good idea. There are no shortage of articles, white-papers, and blog posts that espouse the benefits of customer success and how critical it is to a company’s survival, but this article by Payl Philp for Business2Community puts it together really well. Love it.

How CEOs Can Keep Their Analytics Programs from Being a Waste of Time
In spite of large investments in big data and analytics, most programs fail to meet expectations. According to this article by Chris McShea for the Harvard Business Review the reason is that CEO’s have to learn to anticipate and manage the changes that these data expose. Here are the four things that need to be addressed in order to allow for the success of these programs. Love it.

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From the Customer Success & Analytics vendors:

How to Boost Slow Product Adoption After Onboarding
From the Totango blog, this article gives a couple tips to ensure solid product adoption. On-boarding represents a critical phase in the customer journey, and it is one which can set the stage for your future adoption and customer experience efforts. Finding first value will help motivate them to use the product more, but it is up to your team to ensure they keep finding value over time. Read it.

6 Ways to Simplify Your Customer Analytics
Customer analytics can seem difficult and intimidating, but there’s a lot you can do to make it simpler. From Paul Boyce, CEO at Popcorn Metrics, here are 6 ways you can simplify your customer analytics. For us, number 3 was the stand out winner. Having the proper tools in place will ultimately lead to you having the most insight into customer behavior, and with that your customer experience campaigns will be far more effective. Love it.

Stop Treating Your Data Scientist Like a Janitor
Archana Madhavan at the Amplitude blog writes about a topic that really should get more attention. Real world data is messy and the painful process of cleaning, parsing, and proofing one’s data before it is suitable for analysis can take up to 60% of a Data Scientist’s time. Good stuff to keep in mind if you are looking at analytics solutions. Read it.

How to Build Strong Customer Relationships to Boost Retention
A recent study found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can lead to a profit increase of 25% to 95%. Now that seems pretty high to us, but the idea is definitely sound. Still, many businesses just aren’t allocating funds for customer retention teams and programs. If more companies understood how significant the customers relationships is, and how it can lead directly to stronger retention, then the budgets would follow. This article by Tom Whatley for CrazyEgg covers it nicely. Love it.

Are you sure you’re ready for a Customer Success platform?
From the Gainsight blog, Alex McClafferty and Nils Vinje of Glide Consulting discuss the value of simplicity and discipline with your customer success platform. There are some valuable insights here for what you should be asking from a CS platform vendor. These products aren’t magic, and teams who switch to a dedicated platform hoping that the problems of disparate data types, and inconsistencies will be removed. In reality if your processes aren’t sorted out prior to the switch then your implementation may not all that you hoped for. Great article here. Love it.

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From us at Sparked:

Sign up for the world’s best Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com
Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. We’d love to meet you.

Cheerio,
Jeff

What’s new in Customer Success – Friday, July 15th

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors. Enjoy!

– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked
Sign up for Sparked’s Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com

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From the companies and pontificators:

The Key Ingredient To Disrupting With Machine Learning
Another great article from Tomasz Tunguz. In this piece he covers the differences between B2B and B2C relative to Machine Learning. Since proprietary data sets are at it’s core, having access to them are critical for ML. We especially liked his explanation on which sector is winning, and why. Love it.

6 Performance Tips for Customer Success Teams
According to Bian & Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits anywhere from 25% to 95%. This can represent a sizable revenue boost for companies, and as we know one of the main keys to retention is keeping your customers satisfied. Brianna Valleskey shares some of her tips for Customer Success teams that can help them directly impact company revenue. Read it.

Let’s Stop The Data Deluge Becoming A Tsunami
Within five years there will be over 50 billion smart connected devices in the world, each one developed to collect, analyse and share data that can be used to engage audiences and transform businesses. That is a lot of data to collect and analyze, but what will you do with it? In this article by Jessica Davis she explains the when and the how. Read it.

