We recently revealed a new customer sentiment measure we use with our client customer research projects. We’re getting some great insights that we don’t get from other customer sentiment questions such as NPS or CSAT.
With our growing excitement we’ve set-up a working group to expand the use of this measure and analyse the findings. The working group has a great mix of disciplines and experience, including a MD/VP, CMO, a highly experienced data scientist, and a disruptive thinker.
As a collective, we are reflecting on using the Must-Have Score(™) to inform churn, upsell or product development opportunities. This is a work in progress, and we are sharing the output of our Chatham House discussions in the post below. But first, here is the question we’re using:
If you’re interested in using this new measure – whilst sharing and learning from the results with other progressive subscription businesses – please get in touch with email@example.com
It is tough to know if you are delivering value or ROI. That’s because it’s difficult to measure the impact of products on your customers’ ability to get their jobs done – and, by implication, their propensity to renew, accept price increases, expand licenses, or buy extension products.
Current sentiment measures don’t get to the heart of understanding the drivers and the rationale behind your customers’ perception of a product, and the context or purpose they are using it for. This makes it tough to ensure product development effort results in improved value delivery to customers.
We need to know who is using the product and why, so that we can unlock the utility or use cases to feed into product development roadmaps, improve renewals, and drive up average order values.”
Usage data is a binary indicator of value delivery (repeat usage indicates some degree of utility, and no usage is zero value) but it reveals nothing about the importance of that usage to the success of the customers’ own business.
Other customer sentiment measurements (NPS, CSAT, CES) indicate whether customers’ expectations are being met or exceeded. But, these measures are silent on whether the product supports a critical function for the customer, or if they are an expendable luxury.
Measuring is rarely leading to useful action. While marketing, product, customer success, sales all have a stake in customer metrics, often times, there is no clear ownership of measuring customer sentiment, connecting it back to personas and value propositions, closing the loop to make improvements or interventions.
Usage tells us nothing, it lacks context and is a result of a transactional and features based sell. We need to know the job our customer is doing, then and only then can we create a must have product.”
The personas are well understood but we need to work on prioritising them, to make ourselves invaluable to them.”
Must Have Score – potential approach:
OK, so this is a work in progress, but simply asking the Must Have Score question to your customers is a great place to start and it needn’t take long to look at the results. Not sure if you should be asking it? Well, it’s the same question your customers will ask themselves when it comes time to make their decision on your service – there’s no avoiding it.
The group is talking about the merits of getting context about the jobs to be done, and therefore knowing how your product fits into your customers’ world. This could be achieved with a combination of qualitative interviews (persona, context, use case, role of the product in satisfying the use case, current suitability, unmet needs) as well as a rolling programme of quantitative measurement across the customer base (embedded within existing customer management processes, where they exist).
We feel that it is important to obtain perspectives from both ‘end customers’ and ‘buyers’ – in particular to validate that buyers view the use case and context as important to the overall business. End customers may think their job to be done is more important than the buyers do, which could result in a different MHS score for the product (even if the product is completely optimised for its end customers).
Where there are instances of buyers and end customers being aligned on the importance of the job being done, then it makes sense to focus the ongoing measurement on the end customers, who actively experience the product, on the basis that buyers will look to them to evaluate the utility of the product.
Making the MHS useful, to drive customer-specific interventions (e.g. to triage a low or reducing score, or seek commercial opportunities where scores are high) the data must be linked to contacts within the CRM.
Goal for Must Have Score
To develop the product: “We’ve got a MHS of 8, how do we get to 9?”
To protect and improve the renewal rate: “We have / We do not have a problem”
I want to develop the product, improve the renewal rate, and increase the average order value”
The group identified 2 potential use cases for MHS
Product-level evaluation i.e. how is the product perceived, overall, by its users/a particular persona
Individual customer/subscription health-checking i.e. trigger interventions that are not related to changing the product itself
To begin with, we have asked the working group to incorporate MHS question in surveys they are sending out, and/or choosing a sample group to send to e.g. customers at a particular point in their renewal cycle. If you would like to take part, then please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org