Having joint KPIs between customer success (CS) and product teams is crucial as it aligns both teams towards a common goal of driving customer adoption. This helps encourage cross-functional collaboration and communication, providing a clear understanding of the impact of product and customer success efforts. Joint KPIs track and measure the effectiveness of both teams' strategies and initiatives and provide insight into areas where both teams can work together to drive further adoption.
Aligning CS and product teams through joint KPIs ensures the following:
A customer-focused culture and strategy leads to better decision-making, problem-solving, and, ultimately, customer satisfaction
Preflight Community discusses why joint KPIs for adoption are important and some measures that both the customer success and the product teams take to ensure they are aligned on these KPIs.
My startup experience is that we get bought 2-3 years in, or shut down, so we don't get far on those shared goals. The problem is that often times the product is underway by the time someone arrives, and CS is something they expect our department to handle. This is why Intercom, Userflow, and many more products exist.
Our teams are aligned in driving the adoption of core features tied to our customer health score (which has the acronym MIDAS). This stands for Maps, Insights, Desks, Active Users, and Spaces — since we are a workplace experience platform. The way our teams approach hitting these KPIs is obviously different, but we’re aligned on the same outcomes in terms of driving adoption.
I've had joint OKRs/KPIs with Product at every company I've worked at! It makes me sad to hear that some teams cannot get this to work effectively because of all the outcomes it opens doors to otherwise. I think the failure to launch these programs often comes from a lack of leadership at the C-Suite that sees Product and CS as a cyclical set of teams:
It's really great to develop these around new feature work or unhealthy product areas. No R&D team wants to see something they built flop or die a slow death. Right now, at Pave, we're hyper-focused on using our compensation band management product.
Product and CS co-own a KPI that encourages customers to upload compensation information to our platform and then share it with the managers and recruiters at their company. Our target is that 80% of customers share a band with someone else at their company by the end of Q1!
My opinion on this is that not only should the CS and Product team share joint KPIs, but the entire organization should have their OKRs and KPIs around retention. Until that happens, people will take the not in my backyard, or not my job approach to things. Anything from bugs to product requests to marketing, anything! Where I have seen the most success in getting higher retention is when the whole company has joint OKR/KPIs around retention.
In a recent episode of Implementation Stories Jennifer Chiang, Head of Customer Success at Seso, and author of The Startup’s Guide to Customer Success, shares with us what it takes for CS and product teams to work together successfully.
She emphasizes that a tight and empathetic partnership would mean understanding that both CS and Product are the same team, which can lead to increased transparency, improved shared context, lesser firefighting, and internal friction. Ultimately, this improves the operational efficiency of both teams.
In the session, Jennifer discussed the Five principles to help cultivate a strong CS-Product relationship. If you’d like to know more about how leaders like Jennifer Chiang foster better relationships between their product and the CS team, you can access it in text here, and if you prefer watching the recorded session, click here.
What initiatives have you started at your company to ensure positive CS and product team interactions? As a manager, how do you ensure that your customer-facing teams are constantly motivated to maintain these relationships?
If you have ideas, suggestions, and questions you want to share with the larger customer onboarding, implementation, and CS community, we’d love to have you join Preflight Community and share it with our members!