To run a successful business, it’s always important to both acquire new customers and retain existing customers. Especially for SaaS companies, who heavily rely on recurring revenue, the retention of existing customers has become critical to sustainability and growth.
Customers don’t just want to be sold a great tool, they want to be supported in their use of it. Once a customer invests in software, the objective becomes successful user onboarding, so they experience value quickly, and ongoing support to ensure they see results.
The value of customer success is quite apparent. First, it generally reduces customer churn rate and the lifetime value of your customers. Second, it gives you a competitive edge as customers and high expectations of their experience with you. If they don’t like the amount or level of attention they receive from you, there is a competitor they can easily jump to. Finally, it often increases revenue as customer success presents upselling opportunities.
"The probability of selling to an existing happy customer is up to
14x higher than the probability of selling to a new customer."
For customer success to thrive, SaaS companies need to focus on four key areas.
- People: They should have a team built to keep customers happy by understanding their business goals and finding ways for software to deliver on those objectives.
- Documented Processes: Customer Success teams need to have a strategy in place. To drive this strategy forward they need to be aligned with marketing, sales and product teams in order to best serve their customers. They also must have internal processes for onboarding and product adoption to ensure customers’ experiences are pleasant, helpful, consistent and frequent. This alignment and these processes should be well-documented and accessible.
- The Right Software: To operationalise processes efficiently and effectively, Customer Success teams need the right technology to support them. Technology tools are what allow you to track and continuously develop your customer success strategy. Think: keeping track of customer information, facilitating onboarding, sharing product knowledge, collecting and tracking data like health scores, just to name a few.
- Training Capabilities: To be scalable, Customer Success teams need to have some sort of infrastructure to continue to help their own team upskill or train new employees.
Because of the work we at Connect Labs do with building and operationalising customer success strategies for our clients, we partner with a customer success platform we love and believe in - Planhat. Recently, we held an event with the Head of APAC at Planhat Chris Georgiades about how to supercharge your customer experience and kickstart your customer success efforts, specifically for B2B SaaS companies. Take a look at his slides when you have a moment.
Source: Software Success Series with Connect Labs and Planhat
5 Key Considerations For SaaS Businesses
1. There is a big disconnect between vendors and customers
Chris presented an interesting stat: “80% of CEOs believe they offer superior customer experience, just 8% of their customers agree.” What this indicates is that there is a huge opportunity for companies to improve on the experiences they deliver to their customers. Often businesses focus so much on the acquisition of new customers, they neglect to invest enough energy into helping their existing customers get the value out of the product that made them invest in the first place. This means firstly, that regardless of how well your company is doing customer success, it's likely you could be doing more, and secondly, you need to constantly be collecting feedback from your customers to make sure you're on the same page.
2. The 6 core elements of B2B customer success
Customer expectations are always high and only getting higher. By focusing on the following six core elements, you can achieve true success with your customers.
- Delivering speed through the customer journey and purchasing process.
- Making it easy for customers to interact with you.
- Being consistent with your customers, through all interactions.
- Making sure all content being sent to your customers is relevant to their needs.
- Being transparent in your communications and doing what you say you’re going to do.
- Personalising your interactions and actions with customers to make them feel like they are talking to people, not a brand.
3. Data unification is SUPER important
There are a lot of challenges for customer success teams given customers have already had some experience with a brand by the time they meet with Customer Success managers. One of the biggest issues that the CSMs generally deal with is lack of data unification because their customer data is stored across multiple places - their CRM, their ticketing system, Google spreadsheets, and the best one, in people’s minds.
This can be combated by connecting and managing your data in a central system. That means having your contact information, emails, tickets, analytics all in one place or at least integrated so you know that there is one place where all the data is consistent. It’s also important to ensure you have the tools in place to collect and manage your data properly.
4. Not all customers are important, but not necessarily of the same value
Don’t get us wrong - all customers are valuable but when it comes to customer success, it’s important for businesses to tier or segment customers to help prioritise where time and effort should be spent. There are a few different popular ways to segment your customers from by annual recurring revenue to industry to product.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter how you segment, just that you have some segmenting structure in place.
5. The right software is 110% crucial to deliver customer success
Your customer success strategy and operations can only be scalable and effective if your customer data is connected, you’re able to manage your data, you can automate your processes and your data can be translated into intelligent intel for decision making.
According to Planhat, with a customer success platform, you can lower your churn by 10-15%, increase upsell opportunities by 20-40%, and lower your cost in serving your customers by 50%.
Tech tools give you the capability to do these things while saving your teams’ time and energy, so they can focus on what matters most: your customers. Try adding good software to operationalise your strategy and we're sure your users (and your customer retention rate) will love you for it.
For help in developing and operationalising your customer success strategy, get in touch with our team and let’s have a chat!