SaaS means Competition. It is a volume game. SaaS providers need to be a problem solver for several customers. Whichever direction you look at – be it HR, CRM, ERP, anything you would see several players trying to solve similar set of pain points for their customers. How do they differentiate from one another? Strategy, new innovative features, pricing, what not? Majority of the players use “customer success” as the differentiator. Look at SAP, Office365, Workday, etc. Everyone looks at customer success as the mantra for creating that magic – stickiness with the customers. They understand the impact of customer success on their SaaS success and growth potential.
In SaaS business model, it is (supposedly) easy for the customers to go away from the providers. It is easy to shift to another provider. In this environment, Customer Success Teams can create the essential stickiness required for keeping your customers. What are some of the best practices followed by successful customer success teams? You can see their behavior under various phases:
During Trial Sign-ups
- Understand the objectives of the trial and help the prospective customers set the objective of the trial
- Understand the pain points of the prospects and see how your product solves those challenges
- Help the prospects do proper evaluation.
It is critical to balance between the provider’s objective and prospects objectives. Often times, trial signup is provided to make life easier for both parties. But, you cannot put entire responsibilities of the trial evaluation to the prospects. Successful customer support teams take proactive steps to help the evaluators. They indulge the users by offering help, guide them to the feature which they may be looking for, may be, help them do a POC or by doing a POC; they take initiative to talk to their management team, etc. Putting entire responsibilities on the prospects may keep the cost of customer success team – low; but, cost of acquisition will be quite high. If you want to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, make sure that you proactively help your prospects.
Successful customer success teams will know the metrics of no. of trial customers signed up for trial, how many are actively evaluating, how many are nearing the expiration, how many are struggling to use, where they are struggling, etc. You need a good dashboard and information on these. Good news is that you already have all these information available from your SaaS product. A simple look at product analytics will provide complete history of the product usage and where your prospect is struggling.
- Help them during the on-board process. If any integration required (eg. Single-sign-on, one less password to keep in mind), please help them. Make sure that your product supports such integrations; if not, fight with your engineering team to bring in such hooks.
- Offer them assistance almost on daily basis so that they can bring as many users as possible quickly. That is the way you can maximize your (SaaS) earnings.
- Provide enough confidence on your product and if required, offer them an end-user training. I am sure there may be bit of difficulties, eg. Workflow, business rules, customization, configuration, etc. Will be good for the customers to get expert help and opinions.
- Make sure that you keep an eye on the usage metrics. If the usage is reducing over a period of time, make sure that you have alert setup on this and go back to the customer. There may be something your customers didn’t like on your product.
- Provide them a report on their accomplishments, usage, etc. This will be a great insight for them on how they are using the software.
- Keep an eye on your SLA for your customers.
- Make sure that you call their “best users” and provide some helping hand, tips on usage once in a while.
Customer success teams will have to balance the needs between customers and product engineering team. They have to bat for customers and make sure that they delight your customers. This will help in retaining your customers in difficult situations.
Techcello provides an integrated, SaaS lifecycle management solution. It provides a dashboard which is a breathing ground for the customer success teams. They get complete insight of usage history, sign-up, conversions, payment history, etc. For more details, please visit www.techcello.com or ask for a trial signup at http://resources.techcello.com/downloadcelloSaaS?iframe=true&width=70%&height=75%