I’ve been advocating moving the point of engagement for a company’s Customer Success program to earlier in the corporateprocess and structure for some time. One of my arguments has been that the Customer Success group has a lot to offer to product design and development. The foundation for that contribution is the data and practical knowledge about the domain and the customers that the CS group must have and extend in order to do their jobs.
Paul Giurata is the managing partner of a user experience and application design firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. In a recent article, he makes a strong argument for the connection between Product Design, particularly the UI, and churn: 8 Tips for SaaS UI Design that Reduce Churn — it’s definitely worth the read.
The beginning of the article discusses habits. “You travel to work on autopilot without being aware of how you got there. A friend recommends a new book and you immediately think of Amazon. You repeatedly check for emails on your smartphone even though you are not really expecting important emails. If any of these behaviors sound familiar to you, then you have experienced habits — automatic response patterns that are nearly or completely involuntary and without cognition.” He contrasts habits with goal-directed behavior, “such as when you travel to a new location and meticulously pay attention to street signs and addresses, or when you research a new piece of software to see if it has the features you need.”
Giurata says that SaaS UI design typically focuses on goal-directed behavior, and while that’s both good and necessary, the designer shouldn’t stop there — the next step is to transition the customer to expanded and habitual use of the application as a means of reducing the risk of churn.
The techniques he discusses require a deep knowledge of the customer and of the domain, the business/function/issue the application is intended to serve. Development teams usually don’t have the data about customer motivations and behaviors that would be needed to really supercharge the design techniques — but there is, or should be! — a group in the company that does: the Customer Success team. A collaboration between these two teams, Dev and CS, could be a key factor in reducing churn.
Here’s the link to the article. Give it a read, asking yourself as you do: “how would I bring the resources of our CS team to this discussion with the dev folks?” After you’ve read it, join us in the Customer Success Management Forum for the discussion.
See also: Paul Giurata, http://catalystresources.com/