In just over a decade, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has completely transformed the way businesses purchase and use software. What was once a cumbersome process involving servers, hardware, and vast IT investment can now be reduced to a subscription and a handful of business users and analysts.
But as simple as this process has become, SaaS providers find themselves facing a whole different set of challenges, including reduced customer loyalty, churn, adoption, and training, to name just a few.
By focusing on these five key principles, SaaS providers can reduce these risks and achieve maximum success for each of their SaaS software deployments.
1) Put customer experience first
Caring about your customer seems like it should be a no-brainer for any software providers. But many SaaS companies fall into the trap of assuming that their software is intuitive and provide minimal support and guidance for new users.
The result is that newbies find themselves lost early on and don’t stick around long enough to turn into power users. So make sure your customer experience is first-rate, including training, documentation, account management, and support.
As Ken Rutsky, former head of marketing at Netscape put it, “products are evaluated, services are experienced.”
2) Make it a team effort
SaaS providers with loyal customers typically have teams that are passionate about customers and users. That starts with sales, marketing, and services but also includes engineering, operations, and even accounting.
If the whole company understands that customers are priority number one, you’ll have no trouble creating loyal partners as you deploy your product. Having a customer success team doesn’t hurt either.
3) Make sure you understand your value
You may think you understand your market well, but not every customer purchases and uses your software in the same way. Unless you know what your value is to them, you’ll struggle to focus on the features and workflows that will create long-term customer loyalty.
Take a moment to discuss their reasons for using your software early on and keep the conversation going throughout the deployment.
4) Continuously deliver on your promises (even after you go live)
Remember that early conversation you had with your customer about value? It’s a dialogue that never really stops. After your customer goes live, communication may become less regular but you now have a thorough understanding of your customer’s business needs.
This means that you’ll be able to act as an internal advocate for new features and tools that may benefit them. Your customer will see these upgrades as direct evidence of the value you place on their business and their loyalty will only grow from there.
5) Keep in touch
Don’t forget about your customer just because they’re fully deployed and seemingly content. Teams, circumstances, and budgets change constantly; you want to make sure your account team is keeping up with your customers regularly and helping them maintain and expand the value they get from your product.
Having a plan for reaching out with personalized communications on a set schedule after the initial SaaS software deployment is essential.