Features Don’t Sell Software – Customer Experiences Do

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Numbers, software features, even customer reviews can’t hold a candle to a genuine, first-time excellent customer experience. Not sure if that’s true? Let me explain what I mean.

Since I was in college, I had this massive down jacket that could keep me warm during an ice age. Here in New England, we call that winter.

Problem was, it probably weighed about as much as I did and made me look like Darth Michelin Man. By the time the ultralight down jackets became a thing, I was very happy to upgrade. Last ice age – I mean, winter – I finally picked up an ultralight down coat that could keep me cozy at in sub-freezing weather and it weighed only one pound.

Passive features vs active experience

When I took my new coat outside for the first time on my commute into Chinatown, I realized that there was more to my new jacket than just being light as a feather.

After putting on the hood, I found that it kept both my head and my neck warm without the need for a hat or a scarf. I put my hands in the pockets and found that they were quite warm in there without the need for gloves. Unlike my last coat, this one fit my body perfectly and locked the warmth above my waist without the need for adjustments. And perhaps the coolest feature of all—once I got inside where it was warm, I discovered that the coat had a special pocket that I could stuff it into like a sleeping bag.

The funny thing is, I didn’t know about any of this when I bought it. All I wanted was a light winter coat.

Thinking back, all I remember from the online listing was its weight, something about the fabric, and some good customer reviews. All of this makes sense. I mean, you can’t really convey how important things like how a hood fits or how warm the pockets are on a web page.

It wasn’t until I was actually outside with the coat that I naturally discovered all its great features from normal use. I expected to just have a coat that weighed less. I didn’t expect to have a truly amazing coat.

This got me thinking about how much of a difference it makes when you actually get to try something out in a real situation when you’re deciding whether or not to buy it.

Bringing customers into the software experience

Companies that make coats may never get to create that experience for their customers. However, when you’re selling software, you can do something close to it by showing your screen and walking through a typical experience. You only need two things:

  • A way for customers to see your screen
  • A realistic demo flow through your product

Glance has you covered in the screen sharing department. With our screen sharing service, it only takes a couple seconds for guests to connect and see your screen, no downloads, no apps or anything else involved.

The part you need to think more carefully about is how you craft that first vicarious taste of your product. When you share your screen with someone else, they put themselves in your shoes and imagine themselves at your desk doing what you are doing. With their attention at hand, you can demonstrate your software as it would naturally be used and it feels like they are the ones enjoying it.

Walk through each step:

  • What thought prompts you to open your software up?
  • What are you trying to do?
  • How do you do it?
  • What do you do next?

You want to consider how and why your software is used and emphasize the most important, relevant parts to your customer in order of how they discover them in natural use. It’s best to walk through the software as naturally as possible without jumping around to different features or functions out of context. Focus on the big picture of your product’s overall purpose and design. The features will naturally tie into that purpose.

Making it a great experience

Our friends at SalesForce did exactly this when they introduced the new Lightning Experience. After years of a tired, dated user experience, SalesForce reinvigorated its massive CRM with a focused design that brought the most useful features to the front. If you have about ten minutes, click the link below. You’ll need to scrub to about 36 minutes in to get the good part:

Salesforce Lightening - Glance co-browse

Again, John Moxley did a fantastic job with this demonstration. Notice how he flowed through the new experience.

He started by showing people where they could switch back to the Classic version. Then Moxley walked through each object with the Lightning Experience’s new layout and features.

He began with the home page and showed how you can set goals, see relevant news and review important tasks. Without skipping a beat, he naturally flowed from the home page to an opportunity to examine its outstanding tasks and continued the tour. He makes similar transitions to accounts, reports, tasks and notes, pausing to go through features before he transitions to the next object. He also enjoys some well-timed jokes along the way that make it fun.

Moxley could have easily opened each redesigned page one by one and pointed out the changes his team made: now we’re looking at this, and we changed this, this and this, isn’t it great? Instead, he naturally flowed from one to the next as a normal user would, making each point relevant, understandable and interesting.

Moxley didn’t show what was in the new design. Instead, he let the users see themselves enjoying the new design. Viewing the demonstration, it feels like you are there using the product. Moreover, Moxley knew in advance what to talk about as the audience naturally grew curious.

Engage customers for a more effective interaction

Here’s the bottom line: your software demos via screen share will be insanely effective if you can capture your customer’s perfect experience in front of their eyes. The features are nice, but nothing can top an honest vision of what the future holds.

Speaking of honest visions of what the future holds, I’m going to take this old coat of mine and see if Darth Michelin Man can make a cameo in the next Star Wars movie.

About Glance Networks

Glance helps enterprise organizations create the ultimate customer experience with smart, omni-channel visual engagement solutions based around integrated cobrowse, screen share, and one-way agent video. We are one of the world’s simplest, most reliable and secure platforms that enable companies to see, show and share anything online, creating a frictionless path to great experiences in sales, support and customer service. The result is improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, increased revenue growth and operational savings. From financial services and healthcare to retail and travel and leisure, even the most advanced technology and SaaS organizations – we transform the customer experience for today’s business. Learn More »




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