Customer Success Magazine
For the Management of Customer Lifetime Value
By Mikael Blaisdell
Regardless of whether or not you formally segment your customer base, there is one portfolio of customers that every SaaS Customer Success team should be giving very serious attention: the power-users, or mavens.  These are the people that effectively use the most of your app’s feature set and who thereby get the greatest value from their subscriptions.  And the more of them there are, the better for your customers and your company’s bottom line profitability and valuation.

Why?

The average user of your application probably taps only 10-15% of the tool’s capabilities — at best.  A maven may consistently work with upwards of 50% of the functionality.  What’s the real value of that usage to their company?  What specifically are they doing and how are the results used?  What is the effect on retention rate of a company having one or more power-users on staff?  What is the degree of churn-risk if a customer loses all of their power-users?  These are vital questions that can only begin to be addressed after the CS team is well into the process of defining, identifying and managing their power-user portfolio.
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Lines red in neon SMWhat does it take to reach power-user levels of proficiency with your company’s application?  Which features tend to be only used by such people?  What should be included in the profile of a power-user that can then be used as a pattern-matching template to identify mavens across the entire customer base?  Don’t let the lack of feature usage technology be a stopper.  While having the ability to see in real time what specific named users are doing with your app is a huge advantage, it is possible to define and then identify power-users in other ways.

From Definition to Management

Meeting small from above SMOnce you know what a power-user looks like for your app and customer base, and the value that they are able to deliver, the next step is to make more of them — while effectively using the ones that you already have.  What would a dedicated training program look like?  If an individual maven should leave their current employer, what can/should you do to maintain your connection to that very valuable resource?  What ought to be done for the customer so that their ROI doesn’t drop in the aftermath?
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Do you have an effective management program for your power-user portfolio? This is a topic to be discussed at Customer SuccessCon this year; I’m looking for people interested in doing a Case Study regarding how their company perceives and manages their power users.
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And if you haven’t begun the process of building a power-user portfolio for your company, what’s holding you up?  Let’s talk.
November 9, 2015