In every industry or business function, getting to grips with the lingo can be a little daunting. This feeling can be particularly prominent when confronted with a million different acronyms, something customer success is definitely guilty of. Because let’s be honest, metrics like ARRR, CSAT and NPS all sound like they’re someone’s WiFi password.
Whether you’re new to customer success, or perhaps trying to break into the field, one way to feel more confident speaking about CS is to widen your vocabulary.
Whether you’re in a meeting and someone drops a phrase you’re not 100% sure about, or see a metric that crops up in a LinkedIn post, the last thing you want is to feel isolated from the context. Getting your head around the jargon is a critical first step towards leveling up. 💪
And what better way to accomplish this than with a thorough list; a comprehensive companion to CS, a detailed dictionary of extensive explanations, CSC’s very own A-Z.
Ready, set, go! 🏁
- Adoption: A shorthand for ‘product adoption’, refers to the customer’s use of your product.
- Annual recurring revenue (ARR): A metric showing the amount of revenue (or money) that comes in each year from its customers. The revenue can be generated from subscriptions, memberships, contracts, and other purchases.
- Business to business (B2B): A strategy used to sell a solution to another business or organization.
- Business to consumer (B2C): A strategy used to sell a solution to an individual consumer for personal use.
- Business to developer (B2D): A strategy used to sell a solution to software developers.
- Business to human (B2H): A personalization strategy used to target the individual behind the screen, focusing on their specific needs and pain points with the aim of building a deeper relationship with the customer.
- Case study: A testimonial outlining your customer’s success with your product, how its features reduced pain points, etc. in an attempt to persuade potential customers to convert.
- Chief Customer Officer: A member of the C-Suite, this role represents customer success and all customer-centric operations, often acting as second-in-command to the CEO.
- Concierge onboarding: Think of a hotel concierge, a member of staff who greets you as soon as you enter the hotel building and whose job is to fulfill any reasonable request by the guest. The same principle can be applied to customer onboarding. Customers who've been segmented as high-touch can have a concierge CSM, who's designed to walk them through each step of the onboarding process and answer any questions they have.
- Customer advisory boards (CABs): A group of hand-picked customers that regularly come together to feedback to an organization and provide guidance over certain strategies and create solutions.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Costs relating to winning a new customer i.e. the total sales and marketing cost required to bring in a new customer.
- Customer benefit: Tied to a customer’s needs, and what they’re going to get out of your solution/product.
- Customer churn: Refers to the total number of customers or subscribers lost during a period of time. Churn rate refers to the percentage of churned customers – a figure all CS professionals want to keep to a minimum.
- Customer effort score: This is a score, a bit like customer satisfaction, that measures how easy it is for a customer to use your service or product.
- Customer journey: All stages of the consumer process, from pre-purchase and consumption to post-purchase.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV): A metric that shows the total revenue an organization can expect from a single customer throughout their entire relationship.
- Customer onboarding: The process where companies work to improve their customer’s experience and success with their product or service. This is typically done in the first stages of post-acquisition and lies in the domain of customer success.
- Customer research: The process of identifying, analyzing, and understanding a customer’s needs, pain points, behavior, etc as they relate to the business.
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): A metric used to measure how satisfied a customer is with a particular interaction or overall experience with your product or company.
- Customer Success Manager (CSM): A CSM is a customer-facing role in the post-sales process that helps customers realize product value and promotes loyalty by fostering positive relationships through feedback and onboarding.
- Cross-sell: The practice of selling an additional product to an existing customer.
- C-suite: A title referring to senior executives within an organization, e.g. CEO, CFO, CMO, and so on.
- Down-selling: A strategy to get a customer to decrease their expenditure with your company but continue their contract with you. It’s a great way to keep your customers onboard.
- Easy exit ability: This is one for user experience (UX). If the customer has to jump through hoops to leave the product, it makes for a negative and cumbersome experience of onboarding. Something to consider when researching customer onboarding platforms.
- EMEA: This is a business acronym used to describe the geographic area of Europe, the Middle East & Africa.
- Engagement: A metric measuring the number of customer interactions with your organization or product. Whether this interaction is via a Quarterly Business Review set up by customer success, perhaps via an email sent by marketing or part of the sales team’s upselling strategy, engagement can also refer to whether or not your customer responds or participates in these interactions.
- Feedback loop: The process of getting feedback from customers and responding to that feedback.
- Freemium: A basic package offered by companies at no cost to the user, which has a limited amount of features. This essentially upsells to a more advanced package that they’d have to pay for.
