Why Product Usage Monitoring Is Pointless
If I would drew up a list with the most common customer success practices monitoring customer product activities would definitely make it. Because that’s what you are supposed to do. But like with all those unwritten laws they represent what the mainstream is doing, not the best practice.
However, monitoring how your customers are using your product is not bad by design but how most SaaS companies actually use it. The only reliable information you get is when customers have been inactive for weeks. Although it might already be too late and they’ve churned.
Everything else is guesswork because you have no context.
The context matters
So you see a group of customers use a specific feature significantly more often than others. What does it tell you? Is it a key feature and value driver? Or are your customers struggling with it? That’s like night and day, isn’t it?
But of course, in your welcome E-Mail you’ve told your customers that they can reach out to you if there is any problem. So if they are struggling you would certainly know. But do they really reach out to you? All of those who struggle?
There’s also the opposite. Customers seem to be stuck with a feature because they’ve failed to adopt the next feature. Which they should have according to your product adoption plan.
So you “proactively” reach out to them and ask if there is a problem. But the customers tell you that the reason for is that they don’t need this feature yet because they are solving a different, more pressing problem.
I know, this is a very convenient thing to do. Because you can automate everything from collecting data to sending generic E-Mails. But it’s definitely not the way to deliver a high end customer experience. Customer success is about quality, not scalability.
One of the worst things in customer success is that it relies on practices and metrics defined by the vendor, not by the customer. Your customers don’t care about your feature adoption plans, timelines, health scores etc.
What you actually need to monitor is your customers’ progress. And the obviously most important ingredients are knowing where your customers start and where they want to go.
A new and better approach
This is why customer relationships are important. They will give you access to the context. Your customers will hardly open up about their goals and current issues via E-mail.
Here’s a new and better approach for monitoring your customers journeys:
- Start every new customer relationship with a kick-off meeting where you identify their goals and learn about their processes, performance issues etc.
- Map out a customized success path from onboarding and first value to the promised land with performance milestones (e.g. saved costs), not feature adoption.
- Schedule regular follow-ups to discuss progress and potential obstacles.
Take out the guesswork and replace it with real, quantitative and qualitative data.