Most conversations around personas happen with the marketing or product teams. These groups use personas to define typical customers based on their demographics, preferences, values, backgrounds, goals, challenges, aspirations, etc. A persona profile includes a photo and some statements that represent the person.
It may include where to reach that person, especially for marketing purposes. The product team can use it for successful product design so that a product is stickier, performs better and has fewer technical issues.
Using persona-based services in implementation, customer support, and customer success is an essential foundation for startups and early-stage companies. We did and it transformed our business.
It started with an internal commitment to become a 100% customer-centric organization. We knew we could improve the customer experience, which was good, but not the level we aim for. We satisfied customers, but we didn’t make them ecstatic either. We’ve looked at every process, product, product and customer engagement through the lens of the customer and committed to a method of constant reinvention to improve the customer experience.
So we dove into the numbers.
Personas persist throughout the customer lifecycle. From sales to implementation to support, customer success and innovation.
While each customer implementation was different, there were some similarities and characteristics that we were able to compare across multiple customer sets. We looked at 250 data points – about two-thirds were internal and the rest came from secondary research about the company and the market.
Some of the items we looked at were:
- Did they use a competitor’s software?
- What is their reason for choosing us?
- Are they switching from spreadsheets and files?
- What specific problems are they trying to solve? For example, one customer noted that competitors delivered partner quotes in hours, unlike their company, which took several days.
- What is their primary goal to achieve with our software?
We added this intelligence to the standard knowledge transfer conversation between the sales and implementation teams to learn as much as possible about the customer. We used all those points to classify each customer into one of four personas. These personas work for us. Your customer data can lead you to create the personas that matter most in your customer base.
We have divided our implementations into four different personas.
- Simplicity — Focused on implementation speed, time to success and out-of-the-box functionality. CSMs should be involved early in 30-60-90 day planning and best practices.
- Marketing — Focused on design and partner experience. They can ask 10 questions about the photo gallery on the partner portal homepage. They will ask about specific design elements, such as whether buttons can have rounded corners instead of squares, etc.