On June 4, 2015 MindTouch will no longer support Pro Members usage on Internet Explorer 8.  We have tirelessly reviewed and discussed this topic and came to this conclusion for multiple reasons:

  1. Total IE8 usage on all MindTouch deployments have dropped below 2.5% since November 2014 and looks to be continually dropping.Browsers
  2. SalesForce and other industry leading enterprise companies have already dropped IE8 support in multiple areas of their software and announced complete support deprecation for IE8.
  3. Due to IE8′s incompatibility with HTML5 and various JavaScript libraries, it is incapable of keeping up with new and improved internet technologies.
  4. This will provide our Engineering Team more time to focus on stronger and more secure optimizations by not having to support such an old browser version.

On March 25, 2015 we are going to display a notification for Pro-Members when they access MindTouch software using an unsupported browser.  This will better help users triage any issues they may come across when navigating through MindTouch with an unsupported browser.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and encourage all MindTouch users to use the latest browser version for system security.  We stand behind the statement of Microsoft, the creator and developer of Internet Explorer, “For customers not yet running the latest browser available for your operating system, we encourage you to upgrade and stay up-to-date for a faster, more secure browsing experience.”  We encourage all MindTouch users to read more about Microsoft’s future developments with Internet Explorer as they have announced complete deprecation of IE8 support on January 12, 2016 along with deprecated support of their IE9 and IE10 on Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems.  It is our belief that Microsoft is moving towards automatic browser updates to enhance performance and security.  If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please contact the MindTouch Customer Success Team.

Image credit Top10Reviews

Feature Update: Search
  • MindTouch 4 customers will notice that the search results interface has been updated.  Along with a smoother, sleeker interface the optimization also includes the following changes:
    • The pro-member page rating icons have been updated to match the page feedback icons.
    • Previously, the classification filtering options would not display on the search results if a carousel was not visible.  In some situations, this dependency could limit the search experience.  This update will provide your customers with the option to filter results by classification in the absence of search carousel.
    • The interface update will help in the future development of MindTouch search and efforts to provide an optimized experience for different screen sizes.
 
Bug Fix for Authors
  • When entering a page summary in the page settings interface, modifications to the summary text would remain in place after cancelling the entry.  This experience could lead to confusion as to whether the modifications were saved or not.  Modifications to the page summary will now be removed upon cancellation.

Bug Fix for Site Administrators

  • When managing users with a third party authentication providers such as LDAP or Active Directory, user role changes in the control panel would result in an error. 
Tip for Site Administrators
New and Updated Documentation
Customer Success Is Goin' Mobile

On April 21, Google updated their search engine algorithms to favor mobile-friendly webpages accessed through smartphones globally and across all languages (in other words, a seriously huge update).  While this has many marketers and webmasters scrambling to update their websites, people who value customer success could stand to learn a thing or two from Google’s recent changes

Though they don’t call it customer success, Google’s changes are all aimed at increasing their customer’s success with their product—a goal with which many companies struggle. Google’s mission is to provide their users the best experience and the most relevant, up-to-date, and valuable content possible. The algorithm changes are their way of improving their customer’s chance at success. Here are some things they’re concerned with that every customer success practitioner should be as well.

1. Customer Behavior is Changing 

The days of desktop-based web-surfing are quickly disappearing. Customers rely on their mobile devices more and more to do work, make purchases, and learn. In fact, 60% of all online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets (comScore).

Companies looking to promote their customer’s success need to be able to provide the best experience possible, regardless of what device is used. By meeting the shifting behaviors of consumers, companies can provide more engaging experiences by being always-available, always-helpful (because who doesn’t have a smartphone on them at all times?).

This is how people act nowadays, statistically speaking.

This is how people act nowadays, statistically speaking.

2. Customer Experience is King

By understanding their user’s behavior, Google is now ensuring that they are optimizing the typical user experience—which means boosting mobile-friendly pages while devaluing pages that are clunky on mobile devices. 

Gathering customer data isn’t enough when it comes to ensuring customer success. Companies need to take action on that data to create the most intuitive, frustration-free customer experience.

3. Content Should Be Relevant, Valuable

Google has moved beyond links and meta keywords to evaluate how relevant content is to their users. Many of the recent updates have been aimed at providing searchers content that is relevant to them, including factors like location, and authoritative.

