The Experience Economy has changed the way businesses compete. Today, good experiences are table stakes; it takes GREAT experiences to win. The gap between what customers expect and what actually gets delivered is real.
80% of CEOs think they’re delivering a superior experience, but only 8% of customers agree (Bain & Company)."
Meeting, exceeding and anticipating customer expectations means understanding and taking control of how customers are using products. Learning new products is an emotional process and a poor experience can lead to negative outcomes: churn, negative reviews, low CSAT, lost opportunities, high load on customer support, Shelfware.
Across industries, fully 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative. (Harvard Business Review)."
Competence is a key internal motivator and being able to solve our own problems is part of competence. It’s often that case that the role of product support is to fill a knowledge gap between the consumer/user and the product. Providing training for customers can help to bridge that gap.
Beyond this, there’s further knowledge share that can drive desirable outcomes – when customers are using products well enough to extract value.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but...
You are probably not in the business you think you are. The product an organisation sells is – in many cases – not what customers actually buy.
As an example, organisations don’t buy a Learning Management System because they want a Learning Management System. They invest in an outcome that the LMS can help deliver: a more educated, engaged and motivated workforce, a more educated and engaged customer base, a more educated and engaged channel network – all delivered on robust, reliable and scalable technology. What organizations want when they buy an LMS is the ability to learn and adapt because ultimately, that’s a significant competitive advantage.
So to that end, organisations should think about products with three questions in mind:
- What outcomes are customers actually buying?
- What "internal" knowledge can be made external to enable customers to achieve the desired outcomes?
- What's the Total Customer Experience beyond just the product itself?
If nothing else, use this article as a challenge to think differently about how organisations are typically perceived today. The long term success of an organization is dependent on its ability to deliver outcomes, not FOR the customer, but WITH the customer. In fact, an organisation can't deliver outcomes without the customer. So when you think about it, the customer, and maybe the customer’s customer, is at the very centre of a successful organisation.
So when you look at it that way, enabling the success of an organisation must include enabling customers to be successful.
85% of executives agreed that successful customer onboarding will ensure long-term customer loyalty."
It’s not just about onboarding though. Any product that changes over time, such as software, requires constant knowledge transfer to the customer effectively via a positive experience.
When you combine:
- Reducing the gap between expectation and reality – reducing the risk of a negative experience for new customers
- Increasing the likelihood of customers achieving value from products and enabling them to achieve the outcomes they were promised when they purchased
- Looking at the customer as a fundamental part of a successful organisation
Then, training customers on products becomes an essential part of the total customer experience and accelerates the path to desirable outcomes. That's what's I'd call a win-win.