Product Update: Internet Explorer 8 Support Removal.

  • On June 4th, 2015 MindTouch will no longer support Pro Members using Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.  This change is taking place to improve our product experience and to help encourage the advancement of web technology.  Please review the blog we posted earlier this year for more information.  If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact the MindTouch Customer Success Team.

New Feature: Custom Site HTML

  • As a site administrator, you can now add custom HTML head and tail elements to your site via the Control Panel. You will be able to leverage this interface to add CSS, Meta Tags, and JavaScript.  Previously, custom code would need to be added to your custom header or footer.   This will aid in branding your success center and will negate the need to add custom JavaScript to your header or footer templates.  If you have any questions please contact the MindTouch Customer Success Team.
Search Engine Update
  • Your MindTouch search will receive an update to enhance search accuracy. Users will now receive more relevant results which will reduce the effort that it takes to locate valuable information. 
Bug Fix for Authors
  • Previously, when creating a page summary the text area would remain faded even though you could type in it.  In the next release the text area will not be faded after clicking that edit button.
  • When changing page permissions for a user from “Author” or “Editor”, MindTouch would display the role change as “Manager” or “Contributor”. This incorrect verbiage was visible when viewing your site history.  In the next release, the correct role names will display in the site history.  

Bug Fix for the MindTouch Dashboard

  • When accessing the Management Dashboard, the XML SiteMap link would appear greyed out for Pro-Member’s with the Viewer role.  In the next release the link will be clickable by all Pro-Members.
Administrator Tip
  • Using Google Analytics with MindTouch will provide you with a clear understanding of how you’re delivering value to your customers.  Ifconfigured for public use, you should see 30% to 50% of your total organic traffic coming through your MindTouch site.  This means more leads and happier customers. 
 
New and Updated Documentation
CS Ebook ScreenShot

You want your customers to feel unstoppable with your products, especially now that customers are so fickle in this subscription economy. The only way you’re going to do that is by investing your entire organization in ensuring your customer’s success.

With our free eBook, Building Customer Success from the Top Down, you’ll learn the keys to bringing customer success to your entire organization. Many companies conflate customer success and customer support. But if you truly want to change your customer’s experience and drive revenue growth, you’ve got to infect the corporate culture with customer success.

The eBook features insights from the mind of MindTouch CEO Aaron Fulkerson. He defines customer success as “Driving user adoption and creating product experts. That’s how businesses drive value for customers that improves retention and creates brand advocates.” Additionally, there are insights from some of the top minds in the customer success industry like Lincoln Murphy, Aaron Ross, and Anthony Kennada.

Whether you’re new to customer success or a veteran of the industry, Building Customer Success from the Top Down has tangible advice for everyone. 

Find out how you can change the conversation at your company in order to:

  • Engage your customers at every step of their journey with valuable content
  • Turn your customer’s success into actionable data to continuously improve the company
  • Create product experts who become loyal customers and spend more

 


Customer Success Ebook ScreenShotbutton (2)

Customer success isn’t just a Software-as-a-Service industry trend. Industries in both B2C and B2B need to give their customers the means to become kick ass product experts. Don’t let your customers down. Transform your company into a customer success organization today!

Download the eBook today for free!

Image via imgkid

Customer engagement is a crucial component of any successful company. The ability to connect with customers, or bring customers together, is how companies drive revenue growth.

But there’s a problem with most customer engagement strategies: silos of experience. 

In the knowledge management world, when departments create their own content, documentation, or whatever around customers, products, and processes, this information is typically locked away within each department. This creates silos of content that, over time, can create inconsistencies and redundant information. Within the company, these silos of content slow down work and create waste. But the effect of silos of content across multiple channels for the customer is silos of experience. 

What The Office Teaches Us About Customer Engagement

The brilliance of satire shows like The Office is that even their jokes have useful ideas in them. In an episode from the seventh season, the much-maligned Ryan has an idea to simplify social media. He calls it WUPHF (part of the Dog Pack), and it reduces the need to post updates to all of your media channels by doing it for you.

The technology goes so far as to create a fax and phone call from the “wuphf.” Of course, there’s little need for a service that pushes our inane thoughts to the world any more invasively than Facebook and Twitter already do (can you imagine getting every Facebook status update as a fax and a call?). 

But the joke does raise an interesting point about our customer engagement strategies. With so many different channels to engage customers, are we creating “silos of experience?”  Can companies deliver a consistent message (or in this case, a “wuphf”) across every channel? Is an experience with marketing a stark contrast to the experience in support? Do the sales and on-boarding teams have a different understanding of the product and the customer?