Nothing is more valuable to your customer’s success than the help content and product documentation your company produces. To help promote customer success, it is vital that the content your company produces is up-to-date, authoritative, and easy to navigate. While marketing material has it’s function, focus on maximizing the help content and product documentation that will make your customers product experts 

4. Trust is Earned, Not Purchased

Many of Google’s search algorithm changes are in response to the way people (read: marketers) tried to game the system through link spamming, doorway pages, and keyword stuffing. The result was a lot of useless results that didn’t match the searcher’s intention.  Through their updates these past few years, Google has clearly signaled to site owners that only valuable, relevant content (that is mobile-friendly) deserves to be in the coveted top three results. Google recognized that their customer’s trust in their product was critical.

For companies with complex products, customers often turn to the company for assistance to be successful with the product. It may be through email, phone calls, or (likely at first) through Google search. But if you can’t deliver the value they need, customers won’t trust you to get the job done. That’s when they turn to third-party sites, and in the worst case, your competitors.

Just because a customer purchased your product, it doesn’t mean that you’ve earned their trust.  That process begins in the sales process, and continues on through onboarding and support.

5.  Constant Improvement is the Only Option

As stressful as the constant changes to their search algorithms can be (especially to marketers), Google understands the importance of constantly improving their product to make their customers more successful. There has been a big push from Google to deliver search results that respond to the searcher’s intention, rather than just the keywords entered. And Google will certainly continue to develop smarter algorithms to provide even better results in the future to make their customers more successful.

Companies are always working to improve their products. But a company that focuses on customer success wants their customers to constantly improve with the product. This is a difficult goal to achieve when your company produces complex products and services without the content the customer needs available to them at all times, wherever they are. 

A Culture of Customer Success

There are many more lessons that the success of Google’s search can teach companies, but when it comes to “customer success” these are the key elements. Any company looking to promote customer success will note how all of the points here reflect the culture of the company, and not just the product. Customer success is not just a marketing term or a re-branding of customer support. It’s a cultural approach that infects every aspect of the organization. It’s knowing that the customer’s success means your success. 

 

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If you haven’t heard by now, today, April 21, is officially Mobilegeddon: the day Google changes its search algorithms to favor mobile-friendly websites.

Companies who value customer success know that Google is a crucial point for prospective and current customers. But while the online FAQs and PDFs might work for laptops and desktops with ample screen space (but really, they’re not okay), the fact is that 60% of online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets (comScore). And anyone who has opened a PDF on a smartphone knows it is an awful thing to try and manage.

Meeting Customers Needs

Google recognizes the shift in consumer behavior. And if your company values their online real estate, then you’re going to want to make the shift to mobile-friendly as soon as possible.

Odds are, your company already has a pretty mobile-friendly home page.  But a quick evaluation of most company’s online help centers shows how poorly constructed they are for a desktop experience, let alone a mobile experience. The product documentation and help content in these help centers is often given the short end of the stick by companies because they believe this content is useless for leads and conversions.

Customer Success in the Mobile Age

But the “success” of customer success is about providing customers every available resource to become product experts, whether they’re prospective customers validating your solution, or current customers looking to learn how to use your product.  Ample research shows that customers prefer to do research online before buying, and that they prefer to self-serve online.

The help content that you put online in downloadable PDFs and a clunky assortment of break/fix articles is now less likely to be found by your customers using smartphones (which is a lot of your customers). Not only are you frustrating them, you’re increasing the likelihood of them turning to a third-party source for support or validation, and increasing the likelihood that they will call support (and nobody likes that).

So if you’re serious about customer success (you should be), then Mobilegeddon should be a call to arms to transform your product content sitting in Word docs and PDFs into the mobile-optimized content your customers (and brand) need to survive. 

Want to Learn More About Mobilegeddon?

If you’re interested in learning more about the Google’s mobile friendly shift, you should check out these articles:

Google’s blog post on the shift towards “Finding more mobile-friendly search results

Google’s guide to Avoiding Common Mobile SEO Mistakes

Search Engine Land’s Guide to Mobilegeddon

Now What?

If you are ready to deliver the content your customer’s need to be successful in a mobile ready format, then sign up for a product tour with MindTouch to see how we will transform all of your product and help content into mobile-friendly, SEO rich online real estate. 

