You know you need to create content for your customers to train them on your product. But where do you start?
But instead, you've got limited resources.
While a long-term strategy can connect and reuse content for different purposes, it's best to determine your main goal to help set priorities on where to start and how much you can tackle now.
There are number of common goals that companies have when they want to create self-service content. I polled my colleagues on The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn and got some some feedback that mirrors what I've found in my consulting work with software companies.
Reduce Support Costs
"Of course they want to reduce support tickets. Support is expensive...you want as much self-service knowledge as possible."
Goal Number one for many companies is reducing support costs. Scott Hopper, an IT Software Technical Support Engineer says, "Of course they want to reduce support tickets. Support is expensive. Unless, you are trying to grow your support team, you want as much self-service knowledge as possible."
If this is the issue you want to start with as you embark on creating your content, make it a specific, measurable goal, like "I want to reduce the number of open support tickets each month by 10%." That way, you can get a clear financial impact that shows the value of your time spent writing and maintaining online help or a knowledgebase.
Brooke Harper, a Sales Development Representative, clarifies the purpose of content like this. She says "As a consumer, I usually look for a quick answer to basic questions or quick actions to simple tasks."
Scott Hopper mentions a couple of other goals you might have as you develop content. "Onboarding customers and converting trial users, puts money in [company's] pockets."
Let's look at these goals separately.
Convert Trial Uses
One of my clients with a microniche software company wanted to improve the conversion rate of his trial users. He had a conversion rate that hovered around 20% of potential users who downloaded the trial version who became paid customers. The product had a fairly steep learning curve, and he gave 14 days of use on a lite version of the product for potential customers to make a decision.
He wanted to give the potential customers enough self-service information in a Quick Start Guide to help those customers make a decision about purchasing the product. For him, we determined that his goal was to have an increase of 5 sales a month, which was worth thousands of dollars a year, for an investment of a couple of weeks of focused effort.
Improving Onboarding Process
Another one of my clients has a very technical product that requires a lot of customization. Their account executives spend several hours with new customers helping with a new implementation. But I helped them create some videos that explained concepts that are important for the customers to understand in order to use the product. This saved about 1/2 an hour of the implementation consultant's time for each new customer. That may not sound like a lot, but when you multiply it by every new customer over the months and years that they may use it, it adds up to literally thousands and thousands of dollars a year. And this is just the start for them. When you want to climb a mountain like this, you still have to take it one step at a time.
"One goal is to facilitate adoption for large accounts, where a CSM could have a hard time delivering high-touch assets for every user. This helps deliver product and support updates to all customers with just a link."
A similar goal is clarified by Sebastian Cabrera, a Customer Success Manager. He says, " One goal is to facilitate adoption for large accounts, where a CSM could have a hard time delivering high-touch assets for every user. This helps deliver product and support updates to all customers with just a link.
This is closely tied to a goal of providing self-serve education for customers. Self-serve education can be anything from basic 1-2 minute YouTube tutorials on how to complete specific tasks, to much more elaborate academy course offerings that go beyond using the tool into industry best-practices, as well as preparation for high-stakes proctored exams (certification).
All of these are good goals, and you can find evidence in the Customer Education discipline of how beneficial each can be to your bottom line. Once you start developing your content, you will find that much of what you develop can be tweaked to serve more than one purpose including in sales and marketing where the financial return is more obvious.
But when you are starting out, focus on one very clear, specific goal. It's great to think long term about how that project can scale along with your company. You need to have that laser focus on what you are trying to accomplish. Otherwise, you may end up with lots of help, but find that your customers don't find it very helpful.
*This post is an excerpt of an upcoming course I am developing on creating customer-focused content. Stay tuned to hear updates on the course development and release date.