Not so long ago, our VP of Product- Amay Jhaveri, had written a blog titled- 10 tips that helped our B2B SaaS product score a 60+ NPS in the midst of a pandemic. The focus of the blog back then was around building a minimum loveable product in an enterprise setting. After all, why should the cool kids of the SaaS world have all the fun… It went on to become one of our top viewed pages and continues to attract traffic today. We also received tons of feedback from folks who were interested to know more so here’s the follow-up to the original blog.
Our not-so-secret recipe, along with some tool suggestions:
- Proactive customer engagement provided at the right time, to the right person – to do this we need to know when users get stuck and where as well as places where they want to get to the information quickly and absolutely detest interruptions through notifications/unsolicited help. We all remember the infamous Office Assistant ‘Clippy’ and his brother ‘Pushy’ – avoid creating this kind of user experience.
- Engage via the right channel of communication – if users are away from the product, say due to holidays or during seasonal usage dips, all the in-app messages will hit them once they are back. Use email sparingly since most enterprise users rely on email and are always connected through that medium. For users who are fairly regular or when product usage is high, try and get in-app messages out to them.
- Build a robust Help Center that aggregates product information and allows them to pull-in knowledge when they need to. And while you are at writing release notes, product workflow documentation, etc for the knowledge center, make sure to use conversational language as much as possible. This is the knowledge center for your beloved product, not a 20-fold, compliance-driven user’s manual shipped with an electronic product.
- There’s a ton of technology in the market right now that allows you to automate frequently asked questions and provide users with answers from the pre-built Help Center. Enterprise users, in our experience, care more about getting issues resolved faster than about getting in touch with a human on the other end. If the solution isn’t right, there should always be an ability for the user to reach out to you through a messenger.
- Provide analytics-driven timely engagements that aren’t intrusive for a user. This is covered in point 1 above but deserves to be repeated. It’s absolutely critical to understand when users need help and when they don’t. No one can define the preferred user flow for your product better than you. Rely on data and let data guide you on when is the right time to intervene or engage or suggest.
Also, Customer engagement spans the course of a user’s entire lifecycle with the application. Its only objective is to ensure that users get the outcome they want.
Here are the broad areas we focus on to support our user’s entire lifecycle:
1. Onboarding and Training:
Series of teasers building up to the Go-live date, highlighting the need and benefit and providing a sneak-peak into the application, all aimed at driving excitement. Enterprise customers appreciate product companies providing the pre-go-live playbook so invest in one. You may not hit the mark the first time, but eventually, it will be refined to an extent where it becomes plug and play.
The first impression matters. Do send in a Welcome in-app and an email with guides to help users get started. Send in-app contextual product tours/step-by-step guides that ‘teach as one explores’. Focus on sending ‘Simple nudges’ aimed at the right person, at the right time versus ‘one-size fits all’ generic untimely messages
Keeping your users engaged is easier said than done. Invest time in the following:
- Send information around releases and updates communicated in-app to continue engagement outreach. This goes a long way as it aims to display the continuous product improvements in progress
- In the post-pandemic virtual worlds, Events and Webinars are a norm and it is wise to jump on that bandwagon (we’ve surely benefited from it).
‘Catch them before they leave’ with timely nudges starting with x weeks of absence. Periodic email at x weeks of inactivity, x+1 weeks, x+2 weeks, and x+3 weeks (deeming a user as attrit with x+3 weeks or more of inactivity) – this bit is complicated though as each product has a unique usage pattern. Some products may be used hourly or daily (such as ours) while some products may see usage on a weekly/monthly/seasonal basis ex. Products that are primarily used for planning or are report-centric get used weekly or monthly – that’s their normal usage. To tailor (or not to tailor) content for a user versus a manager – users seek content that’s relevant to them so being specific matters. One simple way to achieve this through the user’s defined role or persona within the product.
5. Scaled support with chat capabilities and very short first-response SLA: Commit to a short first-response time that’s comfortable to the size of your own support/engagement team. However, try and beat that number as much as possible as it goes a long way in building trust with the customer. Our own response time is 20X faster than our committed SLA. Also, use leverages such as the Support <> Help Center integration, pushing help articles/video tutorials directly to users with the support chat – All without leaving the application.
6. Go beyond static help articles and mix it up with video tutorials and onboarding demos – do include infographics, gifs, surveys, polls, etc. And for ease of access, host all Releases and Update information chronologically within a dedicated collection of Release Notes. So users know where to find them, easily.
Tools that were used to carry these activities:
Mixpanel: We rely on Mixpanel for usage analytics. Mixpanel allows us to segment behavior and send curated messages to users and also has a great scope for A/B testing along with survey forms. All of this helps us to build usage reports, which in turn allows us to improve our user experience.
Intercom: We have been Intercom users for a while and it allows us to execute exceptional user engagement through the product and outside of it. It’s a swiss knife of tools that allows us to do a ton with a very small team right from simple troubleshooting, collecting feedback, or sending out engagement messages. Its interactive apps, conversational bots, and many more features have helped us build and grow our customer relationships over time.
Wootric: Along with Intercom, we also use Wootric to collect and calculate the NPS responses. It easily integrates with Intercom, so messages are sent via Intercom, but responses are collected in Wootric.
Looker: When it comes to visualization of data, Looker has been our favorite. Data-driven workflows, enterprise data deployment methods, and the ability to support various data sources make Looker a great tool to drive better outcomes. Although the same data is available in Mixpanel, Looker has helped us make faster decisions due to its ability to slice and dice as well as render powerful visualizations.
Spreadsheets: Not our first choice – in most cases, the last one on our list. They play a role now and then but not our preferred tool at all. After all, our product is an alternative to these pesky spreadsheets.
Entytle Insyghts: Nothing beats a good product experience in driving engagement and our product is the biggest driver for good scores. An intuitive product coupled with easy on-boarding, handy support, and self-help modes of training has been our secret to onboarding, activating, retaining, and engaging enterprise users.
Bonus Tip: Feel free to borrow from the “not-so-enterprise” world of SaaS products. Some phenomenal smaller teams are experimenting with engagement and outreach constantly. The enterprise user is no different outside of the stringent compliance needs – so experiment with new methods of engagement outside of the enterprise box.