Recently, MindTouch, Zuora, and Salesforce hosted an event at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, entitled “Engaging the Customer—A Full 360 Approach,” for local business leaders to get together and discuss how they’re disrupting industries and engaging customers throughout the whole customer journey.

The headliners for the night were Aaron Fulkerson, CEO at MindTouch, Ron Huddleston, Senior VP Global ISV & Channel Alliances at Salesforce,  and Richard Terry-Lloyd, Senior Vice President at Zuora. 

Check out some images from the event!

Though the event brought together businesses from all industries, it was great to see a common belief in the importance of customer success and customer engagement across all of these different spaces. 

We are looking forward to the next one!

Bug Fix for MindTouch Editors

  • When creating a hyperlink to an absolute URL, the title attribute would display as “undefined”. The title attribute displays when a user hovers over a hyperlink. In the next release, a link to an absolute URL will display the url in the title attribute.
  • When creating a new page with a content template, MindTouch would display an error in place of the selected template. This situation would only occur if the page was newly created and not previously saved. In the following release, you will be able to add content templates to a new page as expected.
  • Previously, the page settings interface would display formatted text (bold, italic, etc) that was pasted into the page summary field. This experience may have been misleading because the page summary field only permits plain text. In the upcoming release, formatted text will display as plain text when pasted into the page summary field. 

New Training Videos

New and Updated Documentation

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[Warning: No Spoiler Alerts] Even as I sit in an office overlooking downtown San Diego on a clear spring morning, I know winter is coming. This isn’t winter in George R.R. Martin’s Westeros, of course, but instead winter in the realm of Google. The way Google’s search algorithms work are about to undergo a major shift (or two) that will make controlling your brand on Google Search an even bigger priority

In the spirit of the return of Game of Thrones to TV and Google’s Lannister-esque machinations (okay, not really), I thought it might be fun to bring a little fantasy to the way we talk about Google Search.

Not that winter. The bad sort of winter.

Not that winter. The bad sort of winter.

Most companies understand how important it is to have a strong presence in Google Search results. They purchase relevant keywords to their brands through pay-per-click and game their home pages to rank higher in these strategic keywords. These efforts are like sending out the cavalry to scout out enemy territory.  These keywords bring you into direct conflict with your competitors.

 Any good King of the North would send out these cavalry expeditions to explore unknown lands with the hope of conquering new territory. Competing in this space is crucial to developing brand awareness around the keywords that matter the most to your company.  But when the majority of your SEO strategy for Google Search revolves around this outbound, scouting effort, it ignores a crucial element.  If the entire army is out roaming the hills, who guards your castle?

What is the castle in this metaphor?  The castle is your brand in Google Search. Sure, sending out the cavalry through PPC ads is great when customers don’t know about your brand. But what happens when they do know about your brand? When they knock on the castle gates, who answers?

The idea of branded search is this: I’m your prospective customer who is looking to validate the capabilities of your product.  Or, I’m a current customer looking for self-service support.  The natural thing for me to do is to open up a browser window and search Google for “[Company Name] + search terms.” For example, “Acme Software add new user.”  What do customers find when they search this? 

If your company is like most companies, what customers will find is some mix of competitor’s ads, third party websites, community forums, and your own marketing material.  Not only is this a frustrating experience for your customers, it can quickly make you lose customers to competitors or have them scared away by negative third party reviews.  If you’re not controlling your branded Google Search, it’s like the enemy’s army is waiting at the gate for your customers.

The best way to gain control over your branded search is to provide Google Search the authoritative content your prospective and current customers need. If Google can find these long-tail keywords related to your brand, you’ll be in control of the conversation about your brand. The product documentation and help content you already create to support your customers is exactly what’s needed to guard the castle from invading forces. All you need to do is put it into a format that Google loves.  [Hint: Google loves MindTouch.]

And perhaps winter won’t come so soon.

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After years of sitting in the rearview mirror, Web Self-Service has motored past phone support as the preferred channel for customers to receive support help.  A new report from Forrester details the shift in the consumer support landscape and argues that many companies are failing to deliver effective support help in a way that customers want.

According to the report, in 2014 web self-service was the channel of choice for 76% of people—up from 67% two years prior. Phone support, on the other hand, has remained stagnant at 73%. The convenience of technologies like smartphones and search engines have allowed web self-service to become mainstream, and customers are gladly ditching the frustration of long hold times and inconsistent support staff experiences characteristic of phone-based support for all but the most complex problems.

