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In the subscription economy, maintaining great customer relationships is the top priority for a brand. You need good metrics to know that you’re on the right track, preventing churn and providing the best experience possible for your customers.
Here’s the problem: the most common customer experience metrics are great key performance indicators (KPIs), but they’re often too broad to provide actionable day-to-day insights. Net Promoter Score (NPS), for example, is great for knowing how your customers feel about you overall, but may miss key details; for example, asking someone how likely they are to recommend a product to their peers isn’t as helpful as you might think if they love the product but know their peers have no need for it.
There is, however, a simple solution to this problem: a unique feature built into every Khoros community, which we call Success Rate. Here we’ll cover the basics of Success Rate, starting with what it is and moving into the various ways in which it can help you improve your customer experience and maintain excellent customer relationships.
What is Success Rate?
It’s a pretty simple concept: Success Rate starts with data from community members, gathered through simple questions. Community managers can get started by setting up a randomized survey for community members (or even visitors), asking just a few simple multiple choice questions:
The answer to the third question helps define the Call Deflection Rate — a key indicator of how a community impacts support costs. The second question depends on what you want from your community, and can be customized based on your priorities. Many communities focus on support, but more and more are branching out to include co-innovation with customers, loyalty and advocacy programs, and much more. In fact, we highly recommend using communities for more than just support, as they have can have far greater impact.
What’s important here, however, is the first question, which determines Success Rate. Success Rate measures the rate at which people who come to the community — either as members or visitors — succeed in achieving their purpose for coming. That's it. And while this measurement isn’t granular or detailed the way that many other KPIs are - it is a powerful indicator of whether your community is doing its primary job of providing a good customer experience. When combined with other information about what people were looking for, their names and roles, and their interests Success Rate can answer the most important question ever key leader in your company has about your community: "is it worth it?"
Brands don’t build loyalty and relationships overnight. These coveted achievements are the sum of many small interactions and experiences that satisfy customers — from finding the right information on the website, to connecting with other experts, to getting quality support when they need it.
The bottom line is that when customers succeed in finding what they want, they have better experiences. Better experiences typically lead to happiness, and happiness leads to retention and growth. Of course, there are many other factors that can influence happiness and customer relationships, so it would be a mistake to take Success Rate as the only metric that matters. But your community is not a place where people go simply to hang out — it’s a place where they go to get stuff done. If they’re generally succeeding in doing that, then your community is probably doing its job, reducing churn, inspiring loyalty, and spreading knowledge along the way.
Importantly, it’s not just customer relationships that can benefit from improved Success Rate; it’s also any of the other functions that Khoros Communities serve. For example, the SAS community uses Success Rate to measure call deflection. As Chris Hemedinger, Head of Online Communities at SAS, says:
In the past 12 months we received over 10,000 completed surveys. Of the visitors who say they were looking for info (nearly 90%), 74% say they found what they needed. And of those, 21% say they would have opened a support case as a next step. Using the Value Analytics formula, we could calculate that 14% of our visits (1 in 7) represents a deflected support case. Multiply by millions of visits...and the cost of a support case...well, it's a big number for savings.
Now that we’ve covered why Success Rate is so important, let’s go over the steps you can take to start measuring it in your online brand community.
If you’re a Khoros Communities customer, your platform includes the Value Analytics feature. You can either use the default questions listed above or change them to fit your particular needs. Any survey you produce with this feature, even if you customize it, will also match your branding in the community.
Many community managers also use third party tools, such as Qualtrics, so they can customize further and pool the data into one common "voice of customer" database for their entire brand.
Of course, the data all belongs to you, so you can use it in any way that you think will help. Khoros Communities will help you create reports to help you analyze trends and gain insights. We can also create benchmarks for company size, industry, and other custom criteria if you want. If you’re a community manager, this will help you know if you're running an A+ community like SAS, or if you need to focus on a few key customers or visit segments to take your community to the next level. You can find more details by joining the conversation in our own community, Atlas.
Successful customer interactions can be defined in many different ways, and of course success depends on what the customer wants. Indeed, success isn’t always a good thing; if someone comes to your community with the goal of confirming that they prefer your competitor, success is decidedly bad. That’s why it’s always important to pay attention to what the customer’s goal is, and, when appropriate, to support them in reaching it.
If they are doing research on a vendor, then they could define success as just uncovering a bunch of happy (or not) customers. If they are looking to resolve an issue with a product, then resolution equals success. If they just want to share ideas or connect with peers, that is a bit harder to define.
There’s an important point to remember here, though: you usually don’t have to define success, because your customer will almost always do it for you.
Let’s close this article with the same point we used at the beginning: even the most detailed, granular metric isn’t helpful if it doesn’t provide an actionable insight.
So how does Success Rate help you improve your community? There are many ways, but the best place to start figuring it out is Atlas. There you’ll find helpful insights from your peers as well as Khoros experts, showing you what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past. This won’t be an exact science, and Success Rate may mean different things for different brands, but on Atlas, you can learn from the experience of your peers in many different industries.