As a director of Docsie’s customer success team, my team and I have come to a strong realization that quality customer success processes and experiences drive more referrals and overall enjoyment of a product. Through extensive research and experiments, we have found many cornerstones to a successful customer experience which we wanted to share with our readers who take an interest in supporting their own customer base.
Most people make snap decisions based on their emotional response to products. This means that customers always elicit feelings, and emotions as their primary driver to decision-making. While it may seem counterintuitive for companies to address emotions, make no mistake that your consumers are, at their core, human beings. A Harvard professor states that 95% of purchasing decisions are made in a subconscious and emotional level.
Strong emotions such as wrath and irritation, as well as pleasant surprise and delight, are critical in determining whether customers will pick your product, engage with it, and remain loyal to your brand. There are a few key factors that dictate how your customers will respond to your product and your overall services.
Why are companies struggling with maintaining a solid customer experience for their customers?
Before we dive into key strategies to help improve your organization's customer experience we have to talk about what obstacles and issues most companies face and how it impacts the development of customer success strategies.
While most organizations report increasing their investment in Customer Experience, they frequently fail to deliver really great results efficiently and sustainably. Why? Because the operational methods that benefit the business in so many other ways are the primary impediments to the development of Customer Success teams and procedures. More precisely, the greatest obstacle is inherent in companies’ natural propensity to form distinct departments inside the firm. The split of functional departments ultimately results in the formation of organizational silos, a critical impediment to a long-term customer experience strategy.
By virtue of organizational silos, the firm purposefully divides and distributes ownership of all the elements necessary for continued success. Departmentalization provides several business benefits, the most significant of which is the capacity to apply much-needed focus and investment across multiple initiatives. However, it also establishes an inherent box within each department when it comes to creating processes and experiences in the context of the larger picture. Without a broader view, the danger of uncoordinated customer interactions and duplication of effort throughout the company increases.
Lack of cross-functionality
Another factor that must be addressed in this situation is the necessity for cross-functional collaboration within an organization. While most organizations acknowledge the importance and necessity of cross-functional collaboration, many fall short of establishing common leadership goals. Competing objectives reduce the probability that departments will receive the effort and resources necessary to deliver effectively cross-functionally. As a result, not only are each department's objectives not reached to their full potential, but they are also more inclined to blame the other for not assisting them in meeting their aims.
Uncoordinated suites of customer-facing technology platforms are one potentially important and unexpected consequence of silos, particularly for software firms. Adding digital touchpoints is the result of corporate functions not sharing supervision or goals. When a department is unable to get internal funding to address a specific problem or need, it will use its budget to seek funding externally. For instance, marketing almost certainly has its own website, while Customer Support almost certainly has a platform for storing assistance content and processing service requests. However, if you sell a technology-based product, buyers will not be able to tell the difference between these diverse experiences and the product itself. This puts all of your product management teamss' efforts toward creating exceptional user experiences at danger of falling short in the long run.
Poorly written and designed product documentation
Understanding your product is highly essential for explaining its uses to your customer. how many times in the past have you thought of a situation where you tried to figure out how to assemble a product with a user manual that was either, out of date, poorly written or in a different language which you did not understand. The frustration of poorly written and presented online documentation for many products causes a lot of grief and discomfort to companies' customers. It leads to them being frustrated and annoyed, and in most cases give up on the product altogether. this is why having an effective way to create, publish, maintain and update documentation is essential for any companies success with their customer experience of their product. Also, feedback is key as well, for once you know how the customer is using7 your documentation and where they are getting stuck you can make updates and optimize it to suit their needs and the wellbeing of your overall customer onboarding process.
Lack of customer feedback protocols
Lacking customer feedback takes a huge toll on the optimization of product documentation, customer support, and the way your organization functions to increase positive customer experiences. Having an inability to hear feedback is a great drawback to overall customer success and this needs to be addressed in order to optimize your entire customer onboarding process. Otherwise, customers may leave your product and you won't understand why or how to bring them back and keep them for good. this can hugely impact revenue and the reputation of your company as a whole.
5 Steps Product Managers Can Develop Exceptional Customer Experience
Now that we have addressed the issues that cause companies obstacles in their customer's success, let us take a deep dive into what steps should be taken to create a healthy and productive customer experience by initiating key strategies.
I am a big believer that the product management team inside a software organization is well-positioned to assist in catapulting a successful Customer Experience Strategy for their organizations. To begin, product management teams have a significant advantage due to the fact that their position is already cross-functional. By coordinating their efforts throughout the business, the team has crucial visibility into small shifts in focus and procedures that might jeopardize the customer experience. Additionally, the product management team is ideally positioned to improve the end-to-end experience, as user experience is currently (or should be) a key emphasis for their efforts. This unique viewpoint and experience-based supervision placed the product management team on the cutting edge of many types of transformations which will catapult the company to their success in user experience.
Step 1: Comprehend the client journey intimately through customer journey research.
This step is highly vital and it requires you to do extensive research on your customers to find out, what they are feeling and how they are experiencing your current customer journey as well as what other journeys they have had and what they liked or disliked about them.
Conducting mixed methods research is the most effective approach for collecting data from and about your consumers in order to create an effective and informative customer journey map. When doing user research, make certain that you capture as much of their journey as possible––the step-by-step process that each individual user goes through during their day (or month/year) as they engage with a service or product.
