Apr 7, 2010

Service / Product Experience and Content Strategy

Contract As part of this series on content, we've been looking at how every expression and communication a company organizes is an opportunity to build context through content -- and relationships as an outcome.
Does your organization have a service or product experience content strategy?
When you think about content strategically, the result is a better relationship with your customers.
Setting expectations means taking the time to define the customer experience and communicating at each step in the buyer's decision journey.
Some examples of thoughtful content at this stage are service contracts, product manuals, directions and maps to and of your centers. Items that explain, orient, guide, and define the experience of a product or service are part of this content phase.
Are your service contract and product manual as easy to navigate as your phone tree system? In that case, you have a starting point for improvement. Complexity reaches a point of no return -- literally, customers go off and buy from companies with simpler terms.
Have you forgot the meaning of hosting?If we live in a world that is always in beta, contractual relationships tend to follow suit. Today, customers want shorter term deals so they can continue to evaluate your service as they experience it -- and they will tell all their peers about their experience, too. Your contract is also content marketing.
Andy Sernovitz provides a really good example of when terms and conditions are not seen as an opportunity. As a linguist, I'm all over the term hosting as in being a good host. You would think that an upgrade is a chance to renew a customer relationship.
When in doubt, out-teach
This is something I learned from Kathy Sierra, a lesson that stays with me. Out-teaching helps you with retention, it helps you with customer happiness, it helps your own employees deconstruct what they contribute to, creatively. What are blogs and collaboration tools but also ways to teach what we know?
Way after you signed up to the RSS or email feed for this blog, I'm here researching and proposing what I'm learning with you. And am loving every minute of it.
Your checklist at this stage includes:
  • staying engaged with the customer at every touch point
  • listening actively to and participating in customer feedback
  • continually providing valuable content throughout the experience maturity
This is the phase where marketing tends to walk away, because somehow embracing customers is customer service's job. Product manuals, service agreements, contracts -- these are all marketing, whether you see it that way or not.
Each of your pieces of content should be solving an information problem. Some of them will be solving one your customer didn't know it had. With digital media, you have the opportunity to make the how you solve that problem iterative and interactive.

© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.