How to Lose a Customer in 10 Ways
It is no secret that it’s much cheaper to keep a current customer verses acquiring a new one. Still, many Fortune 500 businesses focus on the wrong aspect of the customer journey. They devote millions of dollars toward sales and marketing, but then very little on keeping them happy. In this article, Christine James gives us ten reasons that customers will likely churn away from your business. We think that #8 is the one that companies most often overlook. Read it.

Customer Experience is the New Key Differentiator
Marie Pergolino gives some perspective into how important Customer Success will be in the near future. It has never been easier for customers to explore the competition that exists for nearly every product or service. In the era of ubiquitous access to competitor product information, loyalty grows increasingly more elastic. Smart businesses will prioritize customer experience as it becomes the key differentiator going forward. Love it.

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From the Customer Success & Analytics vendors:

How to Calculate and Increase Customer Lifetime Value
From Brandwatch, content writer Kit Smith gives us advice on defining CLV, and audience segmentation. Additionally there are some great tips on what you can do to improve CLV for your company. We think he nailed it with this tip, “Improve onboarding and support. Some product categories require an onboarding process. Successful onboarding is key to ensuring your customers are getting the most out of their purchase. The more they benefit, the longer their customer lifetime is likely to be”. Read it.

Churn is a Symptom, Not a Disease
What do you do once you have Customer Churn under control? Many companies may never get to ask that question, and just as often don’t really understand why. Writer, Loncoln Murphy explains why for some companies these Churn rates never seem to go down. His take is that businesses don’t ever seem to address the underlying reasons that their customers are churning in the first place. Churn is an indication that something else is wrong, it isn’t actually a problem itself. Love it.

How to Keep Existing Enterprise Customers Happy
From tenfold we found this article that will be useful for business with large B2B clients. Since the size of your customer is a factor in how you work with them, it’s reasonable that keeping them satisfied will create unique challenges for your Customer Success teams. There are some really useful tips here that we think will resonate with you. We especially liked the section on communication. Read it.

How Much is Bad Data Costing Your Company?
From the Kissmetrics blog we found this piece on a topic we don’t hear much about, data quality. With corporate data growing at an estimated 40% per year, the cost of managing and organizing that data can add up very quickly. The problem of bad data isn’t one that stops at the door of your IT or Data Science groups, it reaches much further than that. This ultimately is an issue that affects your entire business, with productivity, security and making cost effective decisions at the top of the list. Love it.

Customer Experience Secrets Revealed – 3 Tips to Employ Right Now
We put a lot of emphasis on Customer Success and always enjoy tips on how to provide that something special you can provide to your customers. In this article by Gary Magenta for Business2Community, he does just that. He explains a couple of those little nuances that you can to to make your customers feel special and help them have a real connection to your business. Love it.

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From us at Sparked:

Sign up for the world’s best Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com
Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. We’d love to meet you.

Cheerio,
Jeff

What’s new in Customer Success – Friday, July 8th

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors. Enjoy!

– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked
Sign up for Sparked’s Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com

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From the companies and pontificators:

Customer Success Is Proving That The Customer Made The Right Decision To Do Business With You
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, keynote speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. In this article and interview with Nils Vinje of Glide Consulting he explains how sales, customer service, and customer success teams can sometimes be at odds with one another. Read it.

Why Most Customer Feedback Analysis Tools Suck & How to Fix This
Many Customer Experience professionals are now turning to Natural Language Processing to assist with the review of customer comments and feedback. In this article by Alyona Medelyan she discusses what we can realistically expect from NLP when it comes to making sense of customer feedback. We liked the section on how NLP Can Turn Chatter into Actionable Insight. Love it.

5 Important Aspects for Improving Customer Experience
Although this is a bit of an overly simplified view, there are some really good ideas in this article by Annabelle Smyth. The theme here is to remember that you are not simply attempting to outshine your competitors. Read it.

