This post by Mikael Blaisdell originally appeared in The Customer Success Forum.
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Jenn Thompson knows much more about the features and functions of your company’s application than anyone in your Sales, Support, Training or Customer Success department.
She regularly does things in the system that no one else even realizes are possible.
Where the average user probably taps at best 10-15% of the capabilities of the app, Jenn consistently works with upwards of 50%.
Jenn is a Maven, a power-user — and she doesn’t work for you, she’s a key employee of one of your customers.
Do you even know she exists? Do you have any sense of the real and potential value she is to your company?
You should, because Jenn just got hired away from her former employer and there is no one else at that company that can step into her shoes.
As a result of her departure, the value that your customer company realizes from their subscription to your product has substantially dropped. There is a potential risk scenario invisibly developing that could threaten that income stream.
When will you become aware of it, and what will you do to address the situation?
Unfortunately, for many firms, Jenn’s move won't be noticed or understood because there is no one responsible for recognizing the mavens or tracking them. No one “owns” the creation and development of power-users.
As a result, these resources go untapped. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The Customer Success group is the logical place where the responsibility for maven-management should reside. The CSM team should have the technology to track application feature-usage by individuals that can be used to identify power users and their activities. From this data, a profile can be built that can be used to find similar users across the entire customer base.
But just knowing about Jenn and others like her is only the beginning of realizing their potential.
Ideally, there should be a Jenn at each one of your accounts, directly enhancing the value those customers enjoy and strengthening their relationship with you.
If a company doesn’t have a power-user on staff, offer them a training program to develop one — and/or rent them a maven in the meantime. Identify the various levels and phases mavens go through so that you can effectively guide others up that power trajectory.
Analyze the financial value that mavens bring to their companies from their increased usage and understanding so that you can demonstrate to others why they, too, should have someone like Jenn on the team. Use these insights to create marketing materials to highlight the value your company can offer to prospective new customers.
Treat the mavens as a customer portfolio or community of their own and connect them with each other so that they can share tips and techniques — while you carefully listen and take extensive notes.
When a power-user leaves a customer company, find out where they went so that the potential opportunity for gaining a new customer there can be explored — while you quickly help fill the gap left behind.
Who manages the maven community at your company? How do you recognize them and enhance the relationship?
What are the key features of your app that can indicate the presence of a maven? What use do you make of these resources in your operations?
For more insight on how your company’s Customer Success team can significantly increase their contribution to the profitability of the company, join in the conversations at Customer SuccessCon or in The Customer Success Forum.
About the Author
Mikael Blaisdell is the Director of the Customer Success Association. He is the leading voice in the SaaS sector on the strategy, process, people and technology of customer retention and increased customer profitability.