How customer segmentation is a key to their success?

In episode #4, Latimer Luis and Rishabh talk about understanding your customers and targeting them via segmentation, for better customer retention and product adoption.
So, the key issue for a lot of success leaders is the problem of poor product adoption or customer churn. I’m sure at some stage over your career, you would have observed this, but how about at Bolster, have you experienced the same?
Yeah, so I’ll give you a little bit of context. I’ve been with Bolster for only five weeks at this point, I was brought on to head and lead and expand their customer success operations and build out the team.

So, we’re a series A company. There was no customer success function prior to my joining. So, my experience here is probably a little bit different than what other customer success managers have experienced in the past, but I did come from a larger organization prior to joining Bolster, where I spearheaded their operations team and looked after the renewals of some of our largest clients.

So, in short, I do see that product adoption is always going to be a problem anywhere, right? I mean, improving that and providing access to information about products is certainly something that all customer success people tend to look at and doing it at scale is really I think the biggest issue that I see.
What are you doing to find your own way to fix the problem today?
Yeah, so one, I think you can’t necessarily always do this by relying on, you know, your own reminders to send out information to customers. There must be a more automated way of doing things.

I truly believe that utilisation of different tools or things that you build yourself within your organisation to reach out to these customers, and all the customers with relevant information is important. So, to me, I think the most important thing that you need to build even prior to thinking about the outreach is customer segmentation. You must get relevant information to the right customers.

A customer may not care about a specific feature depending on what their use cases are right and if you embed that use case as part of the segmentation model then, you know, the amount of adoption that you get on the actual outreach campaigns that you build will increase.

So, you know at Sumo Logic which is the organisation I was part of prior to joining Bolster, we were working on ways to segment our customers by, you know, verticals, use cases, etc. And, you know, by doing that it helped tailor the messages that we were delivering about some of the new features that we were releasing.
So basically, it’s not like one product for all. So for different segments of customers, do you present different use cases?
Exactly. I think it’s important, I mean not all customers will use your product the same exact way and understanding the different flavours in which the customers actually use your product is important, and segmenting based on that behaviour and their knowledge of the product and other weight and other things will really help to have, you know, the folks that are creating this content.

Understand what’s important to, those sets of customers right, so you can have a customer that’s also very early on in their life cycle so maybe they’re in the first three months of their onboarding, and they’re a new customer, the message that you deliver to those customers are likely going to be a bit different from somebody who’s been using your product for three or four years right because they have a little bit more knowledge about what all the feature sets are within your given service or platform.

A new customer, if they were to see a product feature being added to the solution, may not know at that point exactly why that’s relevant to them.
Putting up education on the front really helps to scale Customer Success. One of our clients had put in for a community called chiropractors, both not being tech savvy and one-to-one training, you can’t go to one-on-one training until you are hiring like 2 million employees, right, so what they did was they converted the one-to-one training into courses for certifications.

This really helped them speed up onboarding at a smaller team size. So, at Bolster are you looking at content and have you started working on content already?
Yeah, we’re starting to evaluate it. It’s not necessarily, you know, a priority on our end, and I mean I think that right now we are looking at, obviously increasing, and improving any documentation that we already have.

We do want to have and build out a culture of learning and community. So, you know, one thing that we’re probably going to look at doing is just ensuring that we have adequate enough videos adequate documentation and just really speaking to our customers about what they want to see, right getting their feedback directly since we’re a company that has, you know 2000 customers so you know we have intimate knowledge about what each of them wants, and you know we speak with our customers very often and so in those conversations, you know, again as I plan to figure out, you know how to scale and grow this organization.

I’ll be asking our customers for feedback about documentation, learning paths and, you know how, what they’ve struggled with as their being onboarding themselves on the platform, right. And you know as we acquire new customers, it’s important to also understand within the first 90 days where customers often need a little bit more help, need a little bit more guidance and, you know if you understand that that’s the first level in terms of building out sort of the course curriculum that you intend to release.

I think our priority is, you know, one: improving and increasing our sales pipeline that’s always first and foremost. And then, you know, as we learn more about customers, improving the way that we interact with them. The way we educate them is more downstream in my opinion.
What would be your advice to small-mid type of SaaS, who are trying to reduce churn, what are the top two or three things you would recommend?
As I mentioned, I think building out the right segmentation model requires more operational focus, so if you can build a good segmentation model where you understand how different customers need to interact with you.

You must tailor your experience based on these segments right and part of that experience is the education piece and the content delivery. So once you know, build out that segmentation, make sure that everybody’s bought into it.

The second thing is when you lose a customer, learn from that mistake, right, do a post-mortem internally and understand okay why did we lose our customer. Was it really because of the product feature adoption or is it something else and if you can learn from it and apply it, you know, to your day-to-day operations, that should help prevent further churn. Lastly, you just must find people who care.

It may sound easy but sometimes you’ll quickly get to understand that some people don’t have that passion to make a customer wildly successful and if they don’t have that passion, it’s going to be hard for them to really push forward.

You know what you want, in terms of how they deliver presentations and how they interact with customers and clients and may not be open to great feedback so you know when you’re hiring, just make sure that you look for someone that really wants their customers to be successful and you know, probe them with open-ended questions and how they would, you know handle certain situations, right, to help you understand if they’re a good fit or a good hire.
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