By Preciouse Gross, Community Manager, BlueSnap
Customer acquisition and retention are integral parts of any business. However, when your business depends on the promise of “no long-term contracts and cancel your subscription at any time,” you have to rely on customer service techniques that will help acquire and maintain long-lasting relationships. This is the case for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors.
Competition in the SaaS industry is fierce, so every client counts. Since these businesses are supported entirely on the web, maximizing online exposure and taking advantage of every opportunity is key. Once a potential client requests a quote or downloads a free trial, the client becomes a target to be nurtured. Tailored emails, calls, demos, among other methods, are used to convince the client that their solution can best address the prospect’s specific goals or pain points.
Why SaaS Companies Are Successful
Choosing to offer software as a service rather than selling individual licenses provides a variety of benefits. For one, it helps increase the likelihood of having recurring sales. If a customer signs up for a subscription to your software and is satisfied, they will more than likely stick with you in the long term. This means that you will profit from that one customer for months or even years. With a traditional sales model of selling licenses, after a customer buys your product, the profit stops until you release newer software. It also makes it more difficult to keep in touch or get a response from clients regarding future products your company might introduce.
Another factor to consider is that most SaaS vendors offer different subscription levels, enabling them to capture customers who might be more sensitive to price. Companies that offer individual licenses only offer one version of their software. That means if certain users can’t afford the software, they are a lost sale. SaaS allows for a little more flexibility in terms of pricing and the number of customers vendors can reach with the same product. Multiple pricing options is one of the key elements SaaS vendors tap to attract customers and is a key reason why the SaaS model is seeing so much growth.
But Success Comes With A Cost
Before launching into the full list of tactics to learn from successful SaaS vendors, it is important to clarify that this sales model is far from perfect. Though many SaaS businesses enjoy success, success relies on controlling costs and exceeding service expectations, just like any other service.
Having their customers satisfied involves costs and the whole company’s commitment. From the CEO, to the community manager and engineers, everyone in the SaaS industry knows the client is truly the only boss.
Now we will take a look at five customer service tactics you should learn from SaaS vendors:
1. Keep in touch with customers: Customer service is a two-way street. Vendors do not have to wait until customers start complaining to acknowledge them. One of the biggest mistakes a SaaS vendor can make is getting a new customer and just forgetting about them. Sending out weekly emails or a newsletter reminds customers that the vendor is active and did not simply forget about them. However, emails don’t have to be promotional: Simply sending out helpful tips or sharing the most recent post from the company blog can make a big impact.
2. Listen and respond to feedback: There is no quicker way to lose a customer than failing to respond to complaints. There are a few different ways to handle issues quickly.
Who is more suited than your client to give you feedback about your product or service? Listening to what customers have to say — and scaling requests depending on how common they are — is key. First, focus on making changes on features that can easily be handled and study those that might have higher costs of fixing but in the long run, can hurt your business.
3. Follow up: Once a customer buys your product or service, your job isn’t over. Assign them with the most knowledgeable support person, be sure to monitor their activity and follow their evolution throughout the implementation process and beyond. If you get a complaint, make the same sales representative call your client to follow up and provide an excellent experience.
4. Share your expertise: SaaS vendors are experts when it comes to sharing their skill and knowledge of specific industries. Blogging and participating on social media is great way to do this quickly and efficiently. However, it’s not only about communicating what you do or have in plan; it’s about sharing your own experience in a way that can be useful to your clients. The idea is to prevent that clients come to you with the same questions and/or complaints by allowing them to find their answers or solutions right on your web site or via search engine. Infographics, interviews on top sites, E-books and tutorials are just a few ways to communicate your message.
5. Use social media to your advantage: Though many of you might already be on social media, your success in this channel relies on how much interaction you generate with your audience. The whole company should be involved in sharing your tweets to spread awareness and thought leadership.
Top SaaS executives are not afraid to use their personal social accounts to listen and interact with their clients in a personal level. Invite your clients to you join you on LinkedIn, write recommendations on their profiles, and participate in their forums.
Preciouse Gross is the Community Manager at BlueSnap, an international payment solution. Gross has been working in the e-Commerce payment industry for six years, helping the organization develop strategies to increase consumer engagement and interaction across multiple touch points.