A step by step guide that gives your customers a clear path to success can really boost your customer onboarding and success efforts. Here are a few tips for providing that clear path.
We will often see customers sign up for a trial without a clear idea of what their goals are. They know they have a general problem and they know that they need to do something but they have a tough time defining exactly what the problem or explains exactly how they plan on solving it.
A Clear Goal You cannot help your customers be successful unless they understand what their goals are. You probably didn't expect me to say that. You probably expected me to say that you can't help your customers be successful unless you know what their goals are. But that isn't totally true. If you have a low touch sales process and provide a lot for self-service information, a customer who has a clear goal in mind can be successful with your product without ever contacting you. But if they don't know what their goals are then the chances of them being successful with your product aren't very good.
After you've onboarded a prospect/new customer to your SaaS, and after they've gone through some additional training, your users may still have trouble using your product - not because your instructions are bad, but because your users may still not know what to do.
We have been talking a lot lately about the importance of providing road maps for our customers. As we looked at our own customer education material we realized that while we offered a lot of documentation tips, we didn't have a clear guide that helped our customers establish and implement a successful documentation strategy. Some customers were able to piece together a complete strategy from the articles we produced, but to do so they had to bounce around to a lot of different places.
Without clear goals your software documentation is bound to fail. Recently we have started thinking of our documentation in two contexts: Documentation that provides a road map Documentation that removes roadblocks
Last month I purchased GarageBand for my iPad. I used to be pretty involved in the music industry, so I was really interested to see how Apple had translated a music sequencer into an iPad application. The result is really amazing and I had a blast assembling drum tracks, bending guitar strings and playing B3 organs. But then I gave it to my 7-year old. In about 15 minutes he had created a song. It had a drum track and some rock guitar and it sounded pretty good. In fact, in his mind it was amazing. He instantly wanted to send it out to grandparents, aunts and uncles and would play it for anyone who would listen. He had discovered the joy of creating music. Why do I tell you this story? Because often in the software world we get caught up with "feature lists." Feature lists make it so easy for us to compare our software against our competition. But feature lists don't ensure outcomes.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been thinking a lot about customer support vs. customer success. For the purposes of this article and several follow-up articles I plan on writing I am going to the define these two terms as follows: Customer support: Helping your customers solve problems they encounter when using your product. This includes addressing bugs as well as providing information about how to accomplish specific tasks with your product. Customer success: Helping your customers improve their business, their organization or their lives by using your product. Customer support deals with small, focussed issues. Customer success deals with the macro application of your product to achieve larger goals. To create real evangelists of your product or service you need to have great systems in place for supporting your customers, but you also need to have systems in place to ensure their success with your product or services. We are really good at customer support. We have great systems in place that help us address support issues quickly and consistently. But our results with ensuring customer success are more mixed. We have some customers who are fantastically successful with ScreenSteps and ScreenSteps Live and who evangelize it regularly while other are simply satisfied customers that are happy with the product. To a small company like ours the value of a thrilled customer who shouts our name from the roof tops vs. a satisfied customer who occasionally uses ScreenSteps is huge. If we were to put a monetary value on those customers the difference would be literally thousands of dollars vs. a one time $40 or $80 purchase. What is the main difference between these two types of customers? Our "satisfied" customers just use ScreenSteps to create documentation. They are using it to complete one of the tasks that need to get done in the course of running their business or organization. Our passionate users use ScreenSteps to *change* the way they run their business or organization. ScreenSteps and/or ScreenSteps Live don't just change their documentation. They change their business.