3 Tips for Crafting an Effective Customer Reporting Strategy

By Jillian D'Arcy on August 27, 2015

saas reporting data beekeeper

In our last blog post we discussed how reporting can play a role in communicating product value, features, and performance to customers and how effective communication of these points can serve to increase retention and long term customer value. However not all users are created equal, so here are some pointers on crafting a successful customer reporting strategy.

Figure out the usage patterns of your users

It is common for customers of business software services to have multiple users who each interact with the product differently. It is important to consider this when deciding how to communicate with them.

Broadly, there are two types of SaaS users:

  1. Customers who use the software frequently
    • Commonly these are ‘power users’, maybe spending a good chunk of their workday looking at your product
  2. Customers who use the software infrequently
    • Purchasing managers, administrators, executives, third parties. Depending on your software this could be a whole range of individuals. Some are more valuable to you than others!

Customize reports to the type of user

Provide dashboard reports to frequent users

Customers who use the software frequently can be given access to information in the SaaS application itself, because they’re likely to see it, or know how to get to it. Powerful dashboard reports have easy to read metrics that are complimented with rich visualizations, customization options, and export functionality.

MailChimp has a dashboard report section where customers can view their campaign’s performance. The dashboard report visualizes key metrics and doesn’t overwhelm the customer with data. Notice how it highlights ‘industry average’ metrics – a clear way to demonstrate the value of their software.

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Send data to infrequent users via email

Customers who infrequently use the software aren’t actively seeking out reports on how the product is helping their business, nor would they know where to find them. Depending on the individual it may still be tremendously valuable to communicate software performance and metrics - for example to an executive or purchasing manager. The best way to report to these customers is to **send them **data. Email reports enable individuals to view metrics which emphasize product value without having to figure out how to use the product.

Like dashboard reporting, an effective email report includes rich visualizations and a way to customize and export data (maybe via a deep link into the product).

Sensor Tower sends its customers daily email reports on the performance of the apps their software monitors. The email provides an overview of how a customer’s apps are doing and includes deep links into their application. It is easy to understand the value their service provides without having to log-in to their systems daily.

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Ensure a quality experience

There are a few key features that take a reporting solution to the next level:

  • Consistent look and feel - it is crucial to standardize all types of reports so customers know what to expect. Reports should have high-quality templates and visualizations no matter if they are delivered via email or embedded inside applications.

  • Native experience - reports should feel like they are native to your application regardless of the medium by which they are delivered. Consistent product branding, data definitions, and tone are key to this.

  • Scalable to maintain and expand - If you do a good job, chances are your report offerings will slowly expand due to customer demand. It is important that a reporting platform is easy to control, fix, and scale out. For example - reports with missing data should not be distributed, breaking schema changes should be easy to manage, and it should be easy to add new (or edit existing) reports in a few clicks.

  • Automatic Feedback loop - Who is using your reports and how? Such information allows the elimination of useless reporting features and expansion of valuable ones.

The next step

Beekeeper Data offers a quality email-reporting solution that will delight your customers (and make you money). We allow companies to email their customers branded, visual data reports sent one time or on a recurring schedule. Get in touch to learn more.

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Jillian D'Arcy bio photo

Jillian D'Arcy

Sales Associate. Travel Enthusiast. Sweet Tooth.