The Engagement Metrics that Matter for Subscription Businesses

July 29, 2019

Subscription businesses rely on deep levels of customer engagement for growth and success—if your customer is actively using and benefiting from your product, they’re more likely to maintain their subscription. The right customer engagement metrics will give you invaluable insights into customer churn and retention and uncover ways you can improve your products and services to create more offerings for retaining existing and attracting future users.

Different Types of Customer Engagement Metrics

Not all of your customer engagement metrics will come from the same place. Here are some areas where you can get useful insights into customer engagement:

  • Metrics within the product or service itself: Especially useful for SaaS and similar products, this shows how your customer is interacting with your offerings.
  • Interactions with your sales team: Sourced from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM), email, calendar and other software, this shows behavior from interest to conversion, purchase, and beyond.
  • Website and marketing analytics: Understand how potential customers interact with your website and marketing materials.
  • Customer service: Learn about customer issues and problems after purchase.

A combination of these four areas will give you some extremely useful insights that you can translate into business benefits.

The Benefits of Customer Engagement Metrics

Here’s why getting your customer metrics right can enhance your subscription business.

Understand Exactly How Customers Use Your Products

Every customer will use your product slightly differently, depending on their requirements. When you build engagement metrics into the product itself, you can learn about the features and functionalities that your customers like and dislike.

Enhance Best Practices for Sales

Your CRM data will help your sales team focus on the engagements that matter. You can learn which approaches resulted in conversions, split test different sales methods, and maximize your likelihood of potential customers turning into paying clients.

Link Customer Churn with Poor Engagement

It’s inevitable that some customers will unsubscribe and churn. When this happens, you can analyze metrics to determine potential churn predictors. Whether it’s how they used the tool, bad customer service experiences, or something else—you can examine root causes and effects of lapsed subscriptions to decrease (and even prevent) future occurrences. 

Develop and Enhance Your Subscription Product

Customer engagement metrics are vital for continually improving your product. When you know what’s working, you can build out new features and gauge user reactions. If metrics show low engagement in certain areas, you can tweak that functionality to see if it will result in improved engagement. This type of continual refinement helps keep your product fresh and relevant.

The Customer Engagement Metrics You Should be Measuring

Every subscription business is different, so the specific engagement metrics you use may vary. The suggestions we’ve provided below will be good starting points, and as you dig deeper into the analysis, you can enhance your measurements to improve retention rates.

Platform, Product, and Service Customer Engagement Metrics

These metrics tell you how customers are using your product. For each of these areas, you should measure usage over specific periods and track historic trends. Analyze your outliers to find the customers who use your product most and least, and see if they tie back to other metrics around churn, lifetime value, and similar areas.

Here are a few points to consider:

  • How frequently users log in or access the product.
  • How often users return to your product.
  • Total amount of time spent using the product. 
  • Types of activities completed in the product.
  • How long it takes the average customer to complete specific activities.
  • Total amount of time spent in specific modules or areas of the product.
  • Integrations that the user has enabled between your product and other services.
  • Any customization that the user has made to the product.
  • Correlating long-term customers with the features they use

Customer Relationship and Sales Engagement Metrics

To learn the approaches that best connect with your customers and increase your revenue, use these metrics to identify best practices for your sales team:

  • How often free trial and demonstration offers convert to paying customers.
  • The specific price plans and payment periods (monthly vs. annual) that customers choose.
  • The best approaches for contacting customers, including phone, email, messaging, and other channels.
  • Conversion rates based on activities within the sales funnel and sales pipeline.
  • Split-testing of different approaches for engaging with customers, and their results. 
  • Upselling and cross-selling successes and failures.
  • Number and type of customers not renewing their subscriptions.
  • Lost revenue due to customer churn.

Website Analytics and Marketing Customer Engagement Metrics

Customer engagement starts as soon as a potential client visits your website. Insight into your online presence and marketing efforts help move customers through the sales funnel. 

Here are some things to look out for:

  • How customers are finding and using your website, in terms of marketing channels, stickiness, favorite pages, and bounce rates.
  • Popular pieces of content like blog articles, interactive guides, FAQs and support, etc.
  • Performance of your lead generation content like white papers and eBooks.
  • Conversion rates from direct and indirect marketing efforts like email campaigns and social media marketing.

Customer Service and Support Metrics

These are some of your most important measurements, as they show “moments of truth” when things go wrong with your product or service. Manage these well, and you’ll get loyal customers and advocacy. Manage them badly, and you’ll send them into the arms of a competitor.

  • Customer satisfaction scores on how their query or incident was handled.
  • The number of incidents caused by the product, and how they were resolved.
  • Customers with high numbers of incidents or low satisfaction scores.
  • How customers were communicated with.

Derived Headline Customer Engagement Metrics

You can combine and analyze these metrics for greater insight into the financial health of your subscription business. These headline metrics will likely include:

  • Overall conversion rates for new customers.
  • The likelihood of customers renewing or churning, based on specific criteria.
  • Lapse and churn rates for existing customers.
  • The cost of churn, per customer and overall.
  • The lifetime value (LTV) of customers.

Get your customer metrics right, and you’ll gain valuable insights and business intelligence into how and why customers are using your subscription services. You can use that analysis to drive product improvements, lower your churn rate, drive best practice in your sales process, and help your subscription business to grow.

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