Delivering Customer Success for SaaS

Customer success (CS) is the process of developing a system to enable your customers to meet their goals. CS has become a significant part of the SaaS market. Businesses looking to expand are putting more of an emphasis on delivering CS.

Customer Success

Businesses are beginning to understand that enhanced customer experience will set them apart from their competitors and without a focus on CS are likely to lose business to other industry competition. CS is still, however, a relatively new market and its good to ensure you have a good knowledge of applying CS for SaaS.

The challenges of implementing customer success

Whilst the benefits are clear, implementing CS can be challenging for businesses. One particular challenge for businesses is the complexity of defining customer success. Not all individuals use the product in the same manner and are from other industries with varying goals. This leads to a wide range of variation in customers and their associated definitions of success.

Customer Visibility

If your customer success program is effective, you can communicate with customers to deliver solutions, before they reach out to you, which means your business needs to understand what is going on at your customer’s businesses. This poses quite a challenge and traditionally, the best was to utilise reports but modern tools have transformed this. Today, businesses no longer have to wait until a customer raises an issue. New customer success software will display how many customer employees have started using your products. Findings will show you adoption rates, how they are using your products and whether customers are getting the most out of it. This enables businesses to be more proactive and support employees in utilising the tools more effectively. This enhanced reporting and customer information has transformed the customer support and success marketplace. 

Segmentation

Segmenting customers into various groups has been a marketing strategy for some time but defining segments and communicating them effectively is essential in delivering an effective customer success program. An efficient segmentation process makes it simpler and more effective.

Establishing long term customer relationships

Generally in customer support, the interaction with businesses are relatively quick and far between, involving an initial call and problem being solved, without no long-term relationship building. Creating a lasting relationship is complex and requires a consultative examination of customer success and ultimately comes down to understanding your customers and what they really need.

The association between customer success and SaaS

Customer success is strongly attached with SaaS, partly due to the SaaS business model requiring a continuous flow of customer satisfaction to deliver reasonable profits. In previous years, software companies were capable of selling a product and generating profit and after that there was minimal requirement to be in contact with the customer unless there was an issue. Today, businesses are required to maintain contact with customers to deliver a profit. Instead of offering a service that may cost thousands upfront, businesses may sell a subscription on a smaller, monthly rate, which means the customer expects consistent value over a certain period of time. This is exactly where customer success comes into play.

SaaS businesses have the ability to deliver insights into how products are used and when a potential issue may arise. This enables SaaS market to be very responsive to customer success.

Customer Success compared to Customer Support

Sometimes customer success is viewed as another term for customer support, but in reality, CS is very different and offers a proactive service as opposed to a reactive service offered under customer support. Unlike a CS manager, customer support personnel won’t contact customers to get an update on their products. CS teams will have a deeper contact with customers throughout the entire life cycle.

Popular Customer Success Strategies

Proactive Approach

Customer support is reactive but customer success is proactive and this is a core part of a successful CS strategy. Customer success software creates supplies you with the tools needed to ensure proactive outreach is highly efficient. Data will provide businesses with insights such as rate of downloaded applications and enable you to reach out to customers and offer support with applications/signing up etc. Other steps include providing regular service updates and announcing new features directly to customers, ensuring your product and service is clearly understood and allow you to stay on top of any potential issues before they have any significant impact on revenue. 

Being proactive can be time consuming and so many businesses opt for automated options including Email Automation as an effective solution. Today’s technology enables you to automate emails, saving considerable time and allowing you to engage with your customers. Segmenting your emails into sections with common questions answered and other key details will drive customer success. An efficient automated email program will let you stay in close contact with your customers, an essential part of an effective customer success strategy. 

Effective Customer Success Tools

In the most simplistic terms, an email account and phone is all that you need to operate a CS program and deliver proactive outreach. There are numerous tools that can be integrated such as Analytical systems to gain deeper insights into customer behaviour. Customer success software provides businesses with detailed information into each and every customers, allowing you to manage potential issues before they develop into major problems. With the support of these systems, businesses can determine how much value they are providing to each customer.

Measuring Customer Success

There are various ways to measure customer success – but one that regularly gets the most attention is ‘churn’, referring to customers that stop a subscription or service. Businesses are clearly very interested in having a deep understanding of how many customers they are losing on a monthly/yearly basis. In other terms, the churn rate is a metric of how customer satisfaction. If your software is seen as a necessity, your churn rate will remain low. If there are better, cheaper alternatives on the market, your churn rate is likely to rise. There are a number of techniques to measure customer success including:

-User Churn

-Revenue Churn

-Net Promoter Score

-Average revenue per customer

-Customer Growth

-User Engagement

-Trial to paid service success

For most SaaS businesses, these are essential areas to monitor and measure.