5 Tools & Tips to help you take better care of your users

Sep 26, 2013
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User-Optimization

Last week the blog covered how most software companies do not care about their users. Amidst the feedback stood a great question: “ok so which tools can I use to better care for my customers?”

Before we dive into tools and techniques you can use to build a better customer, a disclaimer:  I am voluntarily leaving out specific software names in this article for two reasons.

  1. My company builds some of these tools; our customers use them with their own customers, but I want to keep this blog from being a marketing platform!  Just keep in mind you can build your own tools if needed!
  2. Google any of the ideas we’re going to review and you will find a plethora of software that will fit your needs (or so they claim) so rather than giving you an incomplete and potentially biased list, I’d rather you go and find the ones that work best for you.

By the way, to address the question of why we build vs integrate, just know it was a much discussed decision at the time and if you want to chat about it over drinks we can do that!

Let’s dive into some of the tools and techniques that can be leveraged to transform your customer into a Superhero:

Split Testing.

…also known as AB testing, allows you to ascertain how certain Ux or Ui variations affect end users. Most of the time AB is just talked about in the context of marketing and landing pages, however, it is even more to incrementally enhance customer satisfaction. Say you are launching a new piece of functionality in your application.  If you hesitate between several Ux approaches, you can benefit from using AB testing to evaluate which approach best help your customer use the new functionality to its best extent.

The Human touch

Personally I cannot stand sites/apps that first send you to their FAQ, then, after navigating a maze that would leave Indiana Jones perplex, finally give you a contact us page. Of course you press “submit” you are then asked whether you have looked at the FAQ.  Pointing to a FAQ or a forum sends a terrible message to the user: a) we don’t care go figure it out. b) we still don’t care and we never will since we put the answer on the FAQ rather than spend the time to enhance our software and address your issue.  For best practice, take a look at how Sendgrid (a few other companies do the same) treats its users:  One the help page you can live-chat a technician (who can even get a screen capture of your page) and you get helped right away. The most amazing thing: They even do that for free accounts!

Light gamification

Gamification can be good, gamification can be evil!  The goal of a good gamification policy should be to help users perform their jobs better. With this in mind, one of the best technique I have seen, and one we are soon going to implement on our app, is the “completion level” concept.   If you are a linkedin user or an AngelList user, you will see that your profile is x% complete. This is a tremendous approach towards making sure people properly setup their accounts and get going with your app the right way.  Leaderboards and badges may be helpful though your mileage will really vary based on what your application does.  Again, the focus should solely be on helping the customer be stellar at using the software, not at being 3 points more stellar than someone else.

Proactive user interaction.

I assume, hope, pray that your application feeds into a real-time bug tracking system.  Not only will it help you pinpoint bottlenecks, you will also have the ultimate marketing/branding tool at your disposal.  Customers’ happiness (and recommendation) levels jump when you communicate with them about potential issues -even before they notice them-.  For example, simply emailing “xyz, we’ve noticed you ran into some issue doing abc, this is a known bug and our team is working on it” can not only gain you a few brownie points but also new referrals.

Educate them, smartly.

When releasing a new feature, you can send an email update, do a video demo, or do a webminar.  The webminar may be the most time consuming but the return on investment will be stellar. You can not only show your customers the new feature, you can also get their feedback right away, and you also have a unique chance to chat with them live about their current struggles and how you can help them.  It’s a multi-layer win!

I am sure you have some other ideas and tools you use to help your customers be superheroes so share them with us!

Photo via TweakYourBiz