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2019 CSPI Benchmark Survey

For the second year in a row, the Customer Success community responded to our call to action and benchmarked themselves against their peers and the proven Customer Success Performance Index™ (CSPI).

The CSPI became more challenging in 2019, incorporating new best practices into the framework. Our Champions, or top 25% of respondents, responded to this challenge with an increased Net Revenue Retention Rate (NRR), rising to 140% compared to 123% in 2018. NRR remained the same for the remainder of the field at 86%, which equals a loss of half their subscription revenue within five years. 

Figure 1: CSPI and NRR for Champions and Others

The Customer Success Performance Index™

As a refresher, the Customer Success Performance Index™ (CSPI) combines the experience of building and improving Customer Success for now over 200 companies from early startups to F100 companies. The 2018 benchmark survey established a clear correlation between high Net Revenue Retention and high scores in the eight dimensions of the CSPI:

1.     Alignment: Where is CS in the organization and how it influences corporate processes and policies

2.     Team: The services and capabilities the CS team provides

3.     Segmentation: How are customers viewed

4.     Playbook: What is included in your playbook and it’s used

5.     Resources: Resources that you provide for your customer’s success

6.     Onboarding: How are you helping your customer to ramp up to full productivity

7.     Relationship: Your customer engagement model

8.     ROI: How and when do you demonstrate that your solution generates value

2019 Benchmark Survey Results

The increase of Net Revenue Retention Rates for 2019 from 123% to 140% demonstrates how Customer Success Champions are absorbing the collective best practices and have the support of their executive team and peers to instill a corporate-wide culture of Customer Success.

Figure 2: CSPI Adoption Details for Champions, Cruisers and Laggards

Looking deeper into the eight dimensions, and comparing against last year’s results, a few differences and trends emerge:

The gap in the Alignment dimension disappeared. This is a testimony to the widespread acceptance of Customer Success as a business model, and not just a fad.

While Outcome is now part of the common CS vernacular, Outcome-centric Segmentation across the entire company is not yet the common approach, and less so how data from each segment is used to craft messaging, convert leads, and shape a customer journey with Playbooks, Resources, and Onboarding to launch new customers on a voyage of Long-Term Value (LTV).

For our Champions, the customer engagement doesn’t stop here. As mainstream customers expect from a trusted advisor, a strong and active Relationship continues after the initial Implementation and Adoption stages and provides valuable insights to each stakeholder on maximizing their ROI.

International Differences were not noticeable in this year’s benchmark. Congratulations to our Japanese Customer Success leaders, who managed to close any gaps we observed last year.

Where to Next

If you haven’t done so yet, compare your performance against your peers and see in which dimensions you may find a potential to improve your operational top and/or bottom line. The CSPI provides both the rigor of a best practice and the freedom to apply what fits best into your customer engagement model, processes, and industry.

As a global trend for the CSPI for 2020, the focus on Net Profits will intensify as will our focus on Non-Software subscriptions, Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning.

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Continued Success for 2020 and Beyond,


Tags: Customer Success, Customer Success Performance Index