Customers today want their vendors to not just sell them a product but also to contribute to their efforts to achieve business success. The rise of SaaS business models has ensured that the customer of today is spoilt for choice. It has never been easier to switch vendors, products or services if they do not match up to our expectations. Owing to this dramatic shift, vendors now have to be increasingly focused on delivering better and more differentiated customer experiences that are directly aligned with customer success. Not doing so would only result in poor product adoption and customer churn
This brings us to the changing focus from customer service to customer enablement. A focus on product success gives enduring business results since customer success and product use become inextricably linked. The focus then shifts to having a continuous dialogue with the product users and provide them with immediate solutions to address their needs and optimize the ROI of the solution in use.
So how does customer enablement work? Does it become the responsibility of one person or one department? The fact is that customer enablement needs a collaborative approach – one where all teams invested for customer success such as the marketing team, the product success team, the product management team assist the customer in a proactive rather than a reactive manner. This demands the breaking down of silos that limit product success at speed…and that brings us to the main pillars on which product success stand.
SaaS products have to be data-driven. Why? Simply because data never lies. Lying hidden within the volumes of data that we generate every day are simple patterns that reveal a wealth of opportunity. And as device penetration and internet usage are increasing so are the sources of data as well. Today, organizations have access to a lot of data in the form of internal data that resides within the system as well as social data. By activating this data, organizations can actively engage with their customer and take relevant and timely actions based on customer health, service or product usage patterns and other associated tracking metrics. By being data-driven, organizations can easily identify at-risk accounts and activate their customer success teams to address the concerns before they become an issue.
Given that we are living in a hyper-personalized world where everything that is delivered to us is context specific, why should product success efforts take the one-size-fits-all approach? SaaS products can be enabled with an in-product extension that can help the different teams designated to address the different needs of the customer depending on which stage of product usage she is at. We can all agree that a new product user would need different kind of guidance than an existing user right? So the information that is passed out to these users should be specific to their needs. With in-product enablement, SaaS companies can communicate more proficiently with their users by providing smart self-help, tips and tricks relevant to the users, educate them according to their needs by leveraging analytics, keep them posted on specific marketing initiatives, and focus on delivering true value to them as per their needs.
Today’s digital age demands that we create business models to take advantage of the current technologies at play to meet customer expectations. By leveraging these technologies
we can extend an existing product and move towards in-product enablement to provide information in a context-sensitive manner. By extending the product, organizations can listen to the mind of the customer and provide them with the information that helps them use the product better and consequently do their jobs better. By extending the product with a suite of services, organizations can get a 360-degree view of the customer and gain greater visibility into their demands and needs. With the help of these insights, they can then curate rich and interactive content drawing from their internal repository of information and educate the product user. With in-product enablement, organizations can collect feedback, deliver knowledge and critical communication in a device agnostic, context-sensitive, and engaging manner with ease.
Steve Jobs had famously said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology.”
With product success becoming the battleground for brand loyalty, by focusing on these three pillars organizations can consistently drive customer enablement where work actually happens and remain on top of the customer’s mind. After all, in the subscription economy where customer acquisition is hard and customer retention is even harder, it makes sense to drive a concentrated effort to provide a unified product experience and drive an elevated customer experience. Always.