“Buyer’s remorse” may be one of the most fateful phrases in the technology industry. Technology manufacturers strive to simplify complex products and services, but your revenue and reputation are ultimately in the hands of users with varying levels of technical expertise. If they find your product or service difficult to use, or if they’re frustrated because it doesn’t seem to be performing as advertised, the customer experience plummets. And so does your chance to retain a profitable relationship.
An effective product adoption practice is essential, but managing it throughout the technology lifecycle in-house can be time-consuming. It can also divert investment and resources from your core business, which usually centers on innovation. When it becomes seemingly impossible or unaffordable to manage product adoption the way you would like to internally, an expert partner in customer success services can be a welcome relief. They can educate and train your customers, reintroduce valuable-but-forgotten features and offer technical support to solve issues effectively and in a timely manner. Engaging customers throughout the product lifecycle helps them meet their business goals, ultimately increasing product adoption and building lasting customer loyalty that a product sale alone cannot.
How to Build Loyalty and Drive Sales Throughout the Product Lifecycle
Set the Tone With a Two-Prong Onboarding Strategy
Onboarding is the first meaningful interaction customers have with your product or service. It moves them from the theoretical to the concrete in short order as they begin to explore features and functions and put it to the test in their day-to-day activities. Helping them do so successfully is one half of the onboarding equation. This is where education and training, how-to guides, online tutorials, usage champions and the like come in.
The second half of the equation is analysis. Onboarding should begin with analysis in mind so you can capture important data from the initial customer experience onward. Customer service partners can contact users on your behalf to get straight-from-the-source information and complement that with data and analysis across key metrics that illuminate what’s happening, as well as when and why — all with the goal of improving the onboarding experience.
Know Your Customer and Adjust Accordingly
Knowing your customer is as important after the sale as it is before. Consider these questions:
- What does your customer need to know to use your product confidently?
- Do they know how to get the most out of its features and capabilities?
- Are they tapping into all its potential for problem-solving or business transformation?
- Will they know to adjust how they’re using it when change is afoot?
A data-savvy, partner-focused customer success strategy can help determine what’s driving product adoption and identify red flags of frustration through targeted data collection and analysis that enable you to more efficiently navigate roadblocks and make informed decisions about product and service adjustments.
Follow Up and Check in After Onboarding
Once a customer has been onboarded and users are fairly adept at using your solution, the work of long-term engagement begins. Undoubtedly, customers will acquire new users who need to be trained, come across a feature they don’t understand (but would like to explore), need to make adjustments to accommodate changes in the business or run into other circumstances that require assistance. Those moments are the genesis of customer loyalty.
When you have thousands of users, however, you may not have the bandwidth to follow up with them regularly. A customer success partner serves as an extension of your team by providing scalable outreach, data-driven analysis and expert support with an eye toward building brand loyalty and generating new revenue opportunities from product adjacencies and recurring service contracts.
Proactively Capture Revenue
Although “product adoption” isn’t a misnomer, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to long-term planning. Perhaps “product adoption and extension” is a more apt term. Consider it the customer engagement interpretation of “land and expand.”
There are many ways to proactively capture revenue throughout the customer relationship, from managing subscription renewals and monitoring product warranties to pinpointing upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Working with a single partner that can provide comprehensive, scalable customer success services enables you to cover all the bases without staffing up. An experienced customer management partner can:
- Provide business development services, such as opportunity identification, growth strategies, incentive development and sales campaigns
- Help you grow your pipeline and build an ecosystem of loyal brand advocates
- Maximize customer satisfaction and lifetime value
- Evolve alongside you through continuous process improvements and regular market research
Product Adoption Is Just the Beginning
Partnering with an expert customer management services provider for customer success delivered impressive results for Extreme Networks, and it can do the same for your organization.
We can sell all we want, but unless customers are onboarding, that doesn’t mean much,” said Edmund Vasquez, Senior Manager of Customer Success & Cloud Renewals at Extreme Networks. “We needed to know: Are they onboarding, are they activating it, are they using it?”
Considering their limited budget and bandwidth, Extreme Networks opted to expand on an existing distribution relationship with TD SYNNEX by engaging the customer management services team of Shyft Global Services to acquire this vital customer information.
We went back to our sales and product organizations with the information Shyft gathered to say that we needed to focus more on following up with our customers after the sale, and we’ve seen an improvement in onboarding since then,” Vasquez said.
With deep knowledge of your portfolio and business strategy, an expert customer success team can keep your customers engaged throughout the full product lifecycle, helping to improve product adoption, elevate your customer success strategy and build lasting customer loyalty.
About the Author
Antonio Masis serves as the Vice President of Global Customer Management Services and the General Manager of the Costa Rica location for Shyft Global Services, a division of TD SYNNEX. He has been with the company since 2009 and has more than 14 years of experience as a business development leader, with a focus on directing operations, implementing sales strategies and managing outsource agreements.