Every week, I remind myself that a customer is not a company—they’re individuals.
We tend to view customers as teams and organizations, personas and segments, but a customer’s actions come from their personal, human experiences. A customer is a person.
Usually, the only practical way to send messages to customers is through a 1-to-many communication. A mass email blast that’s targeted through an abstraction like their segment or their company.
I’ve found, though, that Gainsight PX allows me to bring my customer marketing all the way down to the level of the person, and more importantly, their human experience.
We wanted to be more proactive in our Gainsight Admin enablement. A lot is on their shoulders and our goal was to make them feel more confident and motivated to solve their organization’s problem. But like I said, every customer is an individual person and no two people are the same.
In this article, I’ll share how we used Gainsight PX (our product experience platform) to provide personalized support to our admins at scale and increase their adoption of our products.
What my high school soccer team taught me about our admins
It all starts with soccer. In high school, I was on a truly terrible soccer team. Running laps? Grueling. Playing a game against a middle school? Crushed. Profoundly. The number of times I stole the ball from someone? ...What?
Joining me on our ineffective defense squad was Ian. Ian had a signature move. The ball would bound down the field towards us, and Ian’s face would solidify—eyes tracking the ball, brow furrowed.
He would burst out five short steps, covering no more than three feet of distance. Hands clenched, he’d deliver a monster boost of energy into a single kick, sending the ball far upfield.
You’d never know it from our losing streak, but I saw it in Ian’s eyes: We did care. (I was just jealous that he had a signature move to show it with.)
A lot about how Ian played that game is mirrored in the passion customers have for your product. How many customers are like Ian? How many actually do care but don’t have the support or confidence they need to succeed? How many get by with a few signature moves, but without truly playing the game?
I decided to pick some of our customers, and ask.
Best Practice #1: Finding the right admins to support
The first step was to figure out which admins would benefit the most from this experiment. I started by singling out admins who recently started using our product. By choosing this group of beginners, we could get ahead of the problem and be proactive in the support we offered.
I started by using Gainsight PX Audience Explorer to filter for the admins who started using the system most recently:
In my particular case, I needed to filter the survey I'd eventually send based on an elaborate set of information that currently lives outside of Gainsight PX—for example, I'd need to set a filter to exclude attendees of our in-person administrator training. Since this particular information wasn't directly related to product usage, I ultimately pasted in a list of email addresses to ensure I targeted the survey went to the right people. (In the future, I’ll get more creative when coming up with Engagement ideas, so that I don’t need to target my audience using data outside of Gainsight PX. We’re also getting more and more data pulled in from Salesforce over time.)
Best Practice #2: Choosing the optimal location
I used Gainsight PX’s analytics to identify the pages most commonly-used by administration-level users. The idea was to set the survey engagement to appear on the top three most-viewed pages.
My reasoning: I know that our administrators often sit side-by-side with the teams they support or even run demos for their teams. I wanted this survey to appear when they were doing administration work on their own, not when they were in other parts of the product.
For example, had I just set it to appear at log-in, the admin might be in the middle of the other activities and the survey would interrupt. Not only would this be a frustrating experience for them, but they’d also much sooner dismiss it to get back to what their original goal was.
Best Practice #3: Choosing your view type
I used the in-app engagement builder in Gainsight PX to create a multi-question survey. Gainsight PX comes preloaded with templates and different ways to customize them. The “View Type” setting lets you choose whether you’d like the survey to appear as a “Dialog”— a floating box in the middle of the page or a “Bar”—a banner at the bottom of your screen.
In this case, I used the “Bar” view type. Admins are busy and when they’re in the product, they’re on a mission. Having the survey on the bottom of the screen would not totally interrupt their workflow, but still be obvious.
Best Practice #4: Tailoring your messaging
Relevant messaging is a huge part of a good in-app engagement strategy. As I said earlier, a customer is more than a company, they’re an individual. So, the more relevant you can make an engagement, the better. I already chose an optimal location for the in-app survey to appear. This is the first step. The next step is creating a message that resonates with the admin—not something that looks like it shows up for every customer.
In the survey, I asked two questions:
- How confident are you feeling as a Gainsight administrator? (Scale from “Always Confident” to “Always Tentative”)
- Where are you feeling less confident than you’d like? (Open text answer)
Best Practice #5: Making it available, but not too available
When I need to bang out a quick task before a meeting, I have blinders on. I won’t even read a survey. But at 4:30 pm that same day, when I’m slowly tying up loose ends from the day? A survey is a welcome distraction. However, if I never want to take it, and it keeps appearing? I’ll pick an answer at random just to get it out of my way.
I wanted our admins to have more than one chance to take the survey, but I wanted to make sure they’d still be able to navigate around it if they had important work to complete.
It began with the Qualification Scope, so the survey would appear only once per visit:
If I left it there, it would keep appearing every visit. I adjusted my Audience so that it would only appear if they had not completed it AND they had seen it four times at most:
The Response Rate
Within 3 days, 20% of the audience had seen it. (As we continue the strategy, I’ll revisit my strategies for choosing an optimal location.) The good news—the response rate was 54%!
This was the same group we had emailed just two weeks before, who had given us exactly zero clickthroughs. Think of all that effort to write email copy, get it approved, and so on. With this survey, there were fewer words to write, it was easier to get approval, it was tailored to appear at a relevant time for our audience, and it was easier to engage with from the admin’s perspective.
And now we had real, human information about their experience.
From the results of our survey, about two-thirds of the admins appear to be in great shape. We could even email them about getting involved in our online community since they seem ready to learn more advanced use cases, ask more complex questions, and connect with established admins who have moved beyond the basics. The other one-third of replying admins needed further support.
One-third of all respondents filled out our open text question, “Where are you feeling less confident than you’d like?” and they described specific features. This was incredibly helpful for pinpointing areas of improvement!
Using Gainsight CS, I created CTAs (calls-to-action) for our internal CSMs prompting them to reach out to the admins in their accounts that responded to our survey. Each CTA is linked to the contact and includes the email template below. Using Email Assist, the CSM can customize the message and personally reach out and recommend the resources we have for new admins, both free and paid.
The Ball’s In Your Corner...
Beyond this particular pilot program, I’m excited about the wide array of other situations where we could check in with a user: after their third experience with a feature they’ve never used before, after a short burst of heavy usage, after the end of the quarter. The possibilities are endless!
But now I’m passing the metaphorical soccer ball to you—which of your customers could you give just the right assist, if you only knew? Why not ask them?
Are you a Gainsight PX customer and would like a hand setting up an Engagement like this? We’ve got you covered:
- Check out the links to our documentation woven into the post above.
- Ask your questions in our active PX community!
- Reach out to your Gainsight CSM—we’d be happy to offer pointers.