In the B2C world, companies with multiple stores are obsessed with delivering a consistent product. Think of every McDonald’s you’ve ever been to—how similar were they all in look, feel, and in taste? The consistency is about controlling the McDonald’s brand image and to provide customers the best experience possible. But in the B2B world, it’s a little more like the Wild West. Inconsistencies in the visual experience, the user experience, the content experience—each of these can contribute to the silos of experience that alienate customers from your brand. And that stems from the silos of content that get created internally.

Via Giphy

No one wants to be in a silo. Via Giphy

A complete customer engagement strategy needs an outside-in approach. Instead of solely focusing on how each department contributes to customer engagement, there needs to also be an awareness of the customer’s experience throughout their journey through your company. What is it like to go from marketing, to sales, to onboarding, to support? If there isn’t consistency from department to department, customer engagement management becomes much more difficult. 

Featured Image via Imgkid

Search Engine Update

  • Today your MindTouch search will receive an update that will enhance search accuracy. Users will now receive more relevant results which will reduce the effort that it’d take to locate valuable information. 

New Feature: Custom Deployment HTML

  • Site administrators can now add custom HTML head and tail elements to your deployment via the Control Panel. You will be able to add custom HTML in the head/tail for CSS, Meta Tags, and JavaScript to your deployment.  Previously the best way to handle this was to add the custom DekiScript/JavaScript/CSS to your site’s header or footer.  You can now add this html in similarly to the way you add global CSS to your deployment.  This will help aid in branding your deployment and adding any customizations and negate the need to add it to any custom templates.  If you have any questions please contact the MindTouch Customer Success Team.HTMLEditor2

Bug Fix for Search

  • In the past, when you clicked on an article’s tag, you would be directed to a search page with no results. This could be a problem if you wanted to see all the pages related to a specific tag.  You now can select a tag and have it searchable again.

Bug Fix for Authors

  • When you created a web link (found in the recommended links section of your MindTouch 4 category pages), you weren’t able to encode the link. Encoded URLs are used in place of certain symbols within a URL in order to communicate the correct path. In the next release, you will be able to create encoded, recommended links via the web link option. 

Bug Fix for Site Administrators

  • In the past, invalid emails were allowed to be entered in the Control Panel’s site configuration options. You would enter these when setting a reply-to or article feedback email address. If an invalid email was configured, users would not be able to respond to a notification email or submit article feedback (and have it go to a source that would be able to help).

New and Updated Documentation
Updated: Leveraging the Web Font JavaScript API
Updated: Install GeniusLink in Salesforce Service Cloud
Updated: Customer Insights
Blog: Why 2015 is the Year for Customer Success
Blog: MindTouch Reveals the Top 100 Influencers in Customer Success

Via Social Media Examiner

Since the beginning of the Internet, there have been communities. Those communities have become increasingly complex and diverse, though. From social media communities like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to more traditional forum-based communities, companies have tried to capitalize on the power of the crowd.

Communities Past and Present

Communities typically have two functions. The first is social, and is usually backed up by marketing departments. And companies are breaking out the checkbooks to get this kind of engagement. According to eMarketer, U.S. marketers last year spent $3.08 billion on Facebook brand pages and social media advertisements, with little return to show for it.

Social communities often incentivize people to join (i.e.: Get 15% off for liking our page!). But once this initial incentive is gone, there’s little reason to return.  

Forum-based communities, what we will call branded communities, are typically geared towards a support function. They represent a peer-to-peer channel, where customers can help each other answer questions, instead of dealing with support phone calls.

When I do a Google search with a question, I often end up on these pages because they tend to rank highly. Their content is typically highly relevant and matches my natural language, branded query (i.e.: How do I change my Moto X backplate?).

For all of its monetary potential, the Internet is a dangerous place for companies. Customers complain, and they complain loudest in communities. These disgruntled posts and tweets hurt your brand. Not only is it influencing your current customers to perhaps leave, but this same content is being discovered by prospects looking to validate your solution.

Via Marketing Charts

Consumers are turning to branded online communities for more than support. The challenge for companies is to keep customer engaged who are just looking for discounts and free content. (Via Marketing Charts)

The Post-Sale Jail

Communities, alongside product and help content, are oftentimes caught in the post-sale jail (Read this great whitepaper by Tim Walters, Ph.D. to learn more about this idea). Companies don’t recognize the value of this content and communities throughout the entire customer journey.

Since communities can rank highly in search engines, leaving this peer-to-peer badmouthing support channel in the post-sales jail tends to paint a poor picture for customers and prospects. Companies place much of their brand control efforts into marketing and sales, so communities and help content don’t get the same care.

