31/07/2019 by Jillian Als
Tackling the engagement challenge throughout the customer journey
A few weeks ago, Mono and the Local Search Association (LSA) launched the white paper “The Engagement Challenge” to better understand the challenges, preferences and expectations that small businesses have for their cloud software. In this blog post we focus on the customer journey and how to keep SMBs engaged over time with intelligent software.
In our last blog post on The Engagement Challenge report, we discussed the argument for a do-it-with-me (DIWM) service approach to tackle SMB software engagement. And while service is a crucial element to increase engagement, there are other factors specifically related to the customer journey that are also worth taking into consideration to promote more engagement.
Engagement throughout the customer journey
As with most software, there is no one path to successful adoption of cloud software, especially for small businesses. The latest Modern Commerce Monitor (Wave IV, May 2019) took a look at customer engagement in the adoption of cloud software by asking about their usage over time:
- 46% of SMBs used it heavily at first, but then usage tapered off over time
- 41% of SMBs did not use it as first, but usage has grown over time
- 7% of SMBs used it heavily and first and have maintained that level of activity
- 3% of SMBs have never used the product
Only 7% of users represent ‘the dream scenario’ of software engagement. For the vast majority, the path to adoption varies rather distinctly with nearly half failing to keep up the level of their initial engagement. This begs more questions than it answers. It could just be the nature of any software engagement or it could relate to being more dedicated during the on-boarding and set-up phase whereas the maintenance phase actually doesn’t require as much engagement. It could also indicate that the expected value or return did not materialize quickly enough for the business owner. In any case, there is a missed opportunity because good software should be continually adding value throughout the customer journey.
But what captivates and drives SMBs to maintain active engagement with their software over time? And how can the software itself play a part in driving user engagement?
Flexible cloud software for every occasion
As part of our research for the Engagement Challenge report, we asked nearly 40 SMB software and service industry leaders, “What measures have you taken to improve SMB engagement?” Nearly 70% indicated they are investing more to on-boarding and training, 50% said they are refining their product and service tiers and 44% are looking into offering a more simplified product. All three of these tactics seem to make the argument for adjusting based on the customer journey.
As a B2SMB technology provider, we’re constantly thinking about how our platform can better engage SMB users and continuously meet their expectations throughout their customer journey. While adjusting a product offering, including introducing a more simplified product, can help manage expectations, we believe that the technology itself also plays an intricate role in redefining SMBs behavior and interaction with their business cloud software.
With that said, B2SMB service and software providers need to go beyond adjusting their go-to-market approach to engage SMB customers, and ensure that the technology they provide is flexible enough to meet the expectations of their SMB clients in real-time, as well as over time.
One high-level example of ways technology can do the work for service and software providers is gamification or action-driven prompts. These prompts can help re-engage users when usage tapers off. For example, notifications can help remind them how their cloud software can help drive a return-on-investment for their business: You’ve got 10 new sign ups for your newsletter this week. Why don’t you send them an email?. As Mono’s COO Svenn Andersen noted, it’s about finding the “right balance between doing what it needs without taking too much time or being too complex. And it must live up to expectations.”
There are many other ways to make technology do the work, but the key takeaway is that the solution should be driving the right level of product engagement at the right time to ensure a steady level of growing engagement. This also ultimately enables service providers to upsell and cross sell more effectively and efficiently based on real user data including intent and business need.
Download “The Engagement Challenge” Report
Want to read the full report? Download the report to learn more about how other SMB SaaS professionals, including Mono’s COO Svenn Andersen, view the need for flexible cloud software to better engage SMBs in their digital presence journey.