Beware of Bad Metrics: Your Key to Customer Success

We’ve all had some horrible marketing or sales experiences we can reflect back on…the ones where we got annoyed by constantly gated information, the harassing sales calls, pulling our hair out when no one was there to help us with support, too much help when you didn’t need it, being passed along the line of contacts, haggling over the price, and so many more aggravating scenarios.

But even though we know how this feels, we keep repeating these same behaviors. Why don’t we change this pattern of bad experiences? And how are they really impacting our business?


If we are all striving for customer success, we need to reassess the success metrics we are measuring. Our typical short-term metrics used in most businesses include:

  • Pipeline
  • Margins
  • Number of leads
  • Number of opportunities

Though these metrics are common, they may be promoting the wrong behaviors described above and creating bad customer experiences. We should also be looking closely at customer satisfaction metrics such as:

  • Engagement
  • Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT)


Beware of the metrics that could create detractors. Those unhappy customers can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth. Your brand is not just a factor for Marketing, but everyone in the company influences brand and the customer’s experience. Factors that can negatively affect your customers and thus your brand include:

  • Having to fill out many fields and personal information to get to useful information
  • Not being able to get help when you need it
  • Contacts handing you off from one person to the next to the next
  • Getting excited to buy but then spend months haggling prices
  • Being harassed by pushy sales people
  • Encountering even more gated information
  • Having to talk to a sales person, again
  • Or not being able to reach a live person when you need to
  • Being wined and dined for a contract then no support for success

The short-term metrics we’ve been using like pipeline, numbers of leads and opportunities, and margins, seem to be creating the bad organizational success behaviors, which in turn create negative customer experiences. These are not the customers that are going to close a deal with you, create renewals, or especially serve as a positive referral to others. Not only does this hinder your growth, but you can also bring damage to your reputation and branding.


Since the short-term metrics aren’t finding their way into the hearts of our prospects and customers, we need to formulate positive, long-term metrics…metrics that move, drive, and motivate the marketing and sales teams.  By measuring engagement, NPS, and CSAT, we will encourage positive customer success behaviors such as:

  • Viewing demos and papers without filling out a form every time
  • Feeling more support and less sales
  • Having transparent pricing
  • Quickening help response times
  • Sales being open about when their product/service is not a good fit
  • If you want to talk, someone being available
  • No routing rules…response is based on the customer
  • Live chat anywhere for full accessibility
  • Getting more love AFTER the contract is signed than before

All these good experiences come when an entire organization rallies behind good, long-term metrics. When measuring the right metrics, you are setting your customers up for success. The logic goes like this: If they need help, you give them help, then they succeed and are happy, thus eager to refer you.


If we can learn from our experiences, then we can successfully evolve to an elevated way of viewing customer success metrics. The old metric was to encourage anything to close. Then we advanced to making sure the customer renewed. Now we are dealing with savvy, experienced customers who feel deserving of a great experience at every stage of the life cycle. This new guideline for customer success sets the metric at whether or not the customer recommends you to others.

Organizing and incentivizing your marketing, sales, and support teams to stand behind this long-term metric will ensure great experiences every step of the process. Follow the methods outlined above to accomplish the following:

  • Transform your customer experience
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Generate positive word-of-mouth
  • Reduce churn
  • Increase overall growth

Your goal with positive, long-term customer success metrics is to create the Promoters. These loyal enthusiasts will keep buying and referring others, fueling growth faster than any of the short-term metrics on their own. Pulling all teams together, your organization has the potential to be the breath of fresh air to your customers, so much so that they will pass your name to 5, 10, 15, 20 other prospects. You can’t fight the equation:

Good Experiences = Happy Customers = Good Growth