According to (IDC), “buyers of technology report that interacting with technical content is the second-most important pre-sales activity.” Consumers are turning to Google to find out technical information about your products before they even reach out to your company.

Social communities might be great for brand awareness. But when it comes to converting likes to purchases, you’re not going to see a high rate of correlation between the two. With peer-to-peer branded communities, they’re often not even connected to the the commerce side of the business.

The Missing Link

If you’re going to have a branded online community that serves the entire customer journey, there’s a missing link to consider: the authoritative product and help content your company produces.

Peer-to-peer channels should not be viewed as a “support channel.” Customers are not a substitute for authoritative content. And yet, many companies see it as such. Peer-to-peer should instead be seen as an insight channel. Branded online communities are a great way to capture information about the customer’s experience with your brand.

By bringing your authoritative content into your branded community, you’re providing customers the support they need to succeed and the answers they need to validate your solution. With a good community manager and analytics linked to your authoritative content, you’re going to have insight into the way customers interact with your products.

The Customer Success Community

Customer success is about ensuring every interaction with the company helps customers become product experts. Companies who focus on customer success have increased their revenue by reducing churn and increasing upsells/cross-sells. Left to their own devices, online branded communities diminish customer success because, without the company’s authoritative content, the customers, and not the company, are positioned as the experts.

Brand loyalty requires your customer’s trust: trust in your product, trust in your sales and support teams. When you’re not the own expert in your community, you’re tacitly losing your customers trust.

To cash in on communities, you need to bring your authoritative content into the mix as the resource for your buyers and customers. They’re already coming to communities for more than support, you just need to make sure you’re meeting their needs.

Featured Image via Social Media Examiner

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Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant upon complex products offered by the ever-growing ranks of SaaS providers. From marketing automation to DevOps optimization, every department is becoming reliant upon cloud-based, continuously updated products. For these SaaS companies, managing these customer-company relationships during the sales process requires more involvement by the company. Unlike traditional businesses, they need to ensure customer success because the value of the contract is often realized over the lifetime of the contract, rather than upfront.

Sales Engineers Sell Customer Success

Sales Engineers are a crucial addition to these SaaS companies. Straddling Sales and Engineering, they bring technical expertise to the sales cycle. A good Sales Engineer validates the company’s products as a solution to the customer’s individual requirements. Their rich knowledge of the product is an invaluable resource to a sales team who is selling an ever-changing, technical product.

But Sales Engineers are humans who have families and probably participate in weekend softball leagues. They can’t be available 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, business is a 24 hour, 7 days a week game. Consumers are always connected to their work lives through their phones.  Over 80% of workers reported spending time working after clocking out for the day. Combine that with the fact that “buyers in general make buying decisions in which up to 70% of the buying decision is made based on information he or she finds online well before a salesperson has a chance to get involved” (LavaCon/Albee 2011) and a 9-5 Sales Engineer just isn’t enough.

The Always-On Sales Engineer

That’s why you need an always-on Sales Engineer.  Of course, I don’t mean saddling a poor Sales Engineer with the graveyard shift. Rather, I’m suggesting re-imagining the product and help content your company already produces as your top-notch sales engineer.

Consumer habits are changing and the only way to keep up with them is to optimize your customer support self-service for the sales cycle as well. Customers are looking to validate solutions through a company’s authoritative content, and they are turning to the internet to discover this information.

time-of-day-you-research-products-or-services-on-smartphone-or-tablet-for-your-business

Customer success is a 24/7 job. (Image via Search Engine Watch)

Most company’s online self-service is comprised of a combination of break/fix knowledge base articles, expansive PDFs, and Word documents. Customers turn to Google because they want to find what they need as quickly as possible. But when they encounter these disconnected knowledge base articles and overwhelming documents, they’re turned off to your brand. These experiences are occurring outside of your control.  You’re likely losing prospects before you even knew about them because they can’t find the information they need to justify investing the time to explore your solution.

There are four main benefits to transforming your content into an always-on Sales Engineer.

Making your Sales team shine

With robust and technical SaaS products, it’s impossible for many Sales Reps to have the technical expertise to answer all of a customer’s questions. That’s why Sales Engineers have become invaluable.  But an always-on, self service location for technical sales content can turn your Sales Reps into product superstars. In B2B sales, there are often multiple levels of expertise to manage depending on who you’re talking to, and with information at hand, Sales Reps can validate common technical concerns on their own while freeing up Sales Engineers for more complex sales.  

