Have you ever looked at your SaaS churn rate and thought, ‘there must be more to the story’? That single metric doesn’t give the full picture of how your customers are really using and benefiting from your product. As an entrepreneur or product owner, you want to know the truth about your customer success, not just a surface-level snapshot.
Beyond churn, there are more insightful ways to measure customer success in SaaS. Things like feature adoption, support ticket trends, NPS scores, and retention by cohort. These help paint a more nuanced picture of how your customers are truly interacting with your product over the long run. In this article, we’ll explore how to dig deeper into the metrics that drive churn and customer success, so you can gain actionable insights to build an even better product experience.
Churn rate is not the whole picture for SaaS customer success
Churn rate is an important metric, but it doesn’t give you the full picture of customer success in SaaS.
Usage and engagement
Beyond just renewing, are your customers actually using your product? Logins, time spent in app, and feature adoption can indicate how much value customers are really getting from your service. If usage is low, your product may not actually be solving their problems or meeting their needs.
- Track logins and time in app. More frequent, longer sessions show higher engagement.
- See which features are being used. If some are rarely touched, they may not be useful or intuitive enough. Make improvements or remove them.
- Send surveys to find out how your product is helping customers and what’s still missing. Then prioritise your roadmap based on that feedback.
Happy, loyal customers are the bedrock of SaaS success. Monitor satisfaction to make sure you’re delivering an amazing experience.
- Send customer satisfaction surveys, especially after major interactions. Ask how likely they are to recommend you, and what you can improve.
- Monitor social media and review sites for mentions of your brand. Engage with reviewers and reach out to anyone posting about bad experiences.
- Keep an eye on support ticket volume and resolution times. Spikes could indicate product issues, while slower responses might frustrate customers.
Expansion and upsells
The more value you provide, the less likely customers are to leave. Look for chances to expand accounts through additional licences, premium features or new modules. But only upsell in a way that benefits the customer.
With the right metrics, you'll gain insight into what really drives customer success. And that will help reduce churn while also fuelling growth. That’s the SaaS dream!
Going beyond renewals: metrics that measure value and outcomes
Churn rates only tell part of the story. To really understand how your customers are succeeding with your SaaS, you need to dig deeper.
Track how often your customers log in and actually use your product. Are they active daily, weekly or just once in a blue moon? High engagement means they're finding real value. Look at metrics like:
- Login frequency: How often are users logging in? Daily is best.
- Feature adoption: Are they using the full range of features? The more features, the stickier your product.
- Session duration: Longer sessions indicate higher engagement. Short sessions may mean they're struggling.
The true measure of success is whether your customers achieve real results. Survey them to determine key outcomes, then build metrics to track progress. For example:
- Cost or time savings: Are they spending less or achieving more efficiency? Quantify it.
- Revenue gains: Has their revenue increased since using your product? By how much?
- Error reduction: Have critical errors or slip-ups decreased? Measure incident rates.
- Customer satisfaction: Regular surveys can show how happy they are and their likelihood to renew.
While churn is crucial, it's not the whole story. Combine multiple metrics to determine how successfully your customers are achieving their goals and whether your SaaS is delivering real value. Their success is your success, so keep optimising to drive the outcomes that matter most to their business.
Customer Satisfaction: Surveys, NPS and Beyond
Customer satisfaction is more than just lowering churn – it’s about building loyalty and advocacy. Surveys, net promoter scores (NPS), and other metrics can help determine how happy your customers really are.
Sending regular surveys is one of the best ways to gauge satisfaction. Ask open-ended questions to uncover how customers really feel about your product and their experience. Some good questions include:
- How likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or colleague?
- What do you like most about our product? What could we improve?
- How would you rate your overall satisfaction with our product and customer service?
Look for trends in the responses and feedback to see where you can make meaningful improvements. Even a small change, like updating help documentation or improving load times, can have a big impact on customer happiness.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Your NPS measures how many customers are promoters (loyal enthusiasts) versus detractors (unhappy customers). Ask customers “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” on a scale of 0 to 10. Those who respond 9 or 10 are promoters, 7 or 8 are passive, and 0 to 6 are detractors. Subtract the percentage of detractors from promoters to get your NPS.