How To Invent The Future Of Customer Success
This is one of the most interesting articles we’ve read in a while. Customer Success and B2B Consultant Andrew Rhodes writes this piece on what he thinks Customer Success may look like 25 years from now. Surprisingly, even in the future it’s still customers who ultimately make a business successful. Read it.

4 Lessons Every Business Can Learn from Apple’s Approach to Support
Can your business keep up with the Apple’s commitment to Customer Experience? If you’re going to attempt it, and you should, you will need a sustainable system that empowers your team to provide the best services possible. There are some really great tips in this article for CustomerThink by Nate Skinner. Love it.

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From the Customer Success & Analytics vendors:

14 SaaS Companies Reveal Their Customer Success Process
Benjamin Brandall from process.st talked to 14 SaaS companies about what their Customer Success teams do, and what their processes look like. Very well written article here, with a valuable tips from each company on what they’ve learned along the way. Love it.

Tinder and the Dating App Retention Paradox
From Aditya Vempaty we found this interesting article that explains how understanding your retention is more complex than just tracking your active users across the days, weeks, and months that they are using your app. We assume that all churn is bad, that your most valuable users are active on a daily basis, but that is a dangerous way to think when it gets in the way of actually delivering value to your users. In the case of Tinder, retention actually has a lot to do with how well users churn. Read it.

How to Make Your Customers the Center of Your Company
Allison Picken – VP of Customer Success at Gainsight gives a quick recap of a discussion with 30 of their customers. There was only one topic – How would you define Customer Success? In this post she shares how her own customer success team holds other departments within the company accountable for their role in helping customers. Love it.

How to Retain Your Customer’s Attention Throughout the Onboarding Process
Shayla Price from the Kissmetrics blog writes this post which gives 4 valuable tips on how to properly execute most precious phase in the conversion process. Their mantra… Retain customer attention – Onboard with purpose. This sounds right to us! Love it.

18 Inexpensive Customer Delight Ideas Worth Trying to Fuel Business Growth
Looking for ways to dazzle and delight your customers? Sellbrite offers 18 inexpensive ways you can engage with your customers to do just that. Some of these seem obvious, but maybe not to all. We especially liked #9. Read it.

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From us at Sparked:

Sign up for the world’s best Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com
Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. We’d love to meet you.

Cheerio,
Jeff

What’s new in Customer Success – Tuesday, June 28th

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors. Enjoy!

– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked
Sign up for Sparked’s Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com

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From the companies and pontificators:

3 Simple Steps for Reducing Customer Churn
Here is a simplified breakdown on churn reduction from Ritika Puri, via the B2C website. Reducing Customer Churn can be very complex, but here’s her ideas on 3 simple steps that you can take to create an initial reduction. HINT – They recommend being proactive, and focus on the signals at the user and account level. Good advice! Read it.

Why You Need to Revamp the Customer Experience for Social Consumers
How do you provide a positive Customer Experience in the era of asyncronous and presistent social media streams? Mike Schneider for MarketingProfs covers the expectations of customer communications that extend over time, and across multiple devices. Read it.

How Cybersecurity Impacts Customer Loyalty
Between fraud and set-up friction, U.S. banks lose approximately $14.9 billion in relationship value each year. Alisdair Faulkner from ThreatMatrix explains why security is so important for customer loyalty. Love it.

Treat Me Like a New Customer ALL the Time
How do offers and discounts that apply only to “New Customers” make your existing customers feel about the value they are receiving from your product? Customer Think contributor Bill Price covers this topic and explains why you should be making your customers feel wanted at ALL TIMES, not just while you are trying to land their business. Read it.

The Deal Of a Lifetime
Caroline Newman sits down with Rajkumar Venkatesan, marketing professor at the Darden School of Business to learn more about how companies’ emphasis on Consumer Lifetime Value impacts consumers, and what might happen if companies decide to share all of that data. We especially liked his answers to “which companies do a great job using Consumer Lifetime Value to improve the customer experience and their bottom line?”. Love it.

