Curious to know how your customers interact with your product and whether or not they like it? Step one: Communication.
Talk to those closest to the product about how they use it, what they like and dislike, and what they want to see next—you will garner invaluable insights. While gathering this kind of feedback from customers can give you clarity about how your product is being used, one-off customer stories are subjective and oftentimes incredibly unique.
Due to the lack of objectivity, relying on these customer stories may make it more difficult for you to make certain product decisions. You could end up playing the guessing game and misallocate important resources. To avoid this, you can turn to product usage data.
Product usage data is objective: Instead of relying on what your customers say they do, you can just see what they actually do. Product usage data is data generated through in-product user actions that tell you more about how and when users are interacting with your product. What makes this data so important is the actionable 360 user experience-insights it provides nearly every team in an organization, from product to marketing, sales, customer success, and more.
When measuring product usage, keep your customer’s experience (with your product) and needs top-of-mind. Some of the product usage metrics to keep an eye on to understand your customers as their needs and goals evolve include: usage frequency, average time in application, active users, feature usage, and license utilization. Depending on the numbers, you’ll be able to see whether your customer and their team are up-to-speed, deriving value, and ready for expansion, or if they need more support, training, and engagement to fully benefit from your product. These metrics will help you create KPIs you can implement at every stage of the customer journey to make sure you’re always aligned on your customer’s goals, improving their satisfaction levels, and maximizing the customer lifetime value.
Analyzing product usage data can lead you to several revenue generating opportunities. It is a good idea to make the data available to teams that might gain value from it.
Here are some of the benefits of leveraging product usage data for each team:
- Product. The product team can use product usage data to track product performance, fix bugs, improve the physical product, and determine a product roadmap based on usage data and what is expected from customers. “Product usage statistics are of great importance to the product team to analyze and archive legacy features that no longer serve a purpose. This helps make room for new features without overburdening the platform in general,” said Systematic member Josh Alhat, Operations Manager, Sales at QuestionPro. Usage data also enables you to find areas in your product that have usability issues, which can affect adoption and customer retention.
- Marketing. When it comes to gathering customer stories there is never a one-size-fits-all answer that a marketing team could rely on to understand their target market better. There is another source, however, that will not only tell, but show you the truth on how customers actually feel about and interact with your product: product usage data. Many marketers are unaware of the kind of data that is being kept by their own company on product usage, and oftentimes they do not have access to it. By analyzing usage data, marketers can see who their ideal users are, which features certain users find to be the most useful, and more. This information can provide an endless supply of potential case studies, testimonials, references, material for presentations, and strategic insights to guide your next GTM decisions, like narrowing down your target market and sending out messages that actually resonate with your customers.
- Sales. The sales team can use product usage data to find the right timing and opportunity to upsell/cross-sell and increase conversion rate. Most trials convert because the prospect achieves fast time-to-value—within minutes or hours of provisioning their account, it is clear how they will benefit from the product. In this case, usage data can give insights on whether the provisioned users are actively using the product or not. You can also discover the features that are most correlated to conversion. The next step is to then engage and nurture provisioned prospects to experience the best features for conversion. Usage data can also help sales present upsell/cross-sell opportunities at the earliest moment of need, instead of waiting for the renewal date. Selling at the right moment is the best way to maximize this revenue stream.
- Customer Success/Support. “Product usage checks are treated as health indicators. It is one of the key operations for all CSMs in ensuring we have a healthy and successful client lifecycle in place,” said Alhat. The CS/support team can use product usage data to improve customer experience and retention, build engagement, and reduce churn. Just as increasing adoption is a positive signal, decreasing adoption is a negative signal. One could even argue that if usage is not growing for a customer, trouble lies ahead. Whatever is causing customer dissatisfaction needs immediate attention. Customer feedback provides excellent insight, but sometimes they don’t tell you how they truly feel about your product. Unlike customers, usage data actually shows you the interactions between your customer and product. This provides more accurate and useful insights. Once you know how they use the product, you can and should make improvements where you see fit. This is imperative because in a world full of options, unhappy customers can and do churn.
Are you and your team already leveraging product usage data? Learn more about how other RevOps professionals are taking advantage of this valuable data by joining the Systematic community!