Special episode - Product Content: The Unsung Hero of CX

October 27, 2022
19 min

The definition and application of CX differs from company to company, just like customers differ. The one thing that doesn’t change is the demand for exceptional self-service experiences and the key to creating them—product content.

In this special episode,  our amazing new host Gal Oron, CEO of Zoomin, highlights what we’ve been hearing from some of the world’s leading companies about the importance of content.

Listen in for their insights and techniques on utilizing this virtual gold dust to best support your customer’s on their journeys.

You’ll learn:

- Why you should get creative with how you’re delivering content to make sure it’s available at the right time and in the right format

- Content speaks for your sales teams when they’re not in the room, make sure it says great things about your organization

- How your customers interact with the knowledge you provide speaks volumes, pay attention and make adjustments accordingly

Speaker 1:

Flourish CX. The only show helping CX leaders do one thing, empower their customers. Each episode democratizes best practices while leaving you feeling both inspired and equipped to take action. Let's get to it.

Gal Oron:

Hello and welcome to a special episode of Flourish CX. I'm Gal Oron the CEO of Zoomin. I want to pause a little bit and look at the standout team we keep hearing about in the industry, exceptional self-service experiences. It's no secret customer want to be empowered to solve problems independently and continue on their journeys uninterrupted. The driving force behind making that happen seamlessly is product content. So how are companies using this virtual goal to create better CX outcomes? Let's listen to a few clips from past guests and learn from their rich insights and experiences. We'll start with Naren Dukkipatti, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering and MasterCard. During a conversation with Shannon Katschilo, Naren broke down the importance of being able to deliver the right information to the right customers and setting up feedback loops to make sure you've been successful.

Naren Dukkipatti:

My team is responsible for delivering technical documentation to our customers. As you know, our business is a little bit unique where any changes we do in our core systems impact our customers. So whenever we make a quarterly release to our core systems, we've got to provide release and technical documentation to our customers, which then basically they're used code their systems to make sure that any new changes in our systems would rightly impact them. It's very important, right? Not just from technical health aspect, but the documentation, the specification is key, and not all documentation and specification can be shared across all of MasterCard customers. There is strict guidance regulations around who has access to what.

Leveraging the Zoomin platform. What we have built is a robust authentication authorization mechanism where the only customers who have access to those documentation will be able to view it through our portal called MasterCard Connect. The customers who are logging into MasterCard Connect using the access privileges that we have built in using the Zoomin platform will be able to only view documentation that they have access to, and they would be able to basically code against that specification. We deliver close to 2000 announcements to our customers on an annual basis, and this process of making sure that it's a seamless experience for them is a key thing for us in making sure that our customers have the right information, the right time, and in a seamless fashion.

Shannon Katschilo:

Can you talk to us a little bit more about how you measure the success of the self service efforts that you've deployed? I'd like to hear a little bit more about how successful those campaigns are.

Naren Dukkipatti:

There's multiple ways of doing it, right? One is, we have an online audit mechanism for this announcements where customers can actually say how useful the documentation is for them. That provides us with information, how its being useful for them, and there are many kinds of feedback on that part for the documentation. They can provide that in a seamless fashion when they're on that particular document itself, that would then feed back to our product managers, then basically they can use it for enhancing it or making the changes as required. The other one is unsolicited feedback where we actually meet with them on a quarterly basis and then they provide feedback on how the documentation is working for them and what enhancements can be done. There's multiple ways, and then there's also this voice of customer, voice of internal customers as well that would provide us with tons of data where we can make improvements on how we can better sell the customer in terms of documentation.

The other part of the content is why we're talking about the technical specification. The other important aspect of content for us is the knowledge articles. Where we serve the content up for our agents, which is basically when the case comes up, the agent would have access to knowledge articles. We use artificial intelligence where we can serve the content or the knowledge articles based upon what case they are dealing. It's called the next best action for the agent where they know what they need to look at, at this point of time, and that when that content is available for them, they would be able to close the case much more effectively. At the same time, what we're also doing is on the web channel, we are publishing that content in a much more easily accessible fashion for our customer, so that way they don't even have to reach out to our agents or our channels to ask for help. That help is already available for them online as well.

Gal Oron:

But even when customers aren't providing literal feedback, their actions can speak for themselves. Dominic Constandi, senior Vice President of customer success at ZoomInfo says, "Measuring the behavior of people opting into your knowledge offerings, is the key to understanding what's working and how customers derive value from your content."

