It was just yesterday that the quality of the product or service was the key to winning customers. Not anymore. Today the customer is king and Customer Experience is the new battlefield. Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Zappos and the like are placing customer experience at the center of their customer strategy and have raised the bar of customer expectations. As the barometer for success goes beyond feature differentiation and pricing for SaaS products, customer experience becomes the key differentiator for product success. And raising the bar for customer experience becomes a key to foster brand loyalty.
The Role of Personalization
Personalization, in today’s competitive economy, has become an instrument to nurture customer relationships and improve customer retention rates. As customer expectations from products continue to evolve, SaaS products have to focus on the individual’s needs and wants as a central orientation point to create products that the customers love to use. Personalization is all about creating real-time and efficient experiences that address the needs of the customer in context.
How to Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences?
Given the competitive landscape today, personalization now has to be a continuous experience for SaaS products. Personalization is about arriving at an understanding of how your customers are using the product, their expectations from the product, and the experience that they desire from the product and then delivering it to them. By doing this, SaaS products can become experience-driven and ensure that their customers keep using the product beyond the ‘free trial’ date.
Personalization begins with the onboarding process itself. Lengthy user manuals and complicated onboarding experiences will, in all likelihood, discourage the customer from becoming a loyal user. Instead, today’s onboarding experiences can be made highly intuitive by leveraging the user data. By employing user personas, you can guide users through the product to ensure maximum feature utilization. Using in-app messages and contextual and relevant guides you can optimize the onboarding experience and go a long way to drive user adoption.
As Amazon and Netflix usher in the age of intuitiveness, SaaS products are being compelled to adapt to their users’ goals and preferences. Training experiences in SaaS products are no different and have to be personalized, engaging, hyper-contextual, and intuitive.
The product should have the capability to assess the training needs of the user and deliver the right content to them within the application. In order to deliver the right training content at the right time, organizations, thus, have to possess the capability to create rich interactive content fast.
Having support for tracking engagement metrics provides deep insights into the effectiveness of the content and its relevance. Additionally, personalization also means enabling the customer where work happens. This means taking a device-agnostic approach and ensuring that the product is mobile-optimized in consonance with the mobile economy.
For stellar SaaS products, personalization has to extend to the help desk. SaaS products have to be now enabled with self-service so that the users can proactively support themselves. Having an easy to access the self-service portal to access all knowledge resources is one part of the story. Further to this, SaaS products have to become intuitive to provide contextual help and information when the users are actually using the product. Leveraging user data, the products have to have the capability to evaluate trends in searches, recognize which searches are not yielding results, and consequently identify user pain points. If a customer runs a similar search often then the organization can proactively send out the right, relevant, and contextual information to the user in-app to make self-service more effective by personalization.
Personalization is the magic pill that helps in driving product usage as it brings the element of relevance to the table. By assessing how the customer is engaging with the product, determining the features they love and ones they don’t, identifying the points where the users are dropping off give good insights into product usage. These insights can be used to create high points in the customer journey by pushing out relevant product-related information, product updates, marketing content, training materials and personalized surveys. By using demographic, behavioral and event data – both internal and from third parties – organizations can trigger personalized engagement across the product at scale.
In order to leverage personalization to create stellar personalized product experiences, organizations have to focus on driving the same from within the product. Having a 360-degree view of the customer that takes into account every interaction that the user has with the product across channels such as mobile, email, and social media can be leveraged using powerful analytics. However, to achieve this, having a unified view of the customer becomes essential along with ensuring that all the stakeholders in the customer journey have access to all relevant customer data and that information doesn’t reside in silos to improve the customer experience.
Connect with us to see how to enable the in-product extension to drive personalization across your SaaS product.