MindTouch & Frontleaf Partner to Provide Powerful Customer Insights
Today we announced a product partnership between Frontleaf and MindTouch. From the first time we spent together, it was clear that our two companies were motivated by a common philosophy of Customer Success, even though our product offerings take two very different paths to get there — MindTouch by enabling customers to help themselves, and Frontleaf by providing actionable insights about how to better serve those customers.
What is so exciting to me is that, by bringing these two approaches together, we can give our shared customers a 1 + 1 = 3 moment. In the very act of providing self-service support, companies can generate signals of customer health and act on them to keep and grow their customers. Let's take a look at how we got here.
MindTouch and Frontleaf's Shared Tenets of Customer Success
Customer Success has gone mainstream in the last year, and is even starting to become a buzzword along the lines of "Growth Hacking". But at its core, Customer Success refers to the process of ensuring your customers can reach their desired outcome through using your product, and in doing so your company gets downstream business benefits of increased customer retention and growth.
MindTouch and Frontleaf strongly subscribe to the following three tenets of delivering Customer Success:
The Importance of Self-Service. Regardless of whether your customers are paying you $20 or $20,000 per month, you need to offer them a way to help themselves. For some customers, it's just their preferred learning style. For others, it's because they like to work at 10pm or are based on another continent than your Customer Success team. In all cases, it's also a great way to ensure consistency and accuracy of important information.
Nail and Scale Onboarding. The new customer onboarding phase is a unique opportunity to create early value and a lasting positive relationship. Having the right balance of terrific materials, personal touch points, and a "do-it-yourself track” ensures customers get on the right path and stay there throughout their journey with your company.
Look for Signals Beyond Product Usage. Companies have gotten much better in the last couple years at analyzing how their customers use their products. Is it a coincidence this trend parallels the rise of companies like MixPanel and Segment? Probably not. But it's not enough to analyze just how product usage correlates with customer churn and growth. There are a variety of touch points that comprise the customer experience — sales, marketing, customer support, executive visits, self-service resources, and events, to name just a few. The best indicators of customer health will incorporate this broader picture of customer engagement.
With this shared perspective, it quickly became clear how Frontleaf and MindTouch could complement each other in a powerful way.
The Combined Product Offering — The "Wow!" Moment
So how did we figure out how combine our product offerings? Let's look at the basics of what each does. MindTouch provides self-service support, driving user adoption and accelerating sales cycles by ensuring that customers on your site find the most helpful content in the right context. Frontleaf, on the other hand, analyzes a variety of customer activities, especially product usage, so you can figure out which of your customers are at-risk and then easily take action to keep them.
The "Eureka!" moment for us was when MindTouch's CEO Aaron Fulkerson suggested that we take the exact same approach that Frontleaf uses to translate product usage into predictive customer health insights, and apply it to article consumption within MindTouch's Success Center content.
And why not? MindTouch has years of data and customer anecdotes to suggest that strategic use of self-serve content can accelerate sales cycles, create user advocates, and drive customer retention. Using Frontleaf to standardize the analytics required to generate those kinds of insights, and then make them available to any MindTouch customer suddenly seemed like a very good idea. And with that, we set out to let our shared customers both empower their users and unlock insights about how to retain and grow them at the very same time.
How It Works
To get started, companies just need to add a Frontleaf template to their existing MindTouch Success Center and enable Frontleaf's CRM integration features. Frontleaf then mines the database of article views and overlay it with sales, renewal, and upsell information. Frontleaf's predictive algorithms will identify the articles that have the biggest influence on sales and customer retention, as well as generate predictive models for purchase and churn based on article usage behaviors. Companies of all kinds can use Frontleaf and MindTouch together to monitor for customer risk and buying signals, then kick off action plans to intervene at the right time.
Check out this one-minute video from Mindtouch CEO Aaron Fulkerson to see more about how it works.
Why It Matters
I can't wait to see how this combined offering is embraced by the market. I believe it represents an important step in the maturity of Customer Success applications and practices. It demonstrates the benefits of having a comprehensive strategy for delivering an exceptional customer experience, and learning from doing it so you can deliver better results over time.
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