5 ways to activate your super users for product-based intelligence Image

5 ways to activate your super users for product-based intelligence

Originally published on inSided.com on March 31, 2021.

This is a guest post by Marley Wagner, Senior Director of Marketing & Services at ESG Customer Success as a Service® (CSaaS).

Customer Success and Product teams share a pretty important goal: making sure customers find value in your product. One way both groups work to continuously improve the product experience for customers is by cultivating customer feedback.

But there’s more to customer feedback than meets the eye. Much like how Customer Success gets results by segmenting their customers according to key attributes, you can segment customer feedback by each user’s level of experience with your product.

And who’s at the top of the user experience curve? Your super users. These are your customers who use your product the most, and therefore, know it the best. Who better to mine for product-based intelligence than your most successful users?

But, what is a super user, exactly?

Defining and identifying your super users

A super user is someone who lives and breathes your solution. In the world of your product, these folks are the heroes. They are highly engaged and log in frequently. They’ve swiftly scaled your learning curve. They’ve completed your advanced training. A super user can wield the tools you’ve built with the precision of a surgeon. Better still, they know how to show others how to do the same. They aren’t exactly advocates… yet. They know your product through and through, and they are proud of their expertise. They’ll likely be answering questions for other users. Advocates are likely to be super users, but not all super users are advocates. In time, they may become advocates – the ultimate goal!

Super users may push the boundaries of your product, prodding your offering to greater heights. They may even know more about your product than you do because they’re using and experiencing it from a customer perspective every day.

It can be difficult to see the forest for the trees when you’re deeply involved in the design of each individual leaf. This problem applies to both Product and Customer Success teams. Both operate from the back end of your platform day in and day out. Super users, on the other hand, are experiencing everything as a customer (obviously!). They use your product to make their own lives easier, so they’re getting the full picture of its benefits and, yes, also its drawbacks. Super users have the unique advantage of seeing the full scope of your product and company’s potential while maintaining a deep knowledge of individual use cases. These traits make them excellent sources of feedback for product development and growth.

Identifying them is a whole different challenge. As much as they can be considered experts, they don’t necessarily always have to be your most successful customers or the ones you don’t ever hear from. They might actually be the customers nagging you for product updates and they might be the customers frequently answering questions in your online community. If anything, they might be difficult to spot.

So how do you find them?

One way to identify your super users is by looking at the Power User Curve, established by VC firm Andreessen Horowitz to analyze potential investments. It’s a more robust method for measuring the engagement of users than the typical daily active users over monthly active users data point. The Power User Curve is a histogram of the total number of days each user is active during a month-long period. Typically you’re looking for your Power User Curve to smile (a U-shape) or smirk (a right-weighted curve showing many active users), although this desired state may vary based on the specifics of your product. A smile or smirk shows you the group of highly engaged users at the high end of their total active days in a month. You want more of your users coming back again and again (that smirk!). However, if you don’t see a smile, it could mean that users don’t need to login as often, or it could be a signal that you need to amp up your engagement strategy.

5 ways to leverage your super users

Once you’ve identified these super users, it’s time to harness their knowledge. Both Customer Success and Product teams can work together to communicate and collaborate with them to make your product better than it’s ever been before. Take advantage of their experience to gain product insights that will direct new updates and development – helping both teams put resources where they really need to go.

How? I’m so glad you asked. By…

1. Highlighting the right data

A sign of Customer Success maturity lies in utilizing a strong tech stack to streamline your capabilities. One of the small downsides of having this plethora of data is trying to figure out which metrics matter the most. With a backlog of update requests, what should the Product team prioritize? In cases like this, Customer Success and Product teams can look at the behavior and usage patterns of super users to determine the most important metrics to support your goals.

2. Discovering onboarding and adoption stumbling blocks

Super users are the superheroes of your onboarding process. They’ve gone through the ups and downs, slayed the dragons (if you have them, yikes!), and come out the other side. This presents a wonderful opportunity to go through an onboarding retrospective with them. These activities allow Customer Success Managers to understand more about the product adoption journey by gathering direct customer feedback on any gaps in your product training or onboarding process. Super users are ideal candidates for this activity because they are loyal users, likely to be early adopters, and want your product to succeed.

3. Identifying the features your customers are using (and not using)

Track where your super users are spending most of their time and, chances are, you’ll have a better idea of where all of your customers are finding value in your product. Even better, find out what areas your power users are avoiding altogether, and you’ll have zeroed in on key places that may be in urgent need of your Product team’s attention.

4. Testing new ideas

Super users want to be on the cutting-edge. They crave the feeling of digging their teeth into new tools and enhancements. Don’t ignore this invaluable trait! Call out your super users for being the experts they are and invite them to become beta testers for new iterations and features. These loyal, active users will give you the honest feedback you need before wider release.

5. Spreading the love

Acknowledging your super users can go a long way. Not only will they be more willing to help in the four ways listed above, but by validating their experience and making them feel heard, you can ask them for testimonials to spread the love of your product far and wide. Customer Success + Product + Super Users = Best Solution Ever.

In a perfect world, CS and Product teams work together closely and regularly. Super users provide a perfect opportunity for them to build product-based intelligence into their combined strategies. Leveraging these super users means Customer Success Managers and Product teams can gain invaluable insights into how your solution makes your customers’ lives easier and all the ways it could continue to be made even better.

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