How to Use Content for Customer Success
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Pop the champagne and handshakes all round! Your content marketing efforts have paid off, and a prospect has signed on the dotted line to become a new customer.
But what now?
You’re missing a trick if you hand over to Customer Success and forget about them.
Content naturally aligns well to customer acquisition, sure. But content is for customer success too. Content can be a hyper-effective way to support customer onboarding and retention.
Content can empower your customers to self-serve support. Which various stats prove is the route to happier, longer-term customers.
And it can free your CS team from the tedious and repetitive aspects of customer onboarding so they can spend more time on high-impact areas. Like helping customers identify and realise their goals faster – so they’re less likely to churn.
Content helps you deliver a consistently great onboarding experience around the clock. A comprehensive experience that builds trust in your brand and confidence using your product.
An experience that feels one-to-one even though it’s one-to-many.
To help those new customers stay customers.
#1 – Resource hub
Your CS team waste loads of time answering the same questions and solving the same problems.
Now, answering questions and solving problems are crucial to customer onboarding – to help drive adoption and get customers moving towards their goals.
But they’re not a great use of CS time.
Instead, immortalise CS’s immense product knowledge by creating a resource hub for new customers. Include comprehensive FAQs, tutorials, troubleshooting, technical guides: everything your customers might need to get up, running and succeeding with your product.
That way, every customer gets access to the same level of knowledge, even at 2am on the other side of the world. And your CS team can spend more time solving problems that need unique, one-to-one support.
#2 – Guided walkthrough
When users first log into your performance management app, or video interviewing platform, or whatever it is, they’ll most likely be overwhelmed. Especially so if HR have to roll-out your product across the organisation, with tens or hundreds of users.
Guided walkthroughs are proven to be an effective way to beat that confusion and increase product adoption.
But walkthroughs are difficult to scale, time-consuming, and often rely on senior management correctly ‘filtering down’ the training you’ve delivered. Which puts churn into someone else’s hands.
Instead, invest in creating a digital guided walkthrough that replicates and automates that one-to-one process.
You can still finish-up with a CS-led Q&A after each if you need, but starting with an automated walkthrough will massively streamline CS’ time.
#3 – Tailored training
Training is a crucial part of successful customer onboarding.
Which doesn’t just mean delivering the right info. It means delivering that info at the right time,
in the right way.
Learning is just as much about the how and when as the what.
If you overload new customers with reams of dense customer support, they’ll switch off. But if you show them short, snappy* content that’s tailored to each stage of their onboarding journey, they’ll be engaged and educated – and best-placed to start reaching their goals.
*If your product is complex and demands a higher-touch onboarding process, you can easily add a ‘request one-to-one training session’ function.
That way, users can still self-serve information without waiting for an appointment to get started. But you ensure customers who need more help can easily get it.
Mix up your content. Written blogs are probably your bread and butter but training videos can be super effective. They help users visualise what they’re meant to do, so they can take action quickly and move onto the next step. Wix are a fantastic example.
#4 – New customer welcome email
Welcome emails seem to sit more naturally in the B2C world but they’re also important for B2B.
They’re great because:
You can send critical information to all the players in a decision-making unit, so they can save/flag/bookmark for future easy access and nobody is excluded.
You capitalise on the moment of peak excitement, the purchase point, and get them even more excited to start benefiting from your product.
You make a great impression by showing immediate commitment to customer onboarding.
You’re helping build a relationship with new customers, which ultimately means they’re less likely to leave.
Your welcome email shouldn’t only be an introduction or a thank you. It can be those things briefly, but overall it’s less about you and more about them.
What do they need to know? What are their big questions? Who do they contact if they’re stuck? What’s happening next? Do they need to do anything now?
#5 – Activity prompt messages
Like…prompts about inactivity or about user (mis)usage.
For example, say your product is an L&D app for enterprise. Your CS team probably have contact with a few key decision-makers who are leading roll-out, but whether the company ultimately churn depends on company-wide uptake.
That could be hundreds of people you’re not directly in contact with.
Now, App Administrator Andy can monitor uptake across the business, then relay that back to your CS team – sure. But then you’ve lost control over a key metric.
What if instead, you sent emails to end users pushing them back to the app or directing them to relevant FAQs?
Or at least, monitored activity and send Andy regular updates so she can easily pass the relevant info on. At least then you’re not waiting for her to tell you when there’s a problem.
#6 – Staggered training emails
Email is a great way to deliver post-sale content that maps to the one-to-one stuff CS are doing. Like a best-practice series of tips that build up towards pro use of your platform.
The only thing is, your CS team need a structured, consistent process if you want to mirror that process (and, I mean, you don’t have to. This can be standalone).
Or create some templates for CS to edit based on the real-time conversations they’re having, but incorporating some of the marketing messaging you want in there.
Siloes are an absolute killer to customer onboarding because the customer ends up with a disjointed experience. They’ve come onboard listening to one set of messages and very often, they’re then transitioned to another team with a slightly different set of messages.
It’s not like those two camps will be vastly different, provided you’ve got some sort of centralised brand guidelines, but there’ll still be nuance. And that nuance can feel like a disconnect.
#7 – In-app content
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say your platform isn’t completely devoid of content right now.
But you might not be using this prime real estate as effectively as you could be.
In-app/product copy sometimes seems like a bit of an afterthought. Maybe your customers are largely responsible for populating the content so you’ve taken a backseat.
But the content you put inside your app or platform has a huge job. It gives customers relevant information right when they need it most – so they don’t have to leave to find what they need.
Plus it’s an opportunity to delight your customers – a surprising piece of micro-copy, for example – and strengthen your relationship. So they stay customers for longer. That sounds like marketing’s job to me.
#8 – Surveys
Customers who’ve just become customers are great people to ask about your customer acquisition process.
They can help you understand more about your sales and marketing effectiveness. And you might surface ideas that can help CS deliver a better, more tailored experience.
Like, what made them decide to buy? What were their biggest objections to buying? Which content of yours did they read and love? Did they dislike or disagree with anything?
Creating a survey for customers gets beyond impersonal analytics and statistics and helps bring your avatars to life. So everyone on your team is more effective, because they’re more connected to the real people behind the wins.
(And that insight can feed back into your processes and your content, so it's win/win).
#9 – New customer case studies
You probably wait until customers have proven and shout-from-the-rooftops success before creating case studies. Which makes sense, in some ways. You want prospects to touch the gold at the end of the rainbow.
But many prospects, especially in HR tech, know there’s gold at the end of the rainbow. They totally and utterly get it.
But they also know the rainbow is really damn hard to climb. And that’s their main objection, even if they haven’t quite verbalised it that way. It’s just too hard. No one will like it, and it’ll turn into a mega-headache.
You can show that person your sexy pro-user case study all you like, but it’s not addressing their root issue. (Read more: How HR tech companies can overcome resistance to change)
Or instead, you could talk to new customers as they go through the process of set-up and implementation and create a case study about that. Show the rainbow in full technicolour glory, and they'll realise it's not so slippery after all.
Support customer success to get more bang for your content buck
You pour your heart and soul into content (I hope). But you probably only use content as an acquisition tool, to move prospects through your buying funnel to sale.
That’s a shame, because content can be a fabulous string to your customer onboarding bow.
One that frees customer success team bandwidth, so they spend more time creating one-to-one moments that add loads of value, and less time delivering repetitive info that could easily be one-to-many. And should be, so customers can self-serve the experience they want, when they want it.
It goes almost without saying that HR Tech Copy can help you create all these pieces of content if you need. But we're still gonna say it. Because marketing. You know the drill.