Dominic Constandi:

As you think about the self-service piece, you've got different sorts of echelons of either digitization, self-serve, or kind of scale plays. If you're a company that has tens of thousands of customers, you are going to be in a position, unless you have an absolute veritable army of just CS people just falling off of trees, I think every CS leader would say, "Gosh, I could really use more people." But one of the things to think about there is, that notion of whenever we think about something that may be more digitized or may be something that scales, the thing that we often think about is, to your point, if I were to run, let's say, one on one trainings, versus webinar trainings, versus university knowledge center type trainings, right? You've got three different sort of flavors of customer education, customer empowerment, and any time we think about introducing these or where we bring those various resources and vectors of education to bear, I'm always looking to say, not just to your point, "Well, what's the CSAT at coming out of this one versus this one versus this one."

It's really digging deeper and saying, "Well, okay, the CSAT a story, it's a lens, right? The NPS is a lens. But ultimately, what's the journey that those people then go on from there, measure that, measure my cohort that signed up for the knowledge center or the certification course, measure the cohort that took part in the webinars, measure the cohort that got maybe the one on one session, and follow that journey and be really, really data driven around how you are comparing that journey and that outcome for those folks. The lifetime value piece. That's going to tell you... When you look at things that critically and you try to be as data driven as you can in that respect, it's going to tell you what vectors are the ones to invest more in or the ones that aren't working for you.

I think that what I'm probably espousing for here is, trying to, even with digitization, even with scale motions, remembering to benchmark yourself against other vectors through which you can deliver that service for the customer, so that you can get a sense of is the customer deriving value? Because you can tell me that you've got this really fancy knowledge center that you've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in, but is the content good? Is it easy to navigate? Do customers not know it's there? Thinking a little bit about some of, again, those funnel metrics. How many people logged into your knowledge center? How many people checked out the article? How many people went and did the thing that the knowledge article said? Just trying to make sure that you, with digitization, you've got a wonderful digital exhaust that tends to come from that, but remembering to keep pulling on that thread and asking that question around it. What's the outcome? What's the value? What are the things that you look at for your business that say that a customer is deriving value?

Gal Oron:

Now the technical content is proving to be a game changer as companies are leveraging more mediums to deliver it. Like Nanhi Singh, chief customer officer at Imperva who has seeing success in providing short, digestible videos that show customers exactly how to solve an issue.

Nanhi Singh:

For a long time, we had not paid attention to the self-service aspect. What we realized was that you can never throw enough people at the requests that are coming in. The best thing to do is to enable the customer to be able to help themselves. We invested in a couple of different areas, one of them is documentation and access to really high-quality documentation, not just on the documentation portal, but also from within our case management system. So when the customer on the customer portal is opening a support case, then the system uses the documentation that we have to provide suggestions to solve the problem themselves. That has been really game changing. We measured case deflection to see whether a customer who started to open a case was able to solve the problem for themselves without having to actually open the case itself.

The other thing that we really focused on is providing bite sized nuggets of content to our customers, and video has been a tremendous media to really deliver meaningful content to our customers. Obviously what they don't want to see is a talking head, what they want to see is the screens that they have to work with or sample codes that they could use and scripts that they could use and so on. We really have been focusing on delivering video content in short bites that they can consume easily. These are not 30 minute videos, these are five minute to 10 minutes, some are even shorter than that, which just gives the customer exactly what they're looking for. I don't think this is anything unique, look at YouTube, it's filled with resources like this. That's been a big part of it.

Gal Oron:

Carla Guzetti, VP customer experience and product messaging at Extreme Networks is also deploying a video based approach to technical content. She called this the crux of self-service.

Carla Guzetti:

We use self-soothe to describe our environment rather than self-service, because we're providing the service. I think the context is a little bit switched based on the industry that we're talking about. Because I think self-services, and I'm not going to say that I'm a hundred percent accurate in this, but by and large, a lot of the times self-service I find is used in a very traditional SaaS environment, in a software as a service environment, where the user is trying to accomplish something on their own.

Whereas in our context, we like to use self-soothe, because most of the time our users are actually usually engineers themselves. They purchased our service for a number of reasons, and what we're trying to help with the soothing is if they run into a trouble spot. We're trying to soothe any kind of issue they might potentially have, particularly in that onboarding process, but also management process so that they don't feel like they have to actually go to register a ticket with G-Tech or things like that. We want the product to be able to find their own way to solve their problem. So we call it soothe rather than self-service.

Speaker 8:

I really like it, and you're right. What we're seeing also is that customers, regardless if you're a customer in a B2B organization or even in the B2C, we want to do everything possible to not log a ticket and wait, we all want access at our fingertips. It sounds like when engineers, really bright, capable people, they want the data experience as well to do it on their own. Can you talk a little bit more about technical content and the role that plays in serving up information and making it accessible? Do you have a consolidated portal or how are you serving up that level of content and the journey of onboarding?