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From the Customer Success & Analytics vendors:

Expert Advice on Common Mobile Data Challenges
Sam Lewis from the Segment blog shares some of the tips they learned when Segment hosted a goup of industry leaders for a talk on the right way to collect mobile data, and how to overcome the obsticles that come along with that data. Read it.

Use These Four Pillars to Earn Customer Loyalty
From the Kissmetrics blog, we found this post that gives some basic, but good advice for companies who may be questioning how to relate with their customers as people while earning their loyalty long-term. Love it.

Why Customer Lifetime Value Matters (and How to Calculate It for Your Business)
Here is an in depth article from Kevin Donnelly from Shopify. We’ve read many articles on the importance of CLV and how to calculate it, but this is one of the most comprehensive and easiest to understand. Definitely read the portion on RFM score! Read it.

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From us at Sparked:

Sign up for the world’s best Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com
Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. We’d love to meet you.

Cheerio,
Jeff

What’s new in Customer Success – Wednesday, June 15th

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors. Enjoy!

– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked
Sign up for Sparked’s Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com

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From the companies and pontificators:

CIO workshop: ROI of customer experience
New research highlights the importance of customer experience. $3 return on investment expected for every $1 invested in customer experience. Some good data here. Love it.

Data breadlines and data brawls
“Employees are the data-poor, waiting around at the end of the day on the data breadline. The overtaxed data analyst team prioritizes work for the company executives, and everyone else must be served later.” Great imagery in this article by the ever prodigious Tomasz Tunguz. Read it.

Do You Abandon Your Customers Post-Sale?
Landing the customer shouldn’t be where your Customer Experience efforts stop. Dave Angelow at CMSWire writes that companies which emphasize post-sales services ultimately gain the advantage. Read it.

Customer Co-Creation Is The Secret Sauce To Success
Forbes contributor Christine Crandell gives us a look at two companies who are putting a focus on the customer lifecycle in order to provide an experience that will disrupt otherwise established industries. Love it.

Predictive Analytics for B2B Sales and Marketing has Certainly “Crossed the Chasm”
Pranav Vadehra from Martech Advisor speaks to Infer’s Sean Zinsmeister about the predictive space and how it directly relates to Infer’s product strategies. We especially liked the section on Predicting Intent and the risks of blending customer signals from disparate sources. Love it.

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From the Customer Success & Analytics vendors:

5 Cognitive Biases Ruining Your Growth
From the Amplitude blog, Growth Marketer Alex Birkett writes that “as data-driven as we try to be, all organizations are essentially and necessarily human-driven. And humans, naturally, are riddled with irrationality and biases.” Awesome stuff! Love it.

How Customer Research Solves B2B Churn
From the Kissmetrics blog, a missive on the importance of Customer Research. When evaluating churn, companies are still failing to set up systems to derive insight from their customer data. Read it.

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From us at Sparked:


Sign up for the world’s best Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com
Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. We’d love to meet you.

Cheerio,
Jeff

What’s new in Customer Success – Tuesday, June 7th

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors. Enjoy!

– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked
Sign up for Sparked’s Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com 

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From the companies and pontificators:

Welcome to the Success Economy – Enter the Age of the Subscriber
We’ve entered a new age and the idea of customer success has now gone main-stream. Check out this article by “Success Hacker” Todd Eby, where he shares his thoughts on the new Success Economy. Love it.

Lessons Learned by Fortune 500 Enterprises who Have Suffered High Customer Attrition Rate
Mark Silver is the Lead Author and Editor of SuccessFULL. Here he illustrates how companies can learn from the mistakes made by the largest companies to rebound from large amounts of customer churn. Read it.

11 Loyalty-Driving Tactics for Better B2B Customer Retention
Dan is currently the VP of Business Development at Tenfold. He brings us 11 great tactics that we should all be using to better engage and retain our customers. Read it.

How machine learning can impact subscription service offerings
Here’s an interview with Matt Fleckenstein, SVP Products and Marketing at Amplero. Does your company care about machine learning yet? Read this piece and you will understand why machine learning is not just important, it’s critical in driving long-term customer lifetime value. Love it.

