What is customer success? How does it impact your customers? And what is its role in a company’s operations?

The answer to these questions depends on whom you ask. The answer also depends on the type of company you’re asking about and what they’re trying to accomplish.

But there’s one thing we do know: customer success is crucial to any business that wants to survive in the 21st century. And it’s not just crucial—it’s necessary for companies that want to thrive, grow, and succeed.

Customer success is a big deal, you’re probably using some combination of intuition, instinct, and guesswork to figure out what your customers need. That’s not a bad place to start—but there’s a better way. You can use data to define customer success and create a measurable definition that will help you improve your strategy and attract new customers.

Here are three steps to getting started with data-driven customer success:

1. Define your key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are the metrics that tell you what’s important when it comes to measuring customer success. Don’t just assume that this means revenue or retention, there are plenty of other metrics that can be measured and analyzed to help you determine whether or not your customers are succeeding with your product or service.

2. Collect data about them

Once you’ve defined what success looks like for your company, it’s time to start collecting data about it. You can do this by setting up surveys or running A/B tests on certain aspects of your business—or even just by asking your customers directly.

3. Formulate your strategy

It’s important to have a strategy for the way you’re going to use the data. You can’t just keep a spreadsheet of customer information and expect it to magically lead to better customer service. The first step is figuring out what your goals are—you might want to develop a more personal relationship with customers, or maybe you want to focus on increasing sales. Identify the key actions that will drive your desired outcomes. Prioritize those actions based on their potential impact on your business. Establish a timeline for when each action will be implemented and by whom.

A checklist for measuring data-driven customer success

If your company has been struggling to define what customer success means for your business, here is a checklist for measuring data-driven customer success:

  • Identify all the ways that customers use your product or service.
  • Identify upsell opportunities based on customer behavior and engagement.
  • Identify churn risks based on customer behavior and engagement.
  • Measure customer satisfaction with product features to make improvements.
  • Set up a system that tracks all these metrics in real-time so you can easily see how well your efforts are paying off—and make adjustments as necessary.

Don’t forget that the entire point of defining your customer success strategy with data is to make your life easier. Instead of relying on guesswork or hoping for the best, you’ll be armed with a powerful tool that helps you meet your goals and anticipate your customers’ needs. Don’t waste any more time using gut instinct or hoping for the best—define your strategy with data, and get started on a better way.