Zoomin recently hosted the second installment of our monthly FLOURISH executive roundtable series. In this series, our community of customer success and customer experience executives from market-leading companies meet to share ideas around empowering customers to grow and thrive independently. The purpose of these roundtable discussions is to create a valuable space for executives to share what’s worked, challenge assumptions, and be inspired by like-minded industry leaders.
In our May event, participants explored the idea of driving customer adoption through content-led growth. In other words, how to better leverage content to extend low-touch strategies that enable customers to onboard and adopt on their own. The participants shared some of the key lessons they learned from implementing content-led growth strategies, as well as the challenges they face.
Here are some of the main takeaways from our CS and CX leaders:
Deliver content that is relevant and personalized
A popular topic at the roundtable was how to make content not only available to customers, but tailored and personalized to their specific needs and stage of the journey. Our participants warned that simply building a channel for customers to find answers is enough.
One VP of a digital identity verification company shared his experience of learning this the hard way. He explained, “we just put our content up on our site and thought OK, now the customers will come and find it and everything’s great.” Alas, that was not the case as customers were then faced with lengthy 40-page plus PDFs they had to spend time trawling through to get the information they needed.
“We realized that, yes, customers have access to documentation but that’s not good enough,” the VP continued. “We need to be able to circle back to who the personas are, which personas are viewing the documentation, and gain a better understanding of how they want to consume the information. And then where they want to consume it.”
In a bid to make the content experience more effective for customers, his team began splitting up the customer journey and mapping the content accordingly. “For example, when it comes to onboarding, we’re usually working with developers and they want to consume them in a certain way. So we’re creating a developer hub for documentation. I know Zoomin has a great solution that presents documentation inside the product itself, so that’s also a really great way to showcase your documentation as well.”
Another VP at a Cloud Software company confirmed his team was facing a similar struggle. “We’ve got a load of content. But the one thing we’ve never really done well is correlating it with a customer’s journey,” he shared. ”The question is how do we find the right material and give it to them in a way that they can consume it?”
Content-led growth means equipping customers with the right knowledge at the right time, depending on the context, their needs, and their stage of the journey. But don’t assume the customer is understanding their own product journey. You need to validate that they are understanding it. “Our usage data is really limited,” admitted one participant, “so our ability to understand where they’re at after the onboarding and first use case kind of gets lost.” Leveraging solutions that offer actionable insights into how customers are using your content can help make data-driven decisions into how to optimize content at every stage of the journey.
Planning a successful customer journey is knowing what customers will need ahead of time before they need to ask for it. Try to be able to identify friction points throughout the customer lifecycle so you can predict what the customer will need the support with. It can be something like observing support ticket data. If your data says that this is a common ticket that happens in a certain timeframe of the customer journey, then send that support information about 24 hours prior to the customer.
One participant described it as just in time messaging. “When you understand your customer journey and you’re able to supplement it with data. Whether its usage data or support data to be able to identify friction points in their life cycle. Then, being able to say ‘okay our customers are trying to accomplish this and it’s their first week of being a customer. What information do they need to know to be successful?’ ”
Build a skilled team for content-led growth
When implementing a content-led growth strategy you need quality content. But your content doesn’t just appear on its own. It requires building the right skillset within teams and great inter-team collaboration.
“You need people first, to create meaningful content. You need people who have the ability to navigate the organization, to work with our teams in marketing, to work with our teams in product, to be able to put together the relevant materials that would generate the customers interest,” one VP shared. “ Also, what we found that worked was people who had experience in building communities. These are people who are Community Managers, they support our user groups and chat rooms so we can reach out to the customers. We also have webinars so we needed very creative people who could actually create that content as well as have the skill to be able to engage with customers.”
Creating skilled teams who develop your content is also advised. “We basically created a team dedicated to content development and maintenance,” mentioned another participant. “Then we also created a program management group to think about how to deliver all of that content. So a lot of the instructional design is already taken care of. We don’t have to think about rebuilding the content, it’s already there. Now we just have a team that’s thinking about what that customer journey looks like and all the different market segments that we’re trying to get involved with. Then they determine what the best ways are to send out all of the rich content we have.”
Break out of organizational silos
As Michael Jordan once said, “talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” So why is there such a gap between finding superstar talent and actually creating a “dream team?”
“Within customer success, on our own, we cannot automate the start of a digital touch journey,” noted a participant. “We need product to be on board, to be able to support us by externally sending us data so that we understand that not using this feature. We need marketing on board to help us make the material fun and reach out to the customers. I think that’s where we are on our journey and we’re struggling with that a little bit.”
At any rate, siloed organizations cannot move quickly and efficiently. But leaders must get out in front of cross-functional teams and use all hands to put the customer first. At times this can be as simple as developing close partnerships with peers at cross-functional teams. Allow these teams to provide their thoughts on how they think scaling customer success will look. Because after all, everyone wants to feel like they are being heard. The bottom line should be serving the customer the right content at the right time for their journey.
One participant shared their fantastic practice of bringing the voice of the customer back into the room. “At any meeting I’m in, I start with a customer story. Even if I’m leading a meeting with product or engineering, I begin the meeting with the customers to just remind ourselves why we are all here: to provide our customers with an outstanding experience.”
We’d like to thank our roundtable participants for taking the time out of their busy day to share their insights in this growing FLOURISH community. Don’t forget to request an invite to attend our next executive roundtable on June 2nd where we will discuss how to better leverage data to drive digital customer success.