This is inspired by a post from Intelligent Search Evangelist and Coveo Sales Manager Scott Bideau. Original post can be found here.

Everyone knows how difficult it can be to master a complex software program – and how important it is to become proficient using it when it is a primary “tool of the trade”. Experts of top graphics software are in high demand, and command a premium. Take Adobe Photoshop, for example. It’s the benchmark in image manipulation software, and the industry standard for graphics professionals.

You can easily spot the work of an unskilled Photoshop user. Distorted limbs, strange shadows, and overly embossed text are a few of the tell-tale signs of a novice photo editor. To become a highly proficient Photoshop user, takes years. Much of that knowledge is learned tribally and organically, shared on community boards, documented in tips and tricks, and recorded in countless YouTube clips. Surely this information can be put to work?

Adobe is a Coveo customer, and has indeed been providing its users with unified, relevant search results on its website for some time now. However, with the latest release of Photoshop CS, in-product search has been introduced – bringing access to all that tribal knowledge directly into the context of Photoshop users, where and when they need it: inside Photoshop itself.

Photoshop’s in-product, contextual search is courtesy of Coveo and our machine learning technology. One of the most exciting developments is the ability to pull up educational content that will actively upskill users as they use the product. Photoshop Search describes the experience on their Search page:

“Photoshop features powerful search functionality that lets you search across UI elements, documents, Help & learning content, inspiring Stock assets, and much more—all from within a unified dialog. You can search for items right after launching Photoshop or when one or more documents are open.”

Scott Bideau is a Sales Manager at Coveo and worked with Adobe on this product. “The search use case within Photoshop is especially exciting for me since I have used the Photoshop product since version 4.0, which was released in 1996,” he explained on his blog “In-Product Search Comes to Photoshop.”

This begs the question: why now? Users can find hundreds of tutorials on every platform to solve Photoshop issues and these experts have been around for quite a while. The Photoshop community online is active and full of influencers that are actively producing the content. Why invest in a search tool that will have you competing with these experts?

The big answer is higher brand value. Any time users struggle with a product, they are experiencing frustration. With a SaaS business model, every interaction needs to reinforce that the subscription is worth it – and customers want the path of least resistance for that interaction. Sixty percent of respondents in this survey said that they viewed the ability to help themselves via self-service as one aspect of their judgment of a brand.

In-product search offers easy access to tutorials and helps to increase the time to proficiency with the customer. Google considers a lot of factors (ranking authority, timeliness, keyword depth) that may provide a good start to the user trying to find a certain tutorial. But when they quickly click and scan over the top three results and don’t find an answer, Google is not using that information in a meaningful way, just seeing the needle move on a higher bounce rate to potentially affect the ranking. Google is a multi-purpose tool for finding information, after all.

The Adobe Team is using Coveo’s machine learning technology in Photoshop with one goal in mind: teach customers. So when a user is still clicking around after going through the top results, the machine learning technology in Coveo Machine-Learning is going to collect that data and continue to refine the results. It’s also proactively suggesting helpful content to users. Companies with self-service programs retain 40 percent more of their clientele year-over year. When customers understand Photoshop, they are not going to abandon it. Photoshop can also make sure all of the information is up-to-date, and even boost search results for new features that may help users.

Not only that, providing this in-product search experience helps them connect with their young adult users. Seventy-three percent of millennial (ages 25-34) consumers say they should be able to solve product or service issues on their own, according to a 2015 Customer Experience Survey from Aspect. These consumers are not alone; the same study showed that 76 percent of all generations believe that customer service is a “true test” of their value to the company.

Companies planning to shift to a SaaS model in 2017 would be wise to take a page from Adobe’s book: upskilling your users keeps them invested. When users bought an on-premise product for a substantial sum, there was very little choice in continuing to use it. With SaaS, the users have the power. Retention rates depend on customer experience and a more skilled customer is a happier one.