The report argues that companies need to quickly adopt best practices surrounding multi-channel support strategies in order to continue to satisfy the customer’s demands. One of the areas that companies are lacking in is consistently providing context for customers and agents. As the growth of multi-channel support scatters context about the customer’s support history across multiple channels (and perhaps departments, if social media is solely owned by marketing). Without the context, agents lack the insight into the customer’s journey. That means time-wasting, repetitive questions are necessary when customers call into agents for questions they couldn’t answer through web-self-service.

Report co-author Kate Leggett acknowledges “We’re seeing very few implementations that pass the context to the agent. Most companies implement channels in silos or loosely integrate them so the agent doesn’t know what the customer has already done.” 

Along with context, the report finds that the content could be better—or at least, more consistent. According to the report, while most companies provide customers some form of a knowledge or FAQ database, only 44% of companies provide their support agents the same resources.  As customers move to multi-channel support, it is more important than ever to provide a consistent content experience.

At MindTouch, the belief is that web self-service married to context and authoritative content is the key to creating customer success from marketing and sales to support and renewal. As the report notes, web self-service has increasingly become the customer’s preferred channel for support, but a web self-service strategy cannot limit itself to support. Customers turn to Google at every step of the customer journey to learn about your company. Whether they need support, or they’re looking to validate a requirement, or they are looking to learn how to become a better user of your product, web self-service content needs to be able to support the customer throughout the entire journey.

If your web self-service strategy is not meeting the needs of customers throughout the entire customer journey, you are disappointing your current and prospective customers. With MindTouch, you can transform all of the support and product content your organization produces into a search optimized, mobile-optimized experience to meet the needs of customers at every stage of the journey.

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Feature Update: MindTouch Dashboard

  • The MindTouch Dashboard provides a centralized interface for your employees to access all of the available reports and content management tools. We are now officially graduating this feature out of the “Beta”. Thanks to input from our expert customers, we have made numerous improvements to this feature while in Beta. We encourage you to read more about this feature at the MindTouch Customer Success Center.

Bug Fix for Side Tray Search Auto-Faceting

HelpRequest Usage Data

  • Due to an encoding error, some of your HelpRequest usage activity was not accounted for in your MindTouch Usage Report. Once the issue was recognized, the source data was reprocessed. All HelpRequest data has been repopulated and is correctly displaying in your MindTouch Usage Report. 

New Training Videos

New and Updated Documentation

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Odds are, if you’re not already using a CRM system, you’re looking into one. Businesses are looking to find solutions that will help them adapt to the quickly changing consumer landscape. In “The Gartner CRM Vendor Guide, 2015,” you will find an exhaustive analysis of the “digital CRM technologies that drive growth and elevate the customer experience.” CRM systems and the accompanying software that allows businesses to meet their needs are continuing to grow at a healthy rate, due in large part to the extensive ecosystem of products and services that bolster them.

The report highlights many elements of the CRM landscape, including knowledge management. It devotes a sizeable amount of space to discussing the role and value of Knowledge Management for businesses using CRM solutions. the Gartner report note that “[Knowledge management] emphasizes an integrated approach to managing an enterprise’s knowledge assets, which are made up of the information available to an enterprise about its best practices, critical business processes and operating environment.”

Gartner has included MindTouch as one of the top solutions for knowledge management. As the study notes of KM solutions, MindTouch brings together the people and processes that comprise a business, helping solve one of the main challenges CRM solutions seek to remedy: getting the right information to the right people. MindTouch can help businesses meet the challenge of delivering content to all engagement channels and to all devices. Technologies like MindTouch are crucial to any business’s CRM initiative, because it helps companies leverage the content they already produce throughout every channel to meet the demands of customers from marketing and sales, to support, and beyond.

At MindTouch, we believe that making people successful is the key to a business, whether its the employee or the customer. That’s why we continue to craft a product that helps deliver the right content at the right time, because this content is the cornerstone of successful customer relationship management. If there isn’t the content to make someone successful, then there won’t be much of a meaningful relationship, especially for a SaaS-based company. If you’d like to learn more about how MindTouch can elevate your CRM initiative, check out our on-demand webinar about bringing Customer Success to your organization.

You can learn more about the CRM landscape, along with best practices and useful recommendations by accessing Gartner’s report, “The Gartner CRM Vendor Guide, 2015.”