Pulse reason codes provide insights into risk factors across your customer base. ClientSuccess includes a default library of 51 Pulse reason codes and covers categories from Features and Functionality to Competitive Threat to Business Viability.
Reason codes cannot be deleted once they are assigned to a customer account, so we recommend that you review the default library of reason codes before using the platform.
You may want to edit and repurpose the default codes at both the category and/or subcategory levels, or even remove those you do not anticipate using. Customizing the list of Pulse reason codes to align to your business terminology and use cases will make them more valuable in your daily use and reporting.
A key consideration when defining Pulse reason codes is the number of categories and sub-categories you use. We recommend balancing enough reason codes to ensure you have detailed, actionable insights and trending on risks, while not having too many Pulse reason codes. If your list becomes too long, the insights can be diluted and the list difficult to manage.
We recommend a range of 40-60 reason codes for Pulse.
ClientSuccess allows you to attach up to 3 reason codes when marking some degree of risk for pulse.
Note: there are also tabs for Downsell and Termination (or Churn) reason codes. The same recommendations apply to configuring those reason codes as well.
What we recommend: When defining reason codes, take an outside-in approach from a customer journey/experience perspective to provide meaningful insights for your organization. Cover different departments (ie Sales, Product, Customer Success, Support, etc.), along with 3-4 relevant risk factors.
Define Pulse Scale
When it comes to ClientSuccess’ six-point satisfaction scale, it’s important to have some general internal guidelines for customer success managers as they determine customer health. Guidelines create organization-wide consistency on the health of its customers. In this case, it helps if customer success teams sit down and determine which metrics they want to have as the standard for health.
What we recommend: Our six-point scale ranges from “Extremely Satisfied” to “Severe Risk”. Below you’ll find an example of what could be taken into consideration as teams create pulse guidelines. There is latitude for each company to determine the detailed definition of each status, but it’s the exercise around customer health consistency that really matters.
1. Under Global Settings > Alerts, you’re able to manage the alerts that new users to your team will receive about the clients they manage or tasks assigned to them. You can specify which alerts you want and the condition that will trigger them.
2. Under Your Settings > Alert Preferences, you’ll be able to edit your personal preferences, as well as enable daily and real-time alerts. For Pulse, the daily alert notifies you, your manager, and executives when a client’s pulse hasn’t changed in xx days. The real-time alert notifies those same individuals when a client’s pulse is set to xx or below.
What we recommend: Depending on how frequently you engage with clients, you’ll likely already have an idea in place for this alert. At ClientSuccess, we have an alert set to remind us when Pulse hasn’t been set in 21 days, and when pulse is set to "Some Risk" or below. This reminds and gives us the opportunity to look at the relationship we’re forming with clients. If a client is “Very Satisfied”, are they still “Very Satisfied” 21 days later? Do I need to step in and continue to advocate for them? Is there additional value I can bring to the relationship? It’s also beneficial for your manager and executives to be notified when a client’s pulse has been marked to “Some Risk” or below. This flag works to prevent surprises later down the road.
An Honest Health Value is Better than a False Health Value
What we recommend: It’s important to establish a customer success culture of honesty, as an honest customer health value helps the customer success manager and team take proper action to improve relationships. Not being honest on both ends of the health spectrum misrepresents the actual health of a client and can lead to fighting fires or churn.
Notes in Pulse-Setting
When setting a pulse value, you can include any relevant notes or updates (either in-line from the client screen or at the client level). This serves as an opportunity to mention some of the criteria your team identified when defining each pulse value.
What we recommend: If you’ve defined your Pulse values, include some of those points in your notes. If you still need to complete this internal configuration step, perhaps now is a good time to establish consistency for you and your team.
Holistic Customer Health Follows a Bell-Shaped Curve
A holistic view of customer health typically follows a bell-shape curve. Most customer health values fall between “High Risk” and “Very Satisfied”, and the majority of your clients will be in this range on the bell-shaped curve.
What we recommend: Only the best clients (executive sponsor, proven ROI, case studies, etc.) should be marked as “Extremely Satisfied”, while only the clients that have reached out to cancel a contract or are very likely to churn should be marked as “Severe Risk".