- Free trials: A period of time where a product or service is offered to customers for free so they can try using it before purchasing.
- High touch: Ordinarily, for a high-touch engagement model, you provide a close relationship to your high-value customers on a 1:1 basis. This helps them implement your product and solve any pain points they might have.
- Implementation: This is the process where CS professionals target their customers in a bid to increase their use of the product.
- In-app messaging: Extremely targeted notifications that are sent to users while they’re using an app.
- Jobs-to-be-done: An approach that aims to get to the root of what people purchase your product for and every purchase a person makes has a job-to-be-done behind it.
- KPIs: This stands for Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are a metric used to measure performance over time for a specific objective.
- Low touch: In contrast to high-touch relationships, low-touch engagement models rely more on technology to solve any issues the customer may have. Instead of a personal Customer Success Manager attached to their account, low-touch, high-tech customers are given digital resources such as FAQs, video tutorials, and guided flow charts to help answer their questions.
- Login-less software: More and more we're seeing software or tech platforms that don't require constant log-ins to reduce the barrier it takes to get customers to use a product.
- Messaging: A strategy used to highlight a product’s key benefits and successes to potential customers in a bid to convert them to full customers.
- Metrics: A quantifiable way of measuring and tracking performance.
- Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): This metric measures how much money customers spend per month.
- Mutual-led engagement plans: These use the customer’s expectations as the bedrock for all future development. All stakeholders are provided quantifiable, traceable information to anchor the customer journey in
- Natural growth rate (NGR): A metric that reveals the amount of growth a company can see without purposefully trying to grow. It shows companies how attractive their product is without any marketing or sales strategies.
- Net promoter score (NPS): This metric tracks overall engagement and satisfaction by presenting the customer with a short survey and gaining their feedback. Typically, the scale offers numbers between 1 and 10, customers can choose a score that represents their likelihood of recommending your product or service to others.
- OKRs: A.k.a. objectives and key results, communicate goals across organizations. OKRs help individuals and teams align with shared business objectives, identify their priorities, and achieve tangible results.
- Product stickiness: A way to measure how effective your product is by the levels of user engagement.
- Progress bar: This is a feature in onboarding software that shows how far along the customer is in their onboarding. It can be a useful visual indicator of their completion and acts as a motivator to finish certain tasks.
- Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR): These meetings happen once per quarter (every three months) with your customer. It’s the time for CSMs to check in with their customers to discuss their needs, and how they can support them going forward.
- Renewal: When your customer’s contract or subscription is expiring, you’ll want to keep them part of your customer base. Getting them to literally re-new their contract means they continue their payment agreement to retain the perks and access to your product.
- Retention: Keeping your customers aboard ship is vital, and customer retention is a strategy that aims to prevent your customers from ending their business relationship with your company.
- Return on investment (ROI): A common KPI for measuring the effectiveness of customer success by determining how much you're spending on your CS strategy and how much profit you’re making as a result. It’s well worth keeping an eye on your ROI in order to make reliable projections when implementing new strategies.
- SaaS: This stands for Software-as-a-Service, and is the model where software is accessed online and is usually subscription-based.
- Segmentation: The process of splitting up your customer base and grouping them together by their similar characteristics, location, or their user activity.
- Startup: A business in the very beginning stages of development.
- Storytelling: A strategy used to communicate a message to your audience through the combination of fact and narrative.
- Strategy: A plan of action to achieve certain goals or objectives over a certain period of time.
- Support tickets: Ticket systems track the interaction between a customer and the company, specifically the customer support team. These tickets are documents that log any problem or query the customer has, and are subsequently picked up by the support representative(s) to aid the customer.
- Supported product documents: These do what they say on the tin – extra resources explaining the ins and outs of your product can be immensely beneficial to customers who want to take a self-service approach to their product education. Showing where these documents are is crucial during the onboarding process.
- Time-to-value (TTV): This is the period of time it takes for a customer to use your product and realize its value.
- Trial-to-subscription: The process where a cheaper subscription is offered to a potential customer to test the product when their intention leans towards purchasing the full subscription.
- Upsell: The strategy of selling an upgraded, more expensive version of the product and/or service you already have.
- User: This refers to the person actually using your product, not to be confused with the buyer who originally purchased the product.
- User experience (UX): In essence, this means the way a user literally experiences and interacts with your product in relation to its usability. Is it convoluted to use? Is it streamlined? User experience matters tremendously.