Every day at MindTouch we see companies come through our doors who find themselves with unhappy customers, low renewals and high support costs.
We’ve deduced the source of these problems to stem from poor relationship management. A relationship is a two-way street where the parties involved are happiest when all benefit. In the end, a social product help system resolves the relationship issues these companies experience and we want to share with you the secret to a healthy customer relationship: Give, Take, Share.
What should you give your customers? In a customer relationship, what you ‘give’ can either be extremely influential in pushing renewals, or completely useless. The key is to give the customer what they want- not what you think they want.
To begin, put a support platform in place that will facilitate your ‘giving’ goals. An online social help site is an excellent way to ensure your customers get the information and attention they want. It’s crucial that your online support site include a comprehensive knowledgebase that stores every technical document and media item that could possibly relate to your product. This process is much easier and painless when you get a knowledgebase with in-context WYSIWYG editing, collaborative authoring, versioning, permissions, staging and development of draft/approval workflow.
Just because you have all your content in one place does not mean you’ve given your customers something they want. It is crucial to organize your content into rational hierarchies with every document linking to related content. There should be no dead ends or dead links. This knowledge base must be dynamic and easily navigable otherwise you give the customer an unusable mess that will only result in more frustration, anger and fallout. Once you’ve done your best to give users the tools you think they need, you must keep tabs on what they’re ‘taking’ in order to understand if you have actually given them what they want.
When users come onto a support platform, their goal is to ‘take.’ They might have never thought of their support usage in this way, but essentially their goals are to go onto the site, find answers to their questions and take away the knowledge to apply to their product usage. In this sense, ‘take’ is a wonderful thing because it means the user has found information they consider valuable enough to ingest.
There are ways to measure the ‘take’ on your social help site. In-site analytics provide an immediate and accurate report of customer interaction with your content. You can also use search analytics to view which articles are most frequently clicked on from a set of search terms and update your documentation accordingly.
For example, if a user searches, “account setup” a list of most frequently clicked answers from that search will appear. Also, if you have recently come out with an “account setup” update you can promote the documentation for that update at the top of the ‘account setup’ search results. Be sure to use an adaptive search that learns from user interactions and continues to get better as users score content, visit, click and interact with pages. Finally, a feedback mechanism is crucial to understanding the true value of the content you’re delivering.
Sharing is a fundamental and often overlooked part of the customer relationship. The goal for companies should be to turn their customers into product advocates. Make this happen by giving your customers the tools they need to become product experts by following the ‘Give’ and ‘Take’ guidelines. These self-made product experts will know what features and benefits your product offers, will be more invested in your technology or service, require less assistance and will be highly likely to renew with you rather than jump ship to a competitor. Product Experts will share their positive experiences with others and have credibility behind their reviews. Your brand will strengthen. We know this because our customers come back to us and rave about the brand advocates their social product help site created. Additionally, your users will inject knowledge and ideas back into your social product help site giving you a knowledgebase that grows in value, breadth and expertise.
A relationship is a two way street. If your company gives its customers what they want, they will take that information and share it with others. Both you and your customers benefit- and isn’t that what a good relationship is all about?