NPS scores show how you stack up against competitors and industry averages. Aim for a score of 10 or above, showing you have more promoters. Work to turn detractors into passives or promoters by addressing their feedback and concerns. Check your NPS at least once a quarter to monitor trends.
While churn rates indicate how well you’re retaining customers, satisfaction metrics provide actionable insights into why customers stay or go. Use a mix of surveys, NPS, reviews, and more to build a complete picture of your customers’ experiences and make their success and happiness a priority.
Usage and engagement: Tracking feature adoption and activity
Once you have a handle on churn, look at how your customers are actually using your product to determine their success and satisfaction. Two of the most useful metrics here are feature adoption and user activity.
See which features your customers are using the most. Are they leveraging the full functionality of your product, or just scratching the surface? Track the percentage of features used for each customer and look for opportunities to educate them on underutilised features. This can increase their success and boost retention.
Survey your customers to find out why certain features aren’t being used. Maybe they’re too complicated, or customers don’t see the value. Make improvements to address these issues.
Feature usage is also a good indicator of a customer’s potential renewal and expansion revenue. Customers using more of your product are more likely to renew and upgrade their subscription. Focus your customer success efforts on these customers to maximise their lifetime value.
Monitor how often your customers log in and how long they stay active in your application. Look for changes over time that could signal risks to the customer relationship. For example, a sudden drop off in activity could mean:
- They’re not finding value in your product. Reach out to understand their concerns and see how you can re-engage them.
- Key users have left the organisation. Make contact with other team members to determine the impact and ensure continuity of service.
- Priorities have shifted. Usage may pick back up again in the future. Check in periodically and look for other ways to stay on their radar in the interim.
Usage and engagement metrics provide actionable insights into your customers’ success with your product. Pay close attention to these KPIs and be proactive in addressing any issues to build a lasting relationship with your customers.
The customer journey: Mapping touchpoints to reduce churn
The customer journey is key to reducing churn. Mapping your customers’ touchpoints – every interaction they have with your company and product – provides insights into their experience and how to improve it.
A customer’s first interactions shape their initial impression. Ensure a smooth onboarding process by:
- Offering a dedicated customer success manager to guide new clients.
- Providing educational resources like webinars, documentation, and video tutorials.
- Surveying customers after 30 and 90 days to catch any issues early.
Usage and engagement
Monitor how customers are using your product to spot potential trouble. Some signs of disengagement include:
- Declining logins or time spent in the app.
- Underutilising key features.
- Lack of support ticket activity.
Reach out to re-engage customers before they churn. Offer additional training or set up a call to address any questions.
Renewal and expansion
The renewal and expansion process presents another opportunity to strengthen the relationship.
- Start communicating 3-6 months before renewal to highlight the value they’ve gained.
- Suggest upgrading to a higher tier or adding more licences to satisfy their evolving needs.
- Provide discounts and incentives to make it easy to continue the partnership.
Keep customers happy after renewal by maintaining open communication and continuing to deliver value. Some best practises include:
- Conducting quarterly business reviews to discuss goals and identify new ways to support them.
- Hosting user groups and community events for networking and education.
- Surveying customers annually to monitor satisfaction and make improvements.
Mapping the customer journey allows you to anticipate challenges and ensure a positive experience at each touchpoint. Combined with nurturing long-term relationships, this approach leads to higher satisfaction, loyalty, and lower churn.
There are a number of metrics beyond churn that provide a more holistic view of customer success in your SaaS business. While churn will always remain an important measure, looking at metrics like product usage, NPS scores and customer satisfaction can provide real insight into how to improve your customer experience and build more loyal, long-term customers. The customers who get real, tangible value from your product are the ones who will become your biggest advocates and help your business grow through word-of-mouth. Focus on the metrics that matter to your customers and success will follow. Keep optimising, keep listening and keep providing value - that’s the real key to building a sustainable SaaS business in today’s competitive market.