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Webinar Recap: Managing Knowledge for Customer Success

Written by Bill Cushard

Published on March 14, 2016

On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, we hosted a webinar with special guest Francoise Tourniaire of FTWorks to discuss ways to manage knowledge to improve customer success. Not only is Francoise founder and owner of FTWorks, she is author of numerous books including, The Art of Software Support, Just Enough CRM, and Collective Wisdom, Transforming Support Through Knowledge, so she is uniquely qualified to talk about how enterprise software companies can put knowledge management support processes in place that help customers learn, use, and achieve desired outcomes using your software. 

This is just a short recap of a few key things I took away from the webinar, which I believe you will find useful. 

In this webinar we discussed numerous topics with Francoise that included:

  • Five Big Jobs of Customer Success
  • Leveraging Self-Services to Scale Customer Success
  • Measuring the Success of Customer Success
  • Communicating with Customers
  • Understanding Customers (Journeys and Profiles)

Among these topics, I found two especially important and worthy of a mention in this post.

What is Self-Service?

When we started talking about self-service, I asked Francoise whether there is a risk of demonstrating to customers that self-service support is dumping customers off to a low-touch offering that they perceive as a company not willing to invest in their success. Tourniaire stressed that self-service should be woven into an overall knowledge management process that offers customers many choices. She also walked through four self-service offerings that threaten to break your belief that knowledge management is just help files. 

Self-service should include:

Online Training: Self-paced tutorials can be accessed by customers to learn specific tasks about your product in a structured way.

Job Aides: If structured well, job aides can help customers find and perform specific tasks in the software.

Best Practices Training: One of the most overlooked aspect of educating customers is helping them learn the best ways to use your product to get their work done. This is not feature training. This is about how to perform one's job using the software. 

Graduated Hints: In learning software, there are times in the learning and usage journey when it is appropriate to learn certain functions but not others. Graduated hints are used to say things like, "OK, so you just started using this product, the first thing you should learn to do is this. After you master that, you should take time next week to learn this next tasks." This process can progress over time to help customers learn tasks, when appropriate, so as not to overwhelm them. 

After this section of the webinar, I had a much broader view of self-service. It is worth a listen.

The No. 1 Job of the Support / Customer Success Organization

In the second half of the webinar, we talked about the most controversial point Tourniaire made, which is that the number one job of a support organization is not ticket resolution, but content management. 


Yes. That made me do a double take as well.

You really need to listen to this part of the webinar to appreciate it. Her main point is that so much of managing knowledge for customers success is about content that support organizations need to become adept of gathering ideas for content from customers, creating that content, keeping it up-to-date, and measuring whether that content is working. 

It is no easy task and new skills will be required. In fact, Tourniaire discussed the new skills support and customer success teams need to develop in order to be successful. At 52 minutes into the webinar, she discusses those skills.  

In this recap, I only covered two of the many topics we discussed. So, if you find these ideas useful, I recommend you listen to the entire webinar. 

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Originally published Mar 14, 2016 4:16:31 PM, updated Mar 14, 2016