Carla Guzetti:

Oh my goodness, you've just hit on my most favorite topic about content, I'll [inaudible 00:12:40].

Speaker 8:

Wow, you're unique. Okay, let's hear it.

Carla Guzetti:

I know I'd [inaudible 00:12:46], I'm exposing my nerd credentials right now. Technical content is actually crucial to, whether you call it self-service or self-soothing, it is the crux of everything. I think it is something that is frequently overlooked by every organization, because it is crucial to get this figured out and organized and to have everything centralized in order to be able to scale that self soothing or that self-service. Technical content is really interesting because I do have a user enablement team within the experience group. And previously we actually called them InfoDev, and then before that they were technical documentation.

When I started working with them, I said, "We're going to rebrand ourselves," because we're actually user enablement. Because not only do we have deep technical documentation, as you can imagine, there's a lot of complexity in networking, so it requires some very technical writing. But I said, "We're going to level that up," because also we need to think about how do we help the user find their way through this product and understand what are the features that are going to deliver the most value to them. So within our user enablement team, we actually have two groups, one that is focused on video and one that is focused on written content. We use both within the product, but we are deploying a video first strategy and understanding those moments of value through the user journey when they're in the product.

Then we have to tag all of this content, both to our community and to our partner portals and our customer portals and our website. We've actually just right now rewriting our entire information architecture and taxonomy for our website and also for our end product and consolidating our CMS and our digital asset manager. We're bringing on a brand new dam and a brand new CMS with a whole new information architecture. It is the nervous system. It is the backbone of your entire customer experience. Whether you're a partner or a user or someone who's just coming to our website for the very first time, we will have all of that content unified and tagged appropriately so that we know what to serve up based on where that person is in the journey, whether it's on partner journey or a customer journey.

Gal Oron:

Now, if all those experts haven't convinced you that content plays an important role in CX, here's David Hoare, VP of content at ServiceNow. He has the numbers to prove that solid content delivered in the right way, drive sales, adoption and renewals.

David Hoare:

I believe content plays a critical role throughout the customer's journey, from pre-sales through adoption, through support, and all the way through the renewal cycle, content is always there. In a way you can think about it as content is doing the talking when you are service and sales people are not in the room. It's really important that your content is on brand, is accurate, and is really doing a lot of work for you in those gaps in between the points that you engage with.

Speaker 8:

Can you talk to me a little bit more about the customer journey and you spoke a little bit about onboarding. But can you talk to us a little bit more about ServiceNow and your role, and thinking about the role that content has all the way from evaluation and then driving time to value. We would love to kind of hear a little bit more about how you look at that life cycle at ServiceNow.

David Hoare:

When folks think about product documentation or technical documentation, the first thing that they think about is adoption. For us, our developers and our systems administrators are going to the documentation, understanding what ServiceNow is, understanding how they will be using it and adopting it for their purposes. One of the interesting things we see is, the visitors who come to us versus those that don't, we see about a 13% higher adoption rate amongst those visitors. We know that we are part of the things that those most successful customers do. Then I would say onto support outcomes. This is another area that we think about when we measure. When we share technical documentation with our customers when they're having an issue, we also see cases resolve faster and their customer satisfaction is higher. We know that when they're running into problems and we can provide those documents to them, they are able to use those to resolve their issues more quickly.

Then onto your point, and this is an area I think that is less well understood, and it's an area that I'm super excited about, is the role of technical documentation in pre-sales and in renewals. We see when customers visit the technical documentation, they are twice as likely to become a customer. And if they visit us more than one time in the month before a sale, they're five times more likely to become a customer. What this says to us is, as I mentioned earlier, the documentation is playing an important role in addition to your sales teams and your marketing. People want to go deep. They really want to understand, "Okay, I've read the documentation, I've spoken to my sales rep. Now really when I get down into the specifics, are there features here that are going to help me achieve my business goals? Am I going to be able to implement this in a way that works with my company?" So we see that.

Then when you think about going towards the next phases of the customer's journey, they've implemented, they've worked with support, then at some point there's a renewal is going to come up. When we see customers coming to us in the months before that, they also renew at higher rates as well. What this means is, there's some really important signals in the behavior of customers with your documentation that you should be sharing with your sales teams. They're strong indicators of where a customer's at and where their head's at. You can really use that to drive more sales and more renewals,

Gal Oron:

Convinced now? If you're somehow still on the fence, I encourage you to go back and to listen to the full episodes. Until then, ask yourself, how much are you allowing content to drive your self-service. Thank you for listening to this episode of Flourish CX. To learn more, head over to zoominsoftware.com/podcast and follow along wherever you get your audio.

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