As a general guideline, you should also attempt "data triangulation." This requires utilizing three (or more) data sources such as a survey, user interviews, and a workshop, in order to verify the validity of your conclusions.
Step 2: Incorporating the customer journey research to heighten your understanding of your customers' requirements.
Knowledge from the research you have done above helps you gain a more profound understanding of your customer's requirements. These requirements are crucial for the long-term success of new products features and product upgrades. Share this information diligently with your employees, and use it to help you develop and launch new initiatives.
Sharing context forces your team to explore parts of the experience they would have ignored otherwise and to ask critical questions outside the scope of the current product. For instance, at what point along the journey should the customer be aware of a specific new function be generated to ensure maximum adoption? How can the team collaborate with their colleagues in customer service to evaluate the potential impact of the feature on existing and future support offerings? It may also reveal more sophisticated details related to upselling and value-added features, such as how to design an experience that does not complicate or confuse clients over how they are invoiced for your product services.
Step 3: Well structured customer service and support
Now that you have completed your search on your customer's journey you now have a better understanding of your customer's likes and dislikes about the process in which they want to purchase and use your product. Now it's important to establish strong customer support straight off the bat.
It is a universal fact that excellent customer service propels a business ahead, while poor service sets you back a few, or even many, steps from your intended outcome, whether that outcome is keeping new customers or improving the value of existing customers. Both existing and new consumers will remember their interactions—whether positive or negative—when it comes time to make their next purchase.
However, how can positive customer service encounters affect consumer behavior? A research study done by Zendek states that 87% of survey respondents report that their positive customer service experience influenced their future purchasing behavior, from recommending products or services to others (which equates to 67%) to purchasing or using additional products or services from that company (54 percent) to considering purchasing or using additional products or services from that company (which equates to 39%).
(The chart above has been created by Zendesk)
What is even more interesting is the research Zendesk found from customers' behavior that occurs as a result of a negative customer service encounter. Almost everyone (which is 97%) of those who had a negative customer experience impacted their future purchasing choices. More precisely, 58% ceased purchasing from the business, 52% moved to another company for that product or service, 52% advised others not to purchase that product or service, and 48% were reluctant to consider the company for future purchases.
(The image above has been created by Zendesk)
This research shows us precisely how crucial customer service and support are to customers. Customers have a higher chance to drop off of the customer journey due to poorly developed and maintain customer service and support. By solidifying a solid customer support strategy you can prevent this use and maintain long-term loyal customers.
Step 4: Clearly written and well-presented product documentation
With strong customer support comes great documentation responsibility! Good customer support in the background, plays an essential role in your customer's success however, it is also important to ensure your customers know how to successfully use and maintain the use of your product. This is done through video tutorials and effective user guides, knowledge bases, and product documentation which will be used in their education about your product. The user guides and user manuals need to be clear, distinctive, and decisively explain how your product works, what to be careful of and how to use every function of your product. This will make their learning curve a lot smoother and foster a good user experience.
Creating good product documentation must include:
The ability to collaborate: assign tasks and comment, and allow all documentation work time stamped
The ability to have searchable documentation.
The ability to allow your customer to switch through different languages within your documentation
All of these and many more tools and features are found within Docsie.
Once you have all these aspects of creating good documentation you can now write amazing technical documentation by following these steps I lay out in my previous blog: **How to create amazing technical documentation?**
Step 5: How to use customer feedback to maintain and optimize product documentation to enhance the customers understanding of your product
Customer feedback is critical in developing and improving aesthetically pleasing product documentation that your customers understand and use to assist them in using your SaaS or physical product.
Oftentimes, businesses are fearful of discovering what their consumers really think about their documentation, which creates a barrier in determining what their customers truly think about their product documentation. Without knowing what your customer is thinking about your product, product documentation, and customer service processes it is nearly impossible to optimize and improve your overall customer experience of using your product and integrating with your company.
There are 6 main reasons why customer feedback is essential to know in order to improve your customer's experience.
Customer input aids in the development of better products documentation.
Customer feedback aids in the evaluation of customer satisfaction levels.
Collecting customer feedback demonstrates that you care about what they have to say.
Customer feedback aids in the creation of the greatest possible customer experience.
Customer feedback aids in the retention of customers.
Customer feedback is a trustworthy source of data for other consumers.
Docsie provides our customers with an amazing tool that allows them to see what their customers are doing on their product documentation. This tool is called Vocally, but it is found easily on our platform by pressing the “Web Analytics” tab.
By opening this you can see all the interactions your customers had along with their feedback in regards to your product documentation, user manuals, and user guides.
It's very powerful and nifty to know how your customers are interacting with your documentation so that you can optimize it for a smoother earpiece, which will essentially increase your customer's overall enjoyment of using your products.
If you want to learn more about vocally click here.
It is not the job of your product team to provide the functionality to customers; rather, it is to create an outstanding product experience that fosters loyalty, keeps customers engaged, and makes your product an easy sale to new customers. However, in today's world, that experience is seldom contained inside the product itself, but rather spans the scope of your company's many organizational silos, your product documentation, feedback generated by your customers and of course well rounded customers service and support. Developing a real interest in – and involvement in – the company's customer experience strategy is the surest path to producing a truly outstanding product with customers that love to use it.