Webinar Q&A Recap: The Post-Sale Ecosystem

August 31, 2022

Kate McBee

Category: Customer Experience, Customer Onboarding, Customer Retention, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Maturity, Customer Success Strategy, Partner Success

Speakers: Chris Singh, Chief Customer Officer, Blackbaud


CCO of Blackbaud, Chris Singh, joined our VP of Customer Success, Peter Armaly for this month’s webinar, to discuss how to embrace the concept of the post-sale environment as an entire ecosystem. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, Chris answered some engaging questions from the audience that I have recapped below.


Q&A Recap

Q:  What are the top metrics to measure the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) on?  

Peter Armaly (PA): Let’s think about this question in the framework of what you just talked about – the CCO playing a larger role, making sure the rest of the C-suite understands the benefits to the company, but also to the customers, and all the internal stakeholders, of behaving in a certain way. So, with that in mind, what do you think the top metrics are to measure a CCO? 

Chris Singh (CS): Obviously, customers are at the center of what you do, and putting really key customer metrics in place is important. At Blackbaud, an example is we sell outcomes right at the point of sale. We say, “look, these are the outcomes you’re trying to have, and here are the outcomes that you’re buying.” And then we relentlessly pursue those outcomes with assets that we’re building around [them], an outcome realization.  

We have to make sure that those outcomes are captured and we can quantify it, because people speak about outcomes, and it’s frustrating in a way, because in most cases it’s not observable. You can’t measure it. You can’t quantify it, yet we call it an outcome. So, it’s very subjective, whether you hit it or not. In our case we are looking at quantifying value to customers by value scoring where we can look at those outcomes now and see – check mark, outcome achieved.  

I know NPS scores get a bad rap in many cases (and customer effort scores), but it is important that [when] you’re providing products, services, data, data insight, and expertise to customers, to empower them to really achieve their missions. Now, we want to make sure that we are measuring all those things, and we can replay it back as a value to say, “outcome achieved.” And, we have driven certain kinds of financial metrics for you as a customer in terms of what we have been able to realize.  

So that’s [outcomes] on the customer side, and the experiential side is really important too. I just spoke about two personas we chase after; one is the persona that buys and does the procurement, to know what they are thinking, and then the persona that really doubles down on the usage of the software and solutions. In that case we have both sides covered, and we are very, very circumspect about which persona we survey in these experiential surveys in the decision matrix. So now we can say NPS really targets the persona of the buyer, and the Customer Effort Score goes distinctly after the persona of the users. In there we get the experiential metric. So, you have this outcome metric, you’ve got this experiential metric, and then as a CCO, you have to also think of [your company] and what the returns are. I 

If you look at Gross Revenue Retention (GRR) and Net Revenue Retention (NRR) as an example, those are metrics that you must use to really substantiate all the teams and what they are doing. And then, I have this formula where Customer Success is equal to customer experience plus customer outcome plus employee experience.  

I think so much of it is about the cloud, and it’s about mindset, and it’s about culture. And if you don’t have your employees having the right mindset and culture, there is no way we can orchestrate for the customer. So, some of the metrics we use are the employee engagement survey, and leadership score. What they were telling us about leadership – we asked explicitly about leadership – and based on those scores, we really take a look at whether we are hitting our mark on KPIs.  


Q: Do you use surveys to measure success and value? 

CS: We use surveys transactionally also. So immediately after an implementation we will do a transactional survey, or even] during implementation, where we would say, halfway in, is the implementation on time, on track, quality? And if the answer back is no, we can immediately react to it. So, we do these at moments that matter. But we don’t survey fatigue our customers. We choose very key moments to do that. For example, right after an onboarding, did the onboarding provide the value you were seeking? So, we have the personas, NPS tackling the buyer, Customer Effort Score tackling the user, and transactionally going after those moments that matter. But the scoring is entirely based on quantifiable value.  


Q: At what cadence do you measure these metrics like Customer Effort Score and NPS?  

CS: Again, we have to be very conscientious of survey fatigue. So, twice a year we would send out the surveys to really get what is coming back. What does twice a year do for us? Because we have a model to listen, learn, and act. The first survey is sent. We get the response. All surveys that are negative are responded to. Period. And then there is an action that is built around what we are going to do to remediate that. And everybody is held accountable to that remediation. In the second survey, we draw parallel to the first, and what was said and what were the actions in between. So, if we didn’t see a change, that’s where the accountability model comes in on leadership.


Watch the recording of this webinar to catch up on the full conversation!