Zift Solutions helps channel organizations increase channel sales and boost marketing impact with a superior technology platform, a complete channel marketing success framework, and global customer care. Since launching in 2006, Zift has worked with thousands of channel partners and industry-leading suppliers to reduce the costs and complexities of channel marketing while moving the sales needle up at the same time.
Unique usability challenges
As a product manager at Zift, Tom DuScheid focuses on personas, product enhancements, and usability. Zift faces some unique usability challenges due to their user makeup.
“Our solutions aren’t just used by our direct customers,” said Tom. “For us to be successful they must be picked up and used regularly by our customers’ downstream partners. We really don’t always know how savvy our users will be about marketing concepts.” The product team at Zift needed to streamline the user experience for their power users, yet provide enough detail to ensure more complex features can easily be manipulated by less savvy users.
The solution was to add contextual guidance at key points within the interface. “In a report, we might label something as ‘CTOR’ for click to open ratio. Someone with a marketing background would know what that is, but a lot of the smaller channel partners don’t have internal marketing resources. For those users, we needed a tooltip that explains the acronym, and a link to our knowledge base for more detail.”
The product team initially looked to develop the guides internally. “We asked the engineering team to scope out the project. As we started to understand that it was going to be a multi-month development project to create the tooltips ourselves, we knew that we needed to find an external solution.” Pendo provided the capabilities that they were looking for and required minimal engineering effort to deploy.
“The engineering team really liked that they could ‘set it and forget it’ without having to go back in and make adjustments as we deployed new guides.”
Using in-app guides to optimize the customer experience
Zift now has nearly 30 guides deployed across their applications and has seen significant reductions in support load. “We started with little tooltips. We deployed them where we thought users might struggle. Pretty quickly we were able to see a lot of interaction with the guides and a drop-off in the number of support requests. We advanced our efforts to start creating walkthroughs for some of our more complex pages including several changes to our ‘Selected Reports’ page. In addition, a walkthrough was created that showed users everything that had changed. These updates didn’t generate any support tickets when launched and we have received positive feedback from our customers.”
Identifying and attacking other areas of improvement
Although the product team at Zift was initially focused on building out guides, they quickly began to realize the value of integrating their in-app guidance with detailed product analytics. “Some of the things we’ve observed have been really eye-opening. We always assumed that users were starting their sessions in the application on the homepage, and had invested a lot of energy into the design of that page. It turns out that most of our users bypass it completely and go directly to other pages. Now we know not to prioritize development projects on this page.”
The team has also been able to measure feature use and how well users are able to complete tasks in the application. “We noticed that very few downstream partners actually send out a campaign. The content that suppliers provide isn’t always helpful, and the process can be somewhat complicated. We built a funnel report around the process and quickly found that users weren’t following or completing the expected process. We’re now looking at redesigning the entire process as well as implementing a new email builder that should be easier to use. Pendo has been a tremendous help in identifying and addressing usability issues that we weren’t even aware of before.”