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Successful customer interactions help build the company via success stories. Big and famous customers, spread the word about a product far. This much is true for any successful company, but there is an added benefit in the case of SaaS companies.
Because SaaS is subscription-based, the continued success of customers has the added benefit of retaining their subscriptions. The dreaded churn, the tendency to lose customers over time, is certainly a thing to consider because it usually hovers at about 5%. Good companies have been able to reduce it to 3% or even less.
In short, your customer’s success is your success. Here are 5 tips for a good SaaS Customer Success strategy.
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1. Adopt a customer success strategy early
If you adopt a customer strategy early in the development of a company, the value will be all the greater. The only thing people love more than an underdog is an underdog that they actually like. Customer strategy should be a major concern very early on.
Involving a dedicated customer success manager early will help build a company environment that centers customers and convince them that they are valued. You’re investing limited and valuable resources in helping them be successful with your product.
The feedback you receive from a capable customer success team will be momentous in developing your business down the line. More on that later. Oh, and don’t forget to arm them with good customer support tools!
2. Develop an onboarding process
The primary task for your customer success team is to get customers set up and ready to use the product. Ideally, an onboarding process will leave a customer satisfied with some of their needs fulfilled in the very first session with your product.
Certain companies even provide a dedicated onboarding manager to walk some of the new customers through their onboarding step by step. This is a highly tailored service and is mostly reserved for high-value customers as it’s an expensive resource.
For the “general population” of users, SaaS companies automate their onboarding processes with a combination of walkthroughs and possibly a few emails with useful tips to get them started.
Whichever the approach, it’s important to have a process that delivers some value to customers early on. This will encourage them to keep using your product.
3. What is success?
You cannot ensure success without knowing what it is. It can be fairly specific. What one company considers success may be a failure for another. A customer success manager is tasked with the responsibility of figuring out what a successful outcome is for their customers.
In the case of a restaurant business, customer success could mean customers returning or becoming regular. In the retail business, it could mean customers purchasing an item quickly and easily.
In SaaS, it would probably mean easing the customers into using more features and having them eventually upgrade. Although it is a small consideration, by initially deciding what customer success is in the case of the specific company, the team will start off the right way and avoid wandering off completely trying to solve nonexistent problems.
4. Know your data and metrics
Success is often not exactly technical. It’s more of a philosophical notion, rather than an exact one. So why focus on data and metrics? Why not just use surveys?
One reason is that surveys are not accurate. Customers may not be able to express themselves properly. Then, the team or the manager might misinterpret answers. There is also a potential issue of language barriers.
All in all, there are several points of failure in this system. Data, on the other hand, is a hard fact. It may not paint the complete picture, but what you get is solid. Simply put, what you need to know is whether customers are using the product at all. Usage data is one of the tools in a customer success manager’s arsenal that will improve your business efficiency.
After all, if your customers never use your product or use it improperly, they can’t achieve success with it. Monitoring customer activities and gathering data will help:
- Track how they’re using your SaaS.
- See how often they’re using your SaaS.
- Identify good candidates for an upsell in the sea of your customers.
- Spot early signs of churning.
5. Collect customer feedback
Even though customer feedback may not be the perfect way of measuring things, it is still an important window into their needs, priorities, and experiences with your product.
A customer success team will regularly gather feedback from customers by:
- Using in-app surveys to measure customer sentiment.
- Asking for online reviews on sites such as Trustpilot. These will make a fantastic social proof for your business, provided that they are positive.
- Internally sharing key quotes gathered from customers through emails or phone calls.
If the customer success team works to collect customer feedback, actually use that feedback. It shouldn’t be filed in a report or a spreadsheet only to be forgotten.
Collecting individual feedback is just the start. Once you have feedback from many customers, you can start analyzing trends and use that feedback across the business. One way is to use interactive content. Another useful thing to include in your survey campaign is feature request tracking. Get your customers excited and involved around your product and help them feel like you’re really working for them.
Customer success is growing and getting more popular by the day.
With the changing business climate, one cannot emphasize the importance of understanding customer behaviour enough. Furthermore, the rising access to budgets by customer success teams shows just how much SaaS companies find true value in them.
One thing is for sure, not only will these teams grow in popularity and size, but they will also be ever more interconnected with other aspects of successful businesses.
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