Insights from Analyzing 1.5 Billion Push Notifications
What happens when you analyze over a billion push notifications? Check out how and why Leanplum collected this data, and more importantly what you can learn from it. Read it.


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From the Customer Success vendors:

What Does “Customer Success” Mean For SaaS Startups?
Track.io gives us a solid write up here explaining why Customer Success is the recurring revenue businesses answer to churn. We especially like the section on Success Metrics. Read it.

The Future of Apps Is Apps With Analytics
From the Amplitude blog, Aditya Vempaty takes a forward look at mobile apps and discusses why analytics will ultimately be the game changer. Not soley for the customer, but also to assist companies in refining their offerings for better adoption. Read it.


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From us at Sparked:


Sign up for the world’s best Customer Success solution at www.sparked.com
Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. We’d love to meet you.

Cheerio,
Jeff

What’s new in Customer Success – Thursday, May 26

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors.

Enjoy! 
– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked
Sign up for Sparked’s Customer Success solution at sparked.com 

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From the Companies and Pontificators:

Six Reasons Why Every SaaS Vendor Needs a Customer Success Management Strategy
In this article Jason Whitehead covers six trends that lead to churn – with a focus on successful on-boarding and adoption. Love it.

Retention Hacking > Growth Hacking
Nikos Sarilakis from TwinPrime aims to coin the newest hot phrase: Retention Hacking. Not quite as catchy as Growth Hacking, but his argument is solid. Read it.

7 Reasons Why You’re Not Ready For Customer Success… Yet
B2B/Tech marketing pro Pam McBride shares seven blockers to getting started with a Customer Success initiative. Read it.

The Only Two Reasons Customers Churn
Charts, diagrams, and pontification, oh my. Customer Success pro, Lincoln Murphy, is at it again with a breakdown of the process of churn. Read it.

Online Retailers Should Care More About the Post-Purchase Experience
Amit Sharma, founder and CEO of Narvar breaks down why the “buy button isn’t an end point, it’s really just the beginning of a new relationship.” Totes. Love it.

How Data Scientists Extract Value from Data
Bob Hayes from Customer Think offers a nice infographic showing how Data Scientists extract value from customer data. See it.

7 Things You Can Do Today to Increase Customer Loyalty
Jessica Mizerak is the Marketing Manager at Antavo. In this article she covers the ways you can engage with your customers in real ways. Mostly fluff. But good point about daily routines at the end. Read it.

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From the Customer Success vendors:

The ROI of Customer Success
Allison Pickens – VP Customer Success & Business Ops from Gainsight writes this thoughtful article about how to think about ROI for your Customer Success efforts. Read it.

Top Customer Success Takeaways from Gainsight Pulse 2016 and TSW San Diego
TSIA blogger, Phil Nanus, covers his favorite takeaways from Pulse conference. Read it.

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Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. Sign up for a 30 day trial of Sparked’s Customer Success solution at sparked.com

Cheerio,
Jeff


What’s new in Customer Success – Thursday, May 19

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and vendors.

Enjoy! 
– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked 

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From the companies and pontificators:

5 types of Big Data Analytics and how they help Customer Success ames Huddleston from ServiceSource describes 5 key types of big data analytics and how they help Customer Success. Learn about Prescriptive Analytics, Diagnostic Analytics, Descriptive Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Outcome Analytics. Love it.

The Leading Predictor Of Series A Valuation For SaaS Companies Tomas Tunguz at Redpoint Ventures puts customer success into sharp focus. Building a great product is the first order of business for a startup and… developing great customer success should be the second. Read it.

Whose Job is User Research? An Interview with Adam Nemeth
Adam Nemeth from UXStrategia.net plants a flag in the ground: you should be doing your own user research, while being careful to avoid your natural biases. Oriented at the startup CEO, but just as valid for the customer success leader. Love it.

