How to make software easy to learn and use?

In episode #5, Giordanna Cullen and Rishabh talk about the importance of simplifying product usage and creating better experiences for your customers.
To start with, product training content always lags the product and it’s not just by a week or 10 days but months along with media production being a pain. Have you experienced the same before?
Yeah, I have definitely experienced the same thing. It is a bit of a challenge always trying to stay on top of all the different teams depending on the size of the organization, because obviously a lot of different teams are working on different projects and different areas of the product itself. It has been somewhat of a challenge but I think a large part of it is just having really good communication channels and processes in place to make sure that those teams are aware of the implications and what information needs to be provided to customers, as well as to our internal staff.

So, those two things are almost bundled in terms of training. I don’t necessarily get all the information after they get released. Typically, I’ll get a heads up a few months in advance, so that I can then put it onto my roadmap, make sure it’s in line with my project timelines, and then it’ll come through.

The only time product updates don’t make it to me in time is if they are small bug fixes or if they are kind of just shoehorned into a sprint essentially.
Do you look at the training content per se or are you mostly at customer success?
Mostly the training content itself, the product teams will come to me with their internal documentation, and I’ll look at that and figure out what needs to be translated, put into plain English and communicated out to the customers whether that’s in app,through our help centre, any of our academy courses or videos.
Why do you think the training content is lagging behind the product, why hasn’t this problem been solved yet?
I think it is quite a large problem, it’s a huge undertaking, because it’s an entire process review and it also has to do with organizational buy-in.

So if these product teams aren’t aware of what customer education is in itself, they won’t have the understanding on what the implications are and how it really affects other people within the organization and their roles. I think it just has to do with a lot of our own visibility and having that as part of the process to say okay we do know that this is coming.

And these are the stakeholders internally that need to know that this is coming so that they’re aware and then they can be planning out their timelines, or at least have some sort of idea within the next month or so, however long that these things will be coming through to them.
So one of our clients had a similar problem. And the way we worked out is we made a process with the product team like how likely you have said, rather than going to the support team and the customer success route, we directly made a process with the engineering team that whenever you log something just going up orders create a request.

And we will deliver something in like say a week to ten days. And in your situation, what do you think your ideal situation looks like for you?
In my situation, in terms of the overall process of how we get alerted to product changes, I guess, the ideal situation is, we do have monthly meetings with all of us like senior stakeholders.

So, we know what’s coming down or what the teams are working on so we do have general ideas of what each development team or product team is working on for the next few months. So, we’re constantly being updated there.

I think that having that meeting is a huge help, and then having touchpoints with those team leads along the way to ask where those things are and just having those really solid relationships between the education and the product teams that essentially, is the ideal situation because I don’t know if it needs to be a process that’s set in stone or if product teams need to be filling out forms and submitting all that, it really depends on the organization and the culture.

For us, we don’t feel the need to do that because we can just have conversations and it’s a two-way street of sharing information.

So, it’s not necessarily like “Here, go do this”, it’s more like, “What do you think is the best way to communicate these changes or this new feature or a new tool”, and it’s a discussion amongst people , then all the documentation comes through, it’s filtered down and then we create in that prompts or tools or videos.
I run a content creation company, so what else would you recommend SaaS like us, we’re not mature like how Banana Tag is, but somebody who’s in early to mid-stage.

Who doesn’t have an academy? What would you recommend and how would you go about cutting down customer churn?
Oh, I guess that’s almost like a two-part question. I guess the first answer to that I’d say is really build the relationships internally like amongst the different teams and do monthly or bi-weekly meetings with the team leads or the main developers, product managers or product markers to make sure that those lines of communication are really solid, and everyone becomes really aware as to the implications of when the product changes and what the frameworks are.

So, if it’s a small change does it really need to be communicated out or will people be able to figure out the functionality, if it’s a larger scale change, that’s something that we need to think about a little bit more long term.

That would be a larger project, so making sure you have those meetings in those relationships really from the get go is quite important in terms of reducing the customer churn, that’s kind of a super large issue that I’m sure you could probably tackle from ten different ways essentially but, one thing I would just say, is making sure that the content that you are putting out provides a lot of value, and it’s very succinct and direct because people don’t have a lot of time, they don’t want to be searching around help centers, they don’t want to be reading massive walls of text, I think the idea is that people want it to be really self-served and very topical, but to meet people where they’re at, is incredibly important.

So having little gifs to just do little explainers I think goes a really long way in reducing customer churn, because it means less time that those people are spending reading content and searching around and asking their CSM or their onboarding specialist how to do things. It is much more putting the power, the onus and the confidence back into them to learning a product to say you know this is easy you can do it doesn’t take a lot of your time and you really want to make sure that it’s a really small mental load for people so you want to make things as easy as possible so they don’t even think about turning, because it’s just now part of their routine and part of how they work.
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