CloudMunch is strongly focused on customer success because the core idea behind our platform is to reduce the friction between various stakeholders responsible for application delivery. As we brainstormed about how we can support customers as they used CloudMunch’s platform, we turned this philosophy inside out and wore the design thinking hat across the entire organization. Design thinking requires empathy at the front and center of everything from product design to service delivery to empowering customers. In this post, I have put together some of the lessons I learned as someone who is involved both on the product side and the customer side.
These are some of my personal takeaways:
- Building a Self service Product: The very first step in removing friction for customers is to give the customers the full product experience fast. They should see the value of the product very quickly so that they can go about putting it to use inside their organization. So self service is the key and it will help them get started without much handholding. This can be accomplished by providing guidance, flow and usefulness of the product by providing extensive documentation, videos, FAQs etc. Also, if more help is required, necessary support/feedback channels can be created to address the same. Tools like Slack, Hipchat and IRC are key to enabling seamless customer onboarding experience
- Understanding the customer needs: Before getting started with the product development, it is important to understand the needs of the customers and doing it by wearing their hat and deeply understanding their pain points. Without this understanding, any product, however well developed from an engineering perspective, is of limited use to the customers. A good product design should involve User experience along with a good engineering architecture. This is the only way to empower customers and help them see the ROI fast. Of course, these requirements needs to be prioritized based on its criticality, market impact, number of users etc.. But taking a holistic look from the point of view of the customer is the key first step
- Build customer awareness on the product: Customers should be aware of the product features. Every product should have Release notes updated as and when release happens with exhaustive information about new features, updated features, bug fixes etc.. Customers should be made aware of what product offers by providing demo videos, PPTs, screenshots and, more importantly, giving them a seamless way to play around with product by themselves. This is very important to know how users feel about the product. Track the user’s interactions with the product and use that data to streamline the product UX. Detailed Release notes explaining the changes and the availability of supported documentation & videos will give more clarity to users and also help them know any changes to the product that could impact their workflow
- Focus on Product Quality and cost: Always focus on the product quality so that product will have very few bugs (not saying zero defects :-)), seamless user experience, easy extensibility so that their workflow is not disrupted, etc.. Also, at the same time product should be cost Effective.
These are some of the lessons I learned as we developed CloudMunch platform to remove the friction in the software delivery chain. We learned a lot from the experience and we learned a lot from our customers. Now I am proud that we have built a platform that is empowering our customers to focus on adding value to their organization by removing the constraints and bottleneck in their IT delivery.