Answers To Your Tough Questions About Growth — Learned While Scaling Eventbrite’s $5B+ Growth Engines
In this article we get some solid insight on growth processes from Brian Rothenberg, VP Growth and Acquisition Marketing at Eventbrite. He talks here about how Eventbrite managed a massive 4 year growth cycle, and includes a selection of the hardest questions that he is asked all the time. Love it.

6 Tips for the Perfect Customer Journey
Alexander Hirsch, digital marketing lead at the World Economic Forum, writes about how Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and Journey Builder software platforms help the company engage with its forum members and reach out to others across the world. Read it.

The Only Two Numbers you Need
Business owner Matthew MacQuarrie writes that although you can fill your head with a lot of numbers—he’s found that two figures can effectively function as a road map, helping him to focus his efforts on the things that are really going to help him grow his business over time. Read it.

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From the vendors:

SMBs Who Set and Track Key Metrics Are 2x More Likely to Hit Targets Laura Tyson shares results from a survey of more than 250 small and medium businesses in the US. Their results reinforce that the most successful companies are increasingly metrics-driven. Read it.

What to Do When a Customer Churns Allison Pickens – VP Customer Success & Business Ops from Gainsight brings us a fantastic article on what you can learn by losing a customer. As painful as it may be for a company, it presents you with a huge learning opportunity. It’s important to drive action rather than wallow in disappointment. Love it.

Bots and the Command Line Revolution Another article in the ongoing torrent of stories about Bots in 2016. This one by Arachana Madhavan of Amplitude. Are bots going to rule your life and work soon? Find out what they are and how they’re transforming tech. Love it.

In Customer Success, Who Has Skin In The Game? Andrew Rhodes Director of Customer Success Education from Amity writes this interesting article on decoupling CS from sales and customer service. Read it.

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From us at Sparked:


Building a customer churn model
What do you need to consider when building a model that predicts customer churn? Ben Rigby, CEO of Sparked and Cody Chapman, Sparked’s Lead Data Scientist, cover the basics in our latest 2-minute short. LOVE IT

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Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. Sets up in 30 mins. We’d love to meet you. www.sparked.com

 

Cheerio,
Jeff

Building a customer churn model

Ben:

Hi, this is Ben Rigby, CEO of Sparked, here with Cody Chapman, our Lead Data Scientist, and we’re going to talk today about building a customer churn model. Exciting stuff. Cody, we’ve written four phases up on the board here.

Phase one is defining churn. What are some of the possibilities?

 

Cody:

First, it’s really important that we have a clear definition of churn. If we’re a subscription business, this is very easy. We can just look at the contracts data to see if an account has renewed or churned at any given point. This is the simplest case.

A more complex definition is what we call “Activity Churn.” If you’re an Ecommerce business or mobile app, for example, you can label an account as “churned” if you haven’t seen it during a given period of time: if you haven’t seen it in six months, for example. Defining churn in this way is trickier, because the customer could come back at any point. But you just have to pick a timeframe that’s beyond when most customers have returned historically.

 

Ben:

Okay, so two ways to define churn: subscription-based and activity-based.

 

Cody:

Exactly.

 

Ben:

Phase two: what kind of data is interesting for us to look at when building a churn model?

 

Cody:

When we’re first building a model, it’s interesting to look at all of the data: billing data, usage data, and static account data such as what country they’re from, what type of plan they’re on, all of this different data. Then you’d use your domain expertise to prune it down into a more manageable set of signals. We don’t want to be feeding thousands and thousands of signals into the machine learning models. We can do that, but it’s more useful to prune in advance.

 

Ben:

Okay, so it’s really not a kitchen sink approach. It’s more a matter of feeding in data that we think will be potentially predictive?

 

Cody:

Exactly. It’s a combination of using your business expertise to define a potentially significant set of factors and then allowing the model to pick out what is actually statistically significant from that set.