Optimized content for how customers behave today

Customers these days are mobile work-a-holics. They need information at all hours of the day delivered to their mobile devices. Customer success is all about ensuring customers are able to excel with your company at every step of the journey, including sales. By optimizing content for how consumers behave today, you’re ensuring all of your customers have an equal opportunity to be successful.

Capturing prospect behavior

The Internet has a ton of information, sure. But the Internet also generates a ton of information about its users. Companies are reaping the benefits of web analytics to better understand customers. By attracting customers in the sales cycle to your product and help content, you can use simple web analytics to gain a powerful picture of what drives the sales process.

Control over your brand

Every brand struggles with their online presence. There are too many third party and competitor sites competing for your customer’s attention. Optimizing your content for the web will help you control your brand because, when customers do branded searches they’re more likely to find your authoritative content. By transforming this content into a simple destination for your customers, you’re providing them with the valuable content they need to validate your products, rather than them turning to customer forums or competitors sites that speak ill of your product.

Customer success is all about reducing the effort your customers have to exert to become product experts. By turning the content you already produce into an always-on Sales Engineer, you’re beginning that process in the Sales cycle. This will set up your customers for more successful onboarding, increase product adoption, and make upselling and cross-selling more likely.

And who doesn’t want that?

 

Bug Fix for Search

  • To improve accessibility, when MindTouch users click on the next set of pages in the Genius Search Carousel, the thumbnails for those pages will now load.
  • Once auto-faceting has been configured on your site, you will now be able to see the Faceted Search breadcrumbs when you conduct a search from a “Topic,” “How-To,” or “Reference” article. If you would like to enable your deployment to auto-facet from wherever your user is on your site, please contact the MindTouch Customer Success Team

New and Updated Documentation

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We are over a third of the way through 2015, but that doesn’t mean it is too late to bring customer success to your organization.  In fact, shifts in the technology landscape and consumer behaviors are making 2015 a crucial year for customer success initiatives, while also making them even more valuable to companies and customers.

At MindTouch, we define customer success as an organization-wide devotion to constantly delivering value to customers that will rapidly transform them into product experts. There are four trends dominating business technologies this year that will have companies rethinking the way that they help create product experts out of their customers.

Mobile

According to comScore, over 60% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. Consumers are increasingly dependent on their smartphones to connect to family and friends, shopping, and learning about the world. Google has taken notice and recently updated their Google Search algorithms to favor mobile-friendly content.

Companies are looking to maximize their effectiveness over mobile web and through apps to ensure customers can find support and make purchases over mobile devices.  Mobile represents a large challenge for companies still, though, especially when it comes to product and support content. As consumer’s preference for doing everything on mobile devices shows no sign of slowing down, it’s crucial for companies to begin optimizing their user’s content experience for mobile devices. Doing so can, at minimum, reduce support costs.  But a truly optimized content experience can help companies drive sales by connecting prospective customers to the valuable content they need, wherever they are.

The Internet-of-Things

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The Internet of Things will keep you cool, only when you need it (via Nest).

The rise of intelligent machinery in 2015 doesn’t look quite as scary as it does in the movies. But without a doubt, the machines in our lives are becoming smarter as they are connected to the Internet. Companies are transforming anything with electricity into a smart device—from power-usage-aware washers to time-of-day sensitive lighting, our things are capable of receiving and sending a wealth of information to customers and companies.

Companies have never had more access to information about their customers. Creating product experts is the name of the game in customer success, and the amount of data made possible through the Internet of Things will give companies unprecedented insight into the successes and failures of customers with their products.

The challenge for companies in 2015 will be synthesizing this massive amount of data into a concerted plan to increase their customer’s success.

Analytics

The Moneyball revolution in Major League Baseball transformed the way teams assess their players. The advanced metrics made possible by today’s technology allows teams to get past subjective opinions and start making decisions based on comprehensive data. Today, tools like Google Analytics, content analytics, social media analytics, and other SaaS-based solutions work together to provide a Moneyball-esque picture of the customer.

Understanding customer behavior has never been easier, or more important. Basing strategic business decisions on these numbers, rather than subjective assessments of the customer, will help companies tailor their customer success initiative to the real-life-behavior of the customer. To highlight the importance of objective data, consider that 80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service while only 8% of consumers think these same companies deliver “superior” customer service (Lee Resources).  The challenge will be sifting through the massive amounts of data available to find what truly matters to the customer’s success.

Be the Brad Pitt of your organization.

