Gainsight's Product Feedback and Communication Community with inSided
The Gainsight Community
Back in 2018, Gainsight decided to change their online community vendor for the third time since they launched the project in 2014. Yes, you read that right, this would be Gainsight’s third stab at getting their community right. They had to deliver—not just for them, but for their customers too.
This put immense pressure on us at inSided. As a Customer Success community platform with the overall goal of improving customer success in SaaS, having Gainsight choose us as their community platform was a vindication of our company mission.
As is so often the case in B2B SaaS, your own company's success hinges on how successful you can make your customers (and your customers’ customers) with your product. A huge part of nailing this comes from listening to and taking on board, feedback from your users. What’s often even harder is having an efficient workflow—that includes buy-in from all the relevant departments in your organization—to do this effectively. So, with a little help from us, that’s exactly what Gainsight set out to deliver on with their community this time around.
Why use a community to gather product feedback?
All products spark questions—and suggestions—from customers, right? But gathering and answering those questions can be a tricky task for any organization. The beauty of online communities is that they offer a secure, transparent one-stop-shop where customers can ask questions, and you can gather their feedback on your product.
In short, online communities operate very nicely at the intersection of what your product does, and the two main things your customers want:
- To achieve maximum value from your product
- For their feedback to be taken seriously
The beauty of this? It’s exactly what your Customer Success and Product team want too! So, when Gainsight started their community on the inSided platform, one of their main goals was to close the loop on product feedback—showing their customers that not only was their opinion valued, it was an integral part of the product development process too.
How did Gainsight set out to do it?
Back in 2014 Gainsight had roughly 150 customers and 120 employees. They also already had one of the largest communities in the Customer Success industry. The problem? Their Customer Success Managers were inundated with product feedback from their customers. Their answer then was to channel that feedback through their Customer Support department. As you can imagine, this was far from ideal, especially given the fact support agents are usually not equipped to respond to customer feedback.
So, Gainsight looked to the community as an answer, with gathering product feedback as the number one use case for launching. The mission? “To provide a forum for customers, partners, and Gainsight employees to provide product feedback that impacts the roadmap, and to receive product support and solutions from peers.”
They realized immediately that one of the most important aspects of making this work was to get their Product team deeply committed to the goal of the community.
As Denise Stokowski, Group VP Platform Products at Gainsight explains, “It’s not that complex a use case, but the workflow is extremely important...We wanted to make sure the community wasn’t just for customer success, also for our Product team.” Having a platform that made this as simple and as effective as possible for all teams was key in Gainsight’s choice to go with inSided as their community vendor. On top of that, there were a number of other key differentiators that the inSided platform offers that made us stand out from the crowd:
- More interaction and engagement capabilities–gamification elements are hugely important when using the community for product feedback and communication.
- Better search functionalities–customers, and employees can find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily.
- Easy integration with Gainsight and your CRM—giving you next-level customer data, which is especially important when it comes to assessing the value of product feedback to your organization.
It was the buy-in from Customer Success, Support, and Product, that really started them on the path to success. As Denise nicely states, “Community is a team sport.” If you want your customers to keep coming back to your community and giving their feedback, you have to have your product teams on board, willing to reply and explain their processes transparently.
When teams take the time to respond to customers’ feedback it makes them feel heard, respected, and ultimately more likely to come back again. As Denise nicely put it, “We wanted our users to get more return on investment for their time when coming to the community.” Of course, Gainsight also has a number of great ways to show their appreciation for their customers giving feedback. For example, they use gamification in the form of leaderboards and badges on the community to reward the most active contributors. And they also celebrate a ‘Star of the month’ for the best idea on the community. And the ideas come in thick and fast.
In 2019 alone, Gainsight gathered—and implemented—over 70 customer ideas from the community!
Product Feedback is not a one-way street
Importantly, product feedback is all about two-way communication, and the community facilitates that perfectly. The more you give back to your customers, the more you get from them. Which is why Gainsight also uses their community to update customers on their product roadmap and publish new product release notes—keeping their customers well informed and making sure they’re armed with all the information they need to get the most from their product.
They also use the community to run beta programs—finding out who would like to participate and then setting up private groups on the community for customers to give feedback and insights on upcoming product releases. This transparency and exclusivity that Gainsight offers their community members really makes them feel like they are part of Gainsight’s product development and is what makes them keep coming back for more.
So there you have it, that’s how, and why, Gainsight use their inSided Customer Success community to gather product feedback and communicate openly with their customers. Why not try a free demo of the inSided platform today and see how you can use the community to gather product feedback and let your customers help shape your product roadmap.
This article is based on the keynote speech from Denise Stokowski, Group VP Platform Products from Gainsight’s Pulse event, 2019.