 

Ben:

Okay, phase three: building a classification model. What are some of the possibilities?

 

Cody:

Yeah, so now we have churn definition and the pruned set of data. We then feed this data into a model that learns which factors are significant to churn. Black Box models tend to do a little bit of magic behind the scenes and give you a nice prediction out the back, but we don’t know exactly what’s happening in the process. Examples of these are support vector machines (SVMs) and gradient boosting machines (GBMs). There are a number of possibilities here.

 

 

An alternative is to use a more interpretable method such as logistic regression. It’s more transparent. It’ll give you a human-understandable result.

 

Ben:

Okay, so we got the data, we got definition of churn and we’ve chosen our classification model. What’s the final step?

 

Cody:

Now that we’ve chosen our classification model, we feed all of our data in and we let the model learn. And then we can use it for the fun part, which is the forecasting. The model will analyze the data from each account and will forecast an individualized churn probability for each account.

 

Ben:

Okay, so at the end of the day, we have a list of all of the accounts or all of the customers with a predicted risk score?

 

Cody:

That’s exactly right. How likely they are to churn at their next opportunity.

 

Ben:

Okay, and those are the basics for building a customer churn model. Thanks, Cody.

 

Cody:

Thank you.

 

Ben:

All right. See ya.

 

What’s new in Customer Success – Thursday, May 5

Hi and welcome to our weekly roundup about what’s new in Customer Success. Each week, we scour the web for the best and brightest, so that you don’t have to! Below, are the top articles from companies, pontificators, and all the vendors.

Enjoy! 
– Jeff Nickerson, Roundup Curator at Sparked 

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From the companies and pontificators:

The Science Behind Customer Churn
This article from Luc Burgelman CEO of NGDATA covers the basic principles of using data to predict potential Customer Churn. He explains that to gain a competitive advantage today companies need to embrace customer intelligence management and make use of real-time big data and machine learning. Love it.

The Ultimate Guide to Calculating Customer Lifetime Value
Do you know how valuable your customers are to your business? Social Media Strategist, Warren Knight gives a great breakdown on how and why CLV is so important to calculate accurately. Read it.

Land, Expand, Retain
Tomasz Tunguz, VC at Redpoint, shows how SaaS companies and startups can communicate their financials using the metrics that are organic to the business. Doing so may make it easier for everyone from investors to operators understand what’s going on. Love it.

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From the vendors:

How to Become Customer-Centric like Trunk Club, Invision & Atlassian
Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré from Segment.com writes about the virtues of becoming “truly customer-centric.” She shares insights from these 3 companies, including a case of “rampant customer success.” Love it.

How Trustpilot Analyzes the Entire Customer Experience
Another good one from Segment.com. It’s a Q&A with Ole Dallerup of Trustpilot. Ole explains that while there are many reporting tools available, if you can’t merge that data with your behavioral data, you may not be able to gain the valuable customer insights that you’re seeking. Totally. Love it.

How to Calculate and Improve Customer Retention Rate
From The SalesForce service hub, this is a nice roundup of retention related data and benchmarks, including an infographic to tack up on your wall to remind you of the formula (er, one of the formulas) to calculate retention rate. Read it.

Top Executives Weigh In On Lessons Learned In Customer Success From the Totango blog we found this recap of the Customer Success Summit 2016 where top execs discuss the valuable lessons they’ve learned through the evolution of customer success at their companies. Good stuff. Watch it.

3 Things Customer Success Management is NOT Another from Totango – Kevin Garcia, Marketing Manager defines Customer Success as a function of what it is not. More good stuff. Read it.

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From us at Sparked:


When daily activity is not a good thing
There are a few cases when high levels of customer activity do not correlate with retention. Watch our latest 2-minute short where Sparked CEO talks about these edge cases. LOVE IT

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Sparked is the least expensive and quickest-to-setup solution for Customer Success teams. Sets up in 30 mins. We’d love to meet you. www.sparked.com

 

Cheerio,
Jeff