Pulse is the value that drives a customer’s health or SuccessScore, a number that is updated every night. When a pulse is set, the SuccessScore (1) recalculates based on the degree of change and (2) continues to grow or decay depending on the direction of change and time spent at the updated pulse value.
SuccessScore drives many of the insights ClientSuccess provides about client health, outlined in the other insight steps of this article.
Client Pulse History
Over time, pulses come together to form the client pulse history. This is a place for you to view the notes you included in setting the pulse, as well as a nice visualization of the health journey.
What we recommend: You can work to identify trends, next steps, or other gameplans to improve satisfaction and mitigate risk. For example, communication could be improved by involving an executive sponsor or holding weekly cadence with your key contact.
Client Screen: Pulse-related Segments
Pulse-related segments are often be the most valuable, because you can clearly see certain client profiles. Consider the following scenario: your CEO (or some other executive) comes to you wanting to know clients who have expressed a desire to churn and who will renew in Q1 2017. Where do you begin?
ClientSuccess has a six-point health scale ranging from Severe Risk to Extremely Satisfied. As part of this Pulse Plan, teams set some general internal guidelines for customer success managers as they determine customer health. This creates organization-wide consistency on the health of its customers. One point we recommend is that Severe Risk be used to denote a client whose expressed their desire to churn. With a few quick filters, CSMs can create and save a segmented view for Q1 2017, “Severe Risk” customers.
As mentioned previously, another thing to consider is how often you want to set Pulse. Depending on how frequently you engage with clients, you’ll likely already have an idea in place. I’ve personally created a segment for when Pulse hasn’t been set in more than 30 days. This reminds and gives me the opportunity to look at the relationship we’re forming with clients. If a client is “Very Satisfied”, are they still “Very Satisfied” 30 days later? Do I need to step in and continue to advocate for them? Is there additional value I can bring to the relationship? It’s also beneficial for your manager and executives to be notified when a client’s pulse has been marked to “Some Risk” or below. This flag works to prevent surprises later down the road.
What we recommend: These segments can also be exported via CSV and are useful when collaborating as a customer success team or reporting to executives. For example, a CSM could have a Focus Five each week based on clients who fall under a certain Pulse-related segment.
Client Pulse: Summary
The Client Pulse: Summary report provides a high-level overview of the health of all your company’s clients. It’ll break each pulse value into a percentage, as well as provide a breakdown of which clients fall under each pulse.
What we recommend: As mentioned previously, a holistic view of customer health typically follows a bell-shape curve. This report provides visibility into this high-level information and can be used to report to executive teams.
Client Pulse: Recent Changes
The recent changes report helps you keep track of more immediate progress/results. You can compare the current number of clients in a pulse value versus the last 7 days. In the case of the demo data below, there has been no change in the number of “Some Risk” customers. There is also a breakdown of clients who have recently jumped into the given pulse values.
What we recommend: The recent changes report can be used to track more short-term goals for client health. For example, you might want to increase “Extremely Satisfied” customers by 3 clients over the next 7 days.
Client Pulse: Risk Factors
The risk factor report is where the categories and subcategories you configured for reason codes pulls together the information in ClientSuccess to quickly identify risk factors. In our demo environment, you can see that 59% of clients are at some level of risk due to “Support”. There’s a breakdown of “Support” to provide you with specific information relevant to the category; 30 of our clients are at risks because of “Response Time”.
What we recommend: Based on this report, your team or organization can pivot to mitigate current or future risk (ie incorporate or refine a certain step in your SuccessCycle). For example, you might work to improve support response time (based on the demo data mentioned above).
SuccessCycle: By Pulse
The SuccessCycle: By Pulse shows you both the overall Pulse percentage of all clients in their respective stage and then current number of clients with a certain Pulse by stage.
What we recommend: As with other reports, you can work to identify trends, next steps, or other game plans to improve satisfaction and mitigate risk by stage.
Another report relevant to health gives you insight to how healthy clients are in relation to renewals. Bubbles closer to the top are near renewal, while red bubbles are past renewal. You can access these clients by clicking on their bubble or name from the list. Clients can also be segmented by user.
What we recommend: This report can be used to identify “at risk” clients before their renewal, enabling you to make necessary steps or complete action items to save the relationship and better prepare them for renewal.