In episode #10 of New things in Customer Education, Tanvi Jain and Rishabh talk about how product training content can be key to customer success.
Many Customer Success leaders tell me that the product training content always lags behind the product?
Yes absolutely and it’s an ongoing challenge. I realised that even for me as a customer success manager, I was continuously addressing the same problem. Globally pretty much all of us are facing the same issue where customers are asking questions again and again on the same topic.
There is an element of customization like how can this help me in my business, how do I do this so that latter type of questions which are more how to use and which are more about understanding some feature or something in detail.
Those could be answered very straight and at Adobe that’s what we do. We tend to have all our content hosted on our learning community which is an experienced league and a lot of that documentation goes to the inexperienced league. I don’t know whether the product follows documentation or documentation follows products but they are released together or I have seen minimal lag.
For example, if something is introduced to us as customer success managers, as a new feature in one of the products then the documentation is shared along with it so that we can then pass it on to the customer. I believe that both go hand in hand and it eases things for us to a large extent.
But after the initial euphoria if the team gets a new customer and they keep asking the same thing, then we tend to direct them to the platform where all the content is hosted which is why we are trying to automate that process.
Your audience being creative are mostly creative professionals, right?
I am in a different field. So, Adobe has three units one is the creative unit which you’re referring to when you talk about the artist community or creative community.
I work with the marketing community, a division that has analytics content management. My audience is mostly marketers and is the ones reading the documentation or more technology-oriented people.
Okay. In your view, how effective is video content as compared to other forms of content?
Where have you seen the most effectiveness in terms of your audience?
So for me as a user of some of our products, I feel video wins hands down. So personally I’ve seen video’s effectiveness is very high rather than reading through reams of texts. And I’ve seen this for even the customers that I work with.
When I have the option of sending documentation in text format or links, we share links. We as a company have posted a lot of video content for all groups together as courses. So I found great success in directing my customers to the site and going through all the courses in a sequential manner.
They can pick and choose whatever course is relevant to them according to their profile. Hence video wins hands down as there is a lot more traction. Although learning anything is going to be a matter of taking that shot and investing time but video is a lot more effective when it comes to general learning.
For advanced concepts when it comes to more technical, detailed documentation might work better. But then again, I have not seen a very heavily technical document converted to video either so you might know better.
For early SaaS or somebody not as large as Adobe, what would be your recommendation to cut down customer churn?
The most lethal thing for customer retention is a bag sale. I’ve seen that during the sales process, the teams have done enough rigour and has investment commitment in terms of time as well as money from the customer. That is the biggest recipe for success because that starts you off strong. And then once the customer comes into the post-sales phase where there are many things to do like you can start off with the right onboarding, making sure that expectations are set correctly.
Again in a simpler product where things might be more straightforward, you can get the time to value but it’s way lesser. I work with really complex products where the gestation period is often 3-12 months depending on the product. So make sure you are helping them succeed.
Help them in the way of processes, governance that they have to set up internally, making sure that they have the right teams in place, having to hire them if that’s what they need. And then becoming a part of their strategic thinking, if you’re part of it then you are in the room as a stakeholder deciding what the roadmap will look like with your products as well as the larger ecosystem right.
So the customer will trust them more with the larger roadmap because we won’t have a selling agenda. Being a part of their think tank in setting roadmap strategy for their initiatives will be a great way to establish success down the line because the renewal date can’t wait for them. You have to become partners a lot earlier.
Then, when there is the opportunity and time to resolve something, do it quickly. So customers will always have problems with your products with something or the other, just find the solution to that problem quickly.
I think that I’ve seen a lot of trust grow just because everybody understands that things are not going to be perfect. It is an evolving field, no matter what side of digital you’re on it’s always going to be evolving. So things are going to keep changing but the faster you can get to resolution or they trust you to find a resolution for them that grows trust. And trust is the only thing that matters when it comes to renewal.
So don’t sell it to the wrong customer otherwise whatever you do wouldn’t make any sense?
I would just say that the expectations have to be aligned well because there is no right or wrong customer. There is only right or wrong timing. If you want to summarise equally then you could say the CSM become partners in their successful outreach.
How would you track in terms of numbers like percentage churn rate or something but for other softer aspects?
So firstly, putting a number to everything just reduces the efficacy of some of these things because sometimes maybe it’s a very different thing altogether. But if you have to force for expansion and renewal then the numbers to look at is an important metric.
The soft because the softer ones just follow. Then there are things like advocacy or the others participating more as they are willing to be pre-beta testers for something new that you want to launch and are open to having those conversations with you.
How many people are you connected to in that organisation on a regular basis so that can be tracked? How much advocacy data, partnerships that you’ve done with them? How many people are you connected with on a regular basis? How many references can you get out of them? These are metrics of trust that you can measure.
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