Who doesn’t want to be the Brad Pitt of the company? (via Wikipedia)

Cloud-computing

Increasingly, companies are relying upon cloud-based services and infrastructure to improve efficiency and remove the burden of creating and maintaining infrastructure from Engineering teams. As Cloud-based apps and services become more advanced and pervasive in the consumer world, there is the potential to extend product experiences into wearables and second screens to enhance the customer experience.

By taking the strain of computing off of the device, products can achieve more than their physical components would normally allow. In the highest sense, the Cloud gives companies the ability for “real-time” content and contexts to better serve their customers.

One of the greatest challenges of customer success initiatives is transitioning from a reactive to a proactive approach. As the Cloud shifts the world from silos of on-premise information and capabilities, proactive customer success will become more and more feasible. Companies will be better able to manage accounts, reduce churn, and continuously improve the customer experience with the product thanks to the ability to circumvent the bumps in the road that throw customers off the path to success.

2015 is shaping up to be a monumental year in business technology, and companies who are customer-success-obsessed can take advantage of the trends to improve their customer’s experience.

 

Top 100 Customer Success Influencers

We’ve handpicked the Top 100 most influential minds in customer success. This downloadable report will help you discover the movers and shakers whose insight and advice will help you grow your business and transform your customers into brand advocates.

Whether you’ve been thinking about how to bring the benefits of customer success to your organization, or you’re a seasoned customer success pro, this report is guaranteed to introduce you to new and valuable voices.  

Pulse Conference 2015

If you’re going to be attending this year’s Pulse Conference 2015, these are the people you want to know before you go. Many of them will be attending this conference and if you get the chance to listen to them speak or meet them face-to-face, we highly suggest you take advantage of the opportunity. If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, use our promo code to get 20% off: MINDTOUCH. 

Companies who devote themselves to customer success throughout the customer journey are reaping the benefits. By ensuring customer’s success with their products, companies are reducing churn and lowering support costs. But the companies who truly excel at customer success are delivering value to their prospective customers through marketing and sales as well. By understanding what customers need in these stages, customer success-driven companies are accelerating sales cycles and increasing the sales funnel with stronger leads.

Top 100 Customer Success Influencers Report

The Influencers we’ve chosen span many industries, and each has their own unique vision for driving customer success within an organization. Each Influencer creates and shares content that delivers insight into what today’s most successful organizations are doing to reap the rewards of a customer-centric culture.  

Get the Top 100 Influencers in Customer Success Report now, and join the conversation!

Top 100 Customer Success Influencers’ Badge

Congratulations, here is your badge! You have earned it for your work in pushing the edges of your field. You’re an innovator that is elevating and promoting the field of customer success. Please share your achievement with the world by placing the badge on your blog, website, or LinkedIn page. Just grab the code below!

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<a href="http://www.mindtouch.com/blog/2015/05/06/mindtouch-reveals-the-top-100-influencers-in-customer-success" title="MindTouch Top 100 Customer Success Influencers"><img src="http://mndt.ch/2015Top100Patch" alt="MindTouch Top 100 Customer Success Influencers" border="0" ></a>

During Pulse 2015, we will be handing out prizes to our top 100 influencers!
Please schedule a meeting or stop by our booth. 

Have questions? Contact me directly at - [email protected]
Self Service

I’m a self-service junkie, and I cringe when I can’t find what I need on my phone. I’ve been in a relationship with smartphones (monogamously, I don’t have multiple phones) since I bought a Blackberry Pearl back in my junior year of high school. As the years have gone by (more than I’d like), I’ve become increasingly reliant upon it for all the answers I need. At the same time, it’s become increasingly more painful to use the phone to call anyone. If I can’t find the information online, it probably wasn’t important anyways. 

For years, MindTouch has extolled the value of online self service for customers. New research from Detecon resoundingly backs up our beliefs and my distaste for anything not self-service (read a great blog post by the folks at MyCustomer about the study here).  

According to the study, on average 78% of consumers polled embraced online self service. For E-Commerce, that number jumps up to 89% of customers. Even more interesting is the finding that 60% of customers use customer self service as a criterion with which to judge a brand. That means that self service is so important to customers that it represents a make-or-break element—if you don’t have it, you’re setting yourself up to lose them as a customer. 

Online self service is a crucial element to customer success. When it comes down to it, online self service is more than a way for companies to deflect tickets—and it’s definitely not a way to try to avoid customer service interactions. Online self service is all about reducing customer frustration by getting them the answers they need. Whether it’s a current customer looking for support help or a prospect looking to validate your solution, online self service makes customer success possible, without the frustrating wait times and repeated questions and solutions in other channels.