Product Success Trends Every Company Can Benefit From

6 min read

2020 is well underway, but it is not too late to embrace current trends and the ones to come. In this article we are going to look into product success specifically—what trends are predicted for 2020 and the coming decade, what that means for your business, and how you can use this insight to your advantage.

Proactive Is The New Reactive

This trend has been coming for some time, but its capabilities are now taking shape. With the growth in predictive analytics today, we can provide better support throughout the customer journey with predicted customer outcomes. With the ability to analyze thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of different data factors in just split seconds we can gain a deeper understanding of customer behaviors. 

This can open opportunities for more proactive product success models, focusing on equipping customers with what they need before issues arise. 68% of users are impressed when sent proactive notifications and 72% expect customer service agents to know about their previous engagements. Rather than following the traditional “if that, then this” strategy mindset, we can take on a “when this happens, we will be prepared with this...” approach, making teams better prepared all-around to handle evolving customer needs and wants. By supplying customers with valuable resources, rather than just reactive tools, customers will be more likely to succeed from the start. 

This is also important for understanding what future products your customer base is looking for. By understanding their needs and tracking feedback, you can make predictive measures in developing future projects aiming them toward specific market gaps. This can help ensure a successful product launch by nailing down the audience who is best suited for it and catering the product experience toward their needs. 

Technology To Scale Product Support Efforts

This is huge for product success. Many companies reach a point in their growth where they’re pushing out fresh innovative products that pull customers in, but as they gain these new customers, they struggle to support them with all of the experiences and issues surrounding the product purchase. And, when the customer cannot be supported throughout their journey, due to an overloaded support team and poor online self-service experience and lack of helpful content, resources and convenient transactions, they will oftentimes be unsuccessful with the product as a whole. 

By using intelligent, self-learning customer self-service software solutions, companies have the ability to not only sustain their growth but tend to each customer’s individual success while decreasing churn. This software allows support teams to service large numbers of requests without losing effectiveness, freeing up time for more complex contacts. And this ability to empower customers to help themselves through common transactions or issues they may encounter not only frees up the support team but provides a better experience overall for the modern-day consumer looking for quick and convenient solutions. 

The Role Of Data

Yes, using data to guide business decisions isn’t anything new. But in the last decade, data-driven businesses have blown up, and it only makes sense that this trend will continue to rise. The way we collect and analyze data affects all aspects of the customer’s journey with the product, and therefore should be included in product success efforts. 

This shift in prominence of data-driven decision making means product success teams can gain a real-time understanding of customer behaviors, learning what areas are the most effective or least effective in interacting with customers, providing resources, and encouraging success in a proactive manner. 

This also opens the opportunity to gain a better understanding of different metrics, like conversion and churn rates, customer lifetime value and acquisition costs, and more. Being able to see tangible results of different product success efforts across the customer journey allows for quick identification and resolution of possible problems that may arise. This ability to better understand your customer’s progression through their product journey also opens the door for the proactive strategies we discussed above. 

Omnichannel Experiences

An omnichannel experience is when a company interacts with their customers across multiple channels, such as social media, in-app support, live-video, chat options, and more. Investing in omnichannel experiences can be challenging in the sense of providing consistent experiences across all of these channels, but can be quite rewarding. Businesses that consistently provide omnichannel experiences keep 89% of their clients, while those that do not offer consistent service can keep only 33%.

This strategy of offering supporting experiences at your customer’s most convenient touchpoints is a big step for product success. Modern customers want to quickly and easily find what they need without needing to contact, search through their desktop, or go out of their way. For example, if a business’s website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50% of customers will stop visiting it, even if they like the business. Being available in easy-access places is becoming a must for product success. In fact, in their 2020 report, PWC found that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to over 80%. 

walgreens omnichannel mobile self-service

Walgreens, for example, has recently been highlighted by Forbes as one of the highest regarded mobile retail apps in the US. The app has all kinds of features allowing its users to find product deals, order online, manage their prescriptions, earn rewards, and more. Taking all of this to mobile, where their customers visit most frequently, is how they’re encouraging success with their products and services. 

Personalization Delivered At Scale

2020 just might be the decade of personalization. More than 70% of consumers are disappointed when they get indifferent experiences. Customers shopping online want to feel as though they are receiving the personally tailored help of in-store shopping placed at finger-tip convenience. This can be extremely difficult to deliver on when supporting thousands (or more) of customers, each with unique wants and needs, expecting their own tailored buying experiences. Customers are looking for personalized shopping efforts, such as guided selling, interactive search options, and product landing pages rich with relevant content.

This is where the idea of contextualization comes into play. Contextual experiences understand things like who the customer is, what product they own or wish to own, what their product goals are, and their intended usage. And, this contextualization can refer to anything: region and language of the user, the various brands your company controls, what product or service page is being sourced, and more. Contextualization introduces this ability to provide a personalized experience at scale supporting the future of successful products and returning customers. 

Trek bikes self-service personalization experience
Trek bikes self-service personalization experience
Credit:  Trek Bikes

And it can go beyond product resources as well. Contextualization can be used in contact-us transactions to collect customer information and provide the best resources and escalation options available. It can even go as far as dynamic assignment, matching customers to the best-suited support agents for their specific issue. This can automate the matching process and deliver not only more personalized help but more successful help experiences overall. 

AI Meets Human Interaction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been on the rise for some time now, with some mixed feelings across customers and companies alike. This is due to the point we just discussed above—personalization. AI serves customers at scale, allows room for growth, and offers key insights into customer interactions. The downfall, however, is its lack of human touch. 

But in 2020, we see AI and human interaction coming together to bring that level of scalability while remaining personalized. This can come in a variety of forms, for example, live chat options that collect users’ contextual information first, and if their issue cannot be solved with an easy resource, offering live human support. 80% of enterprises say they already use or plan to use chatbots by 2020. 

And even in the cases where a live human is not brought in, technology is becoming more advanced to the level that it can nearly replicate human interaction. From the contextual possibilities we discussed combined with advancing technology, automated processes can become more accurate and “human.”

Amazon AI human interaction self-service
Credit: Amazon

Building Employee Knowledge

Looking toward the business side of things, employee onboarding and existing employee training may also see some improvements coming with the new decade. These improvements are not only focused toward the product success team but the company as a whole. This ability to acquire scalable resources is not just for the customers, but for the internal teams supporting them. Companies are going to begin shifting their focus from hiring loads of new employees to cover customer growth to prioritizing educational programs to make current staff more effective. 

This can come in a variety of forms, such as investing in a company-wide knowledge base, utilizing a training portal, and providing valuable assets that anyone can access at any time they need. 

This trend can have huge impacts on product success. Rather than a large team that doesn’t have the proper resources to serve customer needs, an appropriate amount of employees will acquire the proper assets and knowledge to successfully serve each customer interaction. 

Looking Forward

Each year brings new trends to the business world, and each decade brings new themes that will remain prevalent for quite some time. Focusing on small trends that change month to month is ineffective and time-consuming. But, looking at this bigger picture of the themes that are arising over the next decade is how you proactively work to align your business strategy with your future customers’ goals and needs.

For more on encouraging product success, learn about guided selling, building customer knowledge, how branding plays a role, and what exactly makes a product successful. 

David Hayden
Software entrepreneur who enjoys building products that empower business people to create and evolve enterprise applications without code.

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