Making Sense of Metrics: Reporting KPIs, Context and Actionable Intelligence for Customer Success

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“Client reporting” is a core competency in marketing practices today in which marketers closely track their campaign results on behalf of clients and customers. According to Gartner, 69% of marketing leaders in 2016 expected the majority of their decisions to be driven by data by 2018. While the jury is out as to whether or not we’re there as an industry, high-quality metrics reporting has become a key component of a data-driven approach to customer success, a marketing tactic that will reduce customer churn and improve customer engagement. By following a reporting roadmap focused on identifying the proper KPIs, providing the right level of context and delivering actionable intelligence, you will be on the right path towards long term growth and improving customer lifetime value.

How to Create a Client Report
There are five key elements client reports should include in order to be effective:

    Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You and your client will want to identify broad goals to pursue, such as increased website traffic, phone calls, store traffic, brand awareness, etc. . KPIs, however, get more granular and identify specific data that measure progress towards those goals. For example, a successful SEO campaign might not land a client on the first page of Google search results, but an increase in traffic through “backlinks” developed to increase page views of a particular part of a website is a more telling KPI than Google ranking.
    Get to Know Your Client. Based on the KPIs identified in step one, you will need to determine how clients want to receive information about their progress. For example, a client might be focused on using Instagram to reach customers. That means that you will need to identify and report on metrics that will track audience growth. In addition, you’ll need to determine how your client wants to receive that information: lists and spreadsheets? Or colorful charts and graphs? Mobile or desktop?
    Provide Context to the Data. Your client may have an idea of how they want to use data to portray their business to stakeholders, but they can occasionally miss the mark. Be conscientious of who the client audience is and any other constituencies that they will be reporting to – make sure you provide enough accurate context so they can understand the value of the campaign.
    Reference Your Goals. As you roll out your marketing plan for your client, make sure you explain how specific data you’ve collected supports the critical points laid out in the plan. This helps to reinforce the goals you and your client set and reassures them that you’re both on the right path.
    Use Reporting Tools. You don’t have to go it alone when developing a client reporting feature. There are solutions available to help automate the process. Learning how to use tools like TapClicks and MicroStrategy, even Moz and/or Google Analytics, can help deliver more clear, concise, and visually compelling data reports for your clients.

Client Reporting Checklist
In addition to understanding how to create a client report, it’s also important for you to maintain a checklist of what data you need and make sure it is in every report you create for your client.

    Provide a summary. Your client report should summarize what’s included in the report, the context of the information, and the potential gains and losses so they are prepared for them. It should inform the client about how to view the data in a productive way. Take the SEO example again. The client may be disappointed if their web page still hasn’t hit the first page of Google search results, but they’ll be satisfied when you explain how their page views grew regardless of that.
    Conversion metrics. Identifying the number of visitors to your client’s site and, from that, the number of people who bought something is the simplest of conversion metrics to grasp. But there are other factors. You may be running Facebook ads for your client but another party may be running Google ads. Overall sales won’t necessarily reflect the performance of your specific responsibilities, so you’ll need to note that in your report.
    Website metrics. There are many other metrics of the ecommerce era that will help track your client’s progress such as the number of unique visitors; the “bounce rate” – the percentage of visitors who leave the targeted page without moving onto the next; sources for incoming traffic; exit pages, meaning at what point in the buying process customers bailed out; and the duration of their visit, which can be a measure of how compelling the content is.
    SEO analytics. While similar to website analytics, they specifically measure the client’s website performance in search engines. SEO analytics measure things such as keyword rankings, sales leads, page loading speeds, and more.
    PPC metrics. The pay-per-click rate tracks several factors including cost-per-click, cost-per-impression, cost-per-lead, and cost-per-acquisition. That last measure is the cost to the client to acquire each paying customer.
    Social media analytics. This area tracks performance in this 21st century of marketing on social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, Bing, Twitter, Instagram and others. You’ll want to help clients track growth, engagement, email campaign performance, and other factors as these social media platforms evolve.

Client reporting will help you foster clear, trusting, long-term relationships with your clients. When done right, it will help you sell more, and retain clients longer – both incredibly important factors to scaling your business the way you want it to be. That said, client reporting is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other customer success factors at play that need to be addressed for sustained benefit: onboarding processes, customer engagement programs, training and ongoing product education, etc. The role of the customer success manager in today’s industry is dynamic and requires wearing many hats. But all of these efforts ultimately come together to underscore a marketer’s value as a trusted client adviser.

Regan Davis is the Vice President of Enterprise Customer Success at TapClicks.

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