Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré is a SaaS Consultant and Customer Success Evangelist, who takes startups from problem/solution fit to product/market fit, all the way through growth marketing and scalable customer development. We invited Nichole on the show to talk about why product managers should include customer success milestones in user flows and how product management can work better with Customer Success and use Customer Success milestones to help customers achieve their own journey.
Here's the thing.
Most of us don't want to admit it, but we work in silos. The product team is doing their thing and the customer success team is doing their thing. Most organizations (and most people) know this and work to some degree to minimize the separation, but it exists. These silos are evident between product teams and customer success teams. Both have good intentions and work hard to product something that a customer wants or otherwise finds useful, but in the end each team looks that what a customer needs through a different lens.
This is a problem that needs solving because customers don't care about our lenses. They only care about their own thing.
This is why we wanted to talk to Nichole. She wrote an article, called Product Managers: Why You Should Include Customer Success Milestones In Your User Flows, in which she describes how product and customer success can work better together to be more customer-centric.
To do this, Nichole wants us to focus on helping customers achieve their desired outcomes because often times, even though our product is designed to help a customer achieve an outcome, the customer very often does at least some work outside of your product to achieve that outcomes and maybe your product only helps with some of that work (either by design or because the customer does not know they can use your product for that).
The point is, the customer does not care about your product, they only care about getting their job done. So we wanted Nichole how far a SaaS company should go to help a customer achieve an outcome outside of using the product?
"Without customers reaching their desired outcome, you don't have a retained customer."
"They don't care about your product. They care about reaching their desired outcomes, so you should do whatever it takes....if you want to retain them."
With that said, let's go back to the point of Nichole's article which is that user flows that product is creating should be integrated with the customer journeys that the customer success team have. Product is producing functional flows, where as customer success journeys are more outcome based. The way to do this, according to Nichole, is for product and customer success to be in the same room. Product maps out the functional user flows, and customer success adds success gaps and customer outcome milestones in the same flow. This will help the entire team understand what the customer wants to accomplish, at which point in the journey, and how the product helps or does not help a customer do it.
That is the key.
"The entire SaaS product should be aligned around a customer success philosophy and then everything else from sales and marketing and product management is all aligned with that same philosophy and getting customers to achieve their desired outcomes."
In other words, everyone should report to customer success.
Dare to dream.
Resources cited in the podcast
- Lincoln Murphy's Definition of Customer Success
- eBook: How to Align SaaS Content Marketing and Product Management
- Article: How to Create Customer-centric User (Not Product Centric) User On-boarding Flows
- Success Vector - the KPI for Customer Success-driven Growth
- Helping Sells Radio Episode 41: Kia Puhm Wants You to End the Product-Sales-Customer Success-Support Tug of War.
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