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3 steps to push your customers to engage with new product features: segment, communicate, analyze

Releasing a new feature is always a challenge, much of the feature success is dependent on its release process. When will it be released? To which users? How should we communicate the release? How can we measure success?

We all hate receiving an email out of the blue from a service we stopped using a long time ago, touting some feature we don’t understand. Similarly, when an important capability is released in one of the services we use regularly, we want to know so we can get to the benefits immediately. When you talk to your users the message must be aligned with the way they use your application.

When we recently released a major upgrade to Totango, we were faced with this challenge as well. We upgraded our segmentation engine (Active-lists) with important Tagging and Alerting capabilities. It’s actually a massive upgrade to our core functionality and we wanted to make sure to properly communicate it to users at different proficiency levels and stages in their lifecycle journey with Totango.

This is how we shared this with our customers:

1. Segment the user base.
First, we defined three KPIs to measure: one regarding segment creation and two to measure interaction with those segments. Next step was to see where our users stood relative to these KPIs. Then, we divided our users to three groups: non users, standard users, and heavy users.

2. Communicate the right message to each segment.
Now we needed to decide what to communicate to each user group. The plan was to have the heavy users be the first to see and use the new feature, followed by the rest of the groups.

We communicated directly with the heavy users through a personal email or a phone call. We played around with the new feature together and answered their specific questions/needs. Doing that enabled us to learn more about what we did better and what were the issues we needed to solve.

The second group was the standard users. They had received a group email notifying them about the new feature and links to a screencast explaining how to use the new feature to implement some solid (but general) use cases we came up with.

The non users group did not receive explicit communications on the new features. Instead they received a publication regarding the basic feature of segmentation which we expected would pique their interest enough to explore and discover the new feature screencast.

All of our users were invited to a designated webinar on this topic and feature.

3. Analyze the use.
The same KPIs that we used to segment our users and some specific actions we expected our users to perform were then analyzed. The most important thing we expected to see was a general rise in our basic KPIs, and looking at specific actions would help us understand exactly what the users are doing.

About a month after the feature release we sent a short survey to all our users to learn how they were using our segmentation engine and whether or not they were aware of the new feature.

Following this process will help you manage and monitor new features release. Talking with each user in a language that is aligned with their level of engagement and understanding makes much more sense to the user. This is just the same as every conversation we have in real life – the conversation is more effective if you understand the level of understanding that the person at the other side has.

Oren Raboy

Prior to Totango, Oren founded Kidyosj and Beyondo, and served as the Head of Products at P-Cube (acquired by Cisco). In short, he’s a perpetual entrepreneur who has finally found the winning product in Totango.

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