All posts in Customer Success


SaaS Customer Support: The 4 Moments of Truth

This is a guest post from Rhiza Oyos, the inbound marketing manager at Spiralytics.

SaaS Customer Support

Customers relationships are the lifeblood of every SaaS business. However, regardless of their years of operation, there are moments when these relationships can — for better or worse — dramatically change

A customer’s experience is everything. It helps SaaS companies attract customers, retain them, and generate referrals

So, businesses who understand the importance of customer experience end up winning the race and beating the competition. In particular, winning companies are those that understand the human factors and emotions at play in experience, design, and production.

Harley Manning in a 2012 article for Fast Company writes:

“In other words, if you want that next sale, if you want good word of mouth, and if you want to keep your customers, it’s unlikely that anything else you do matters more than delivering a superior experience”

Experience is all about moments.

In designing an exemplary customer experience, businesses should know about the four moments of truth that can help them get ahead.

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4 Reasons Your SaaS is Failing to Create an Awesome Customer Experience

The following is a guest post from Shayla Price. Shayla creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice

customer experience

In SaaS, customer experience is top priority.

Experts report that “customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator” by 2020.

So, it’s time to take a serious look at how you engage with your customers.

Are they completely satisfied? Or are you simply meeting your team’s quarterly benchmarks?

“At the end of the day, customer experience is about human interaction and creating a bond between the user and the brand. It’s about making a commitment to understanding how your product positively impacts the lives of your users, and actively seeking out opportunities to maximize those benefits” — Rob Carpenter, founder of Hitshop

Don’t fail the customer experience. Here are four ways you’re falling short:

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The 5 Customer Success Tools You’ll Need to Serve Billion Dollar Companies

Customer Success Tools

Customer success has the unique distinction of being both the #1 driver of revenue retention in SaaS companies and SaaS companies’ best kept secret. According to Jason Lemkin, founder of SaaStr, customer success is where 90% of revenue is. For such an important topic, though, the dialogue around customer success is terrible.

Most conversations about customer success tend to be very high-level, with little in the way of concrete, actionable advice. Too many think pieces, not enough case studies. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a different approach to the topic.

We talked to 5 SaaS companies whose customer success processes have lead to sustained growth, reduced churn, and improved customer relationships, and we asked them a simple question: What is the one tool your customer success strategy could not do without?
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How (and When) to Automate Your Customer Success Process

Customer Success Process

Customer Success isn’t something you do once or someone you hire to make magic happen. Unfortunately for those who are shy of putting in the effort, it’s a process.

A customer success process should include many of the functions we’ve talked about so far in this guide, such as customer support and NPS surveys, but also routine ‘check-ups’ on the health of your customer base.

There is, however, some good news about this. Since customer success is a process, it means a few things:

  1. Part of it can be automated.
  2. It can be rationalized and broken down into steps.
  3. It’s easy to train a group of people to execute it.
  4. It’s easily tracked and documented.

What does a customer success process look like, exactly?

In this final sprint of our guide, I’ll be telling you exactly that.

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Improving Your SaaS User Experience for Customer Success

SaaS User Experience

I’ve talked at length in the past about the user onboarding process, the difficulties of first-time use and how empty states can solve some of these problems.

While this is all well and good when you’re trying to tackle user drop-off after the first session, what about the later stages?

Assuming that everything else has clicked into place for your user and they’ve made it all the way up to the purchase, you must have made a good first impression! Unfortunately, it’ll be all for nothing if your app is hard to use, awkward, inflexible or disappointing over the long term, or if your premium plan’s onboarding isn’t tight.

Post-sale UX optimization isn’t something I’ve looked at before, or even heard about. But writing a guide about SaaS customer success is not a small task and UX is definitely a big deal, especially because good UX makes it easy for Customer Success to do their job.

In fact, a good SaaS user experience takes the weight off customer support, too. Overall, you don’t want to put a barrier between your users and your app and most importantly for revenue, you don’t want to put a barrier between your paying users and your app.

Here are some SaaS user experience optimization pointers to think about which will make the lives of your Customer Sucess team easier.
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A SaaS Owner’s Guide to Managing Your Customer Support Process

Customer Support process

While your blog is the external face and voice of your company, your support team is the internal one. According to Jason Lemkin of SaaStr, SaaS companies — especially startups — should be using their company’s product, even if the teams don’t strictly ‘need’ to.

In Jason’s article, he recounts how PayPal president David Marcus ranted ‘use our app or quit‘ to his employees. While it could be argued that David Marcus is being an angry egotist and going a little too far for an app that everyone may not have a use for, he says that the reason he wants everyone using it regularly is so that PayPal can ‘get better, and better’.

That brings up an interesting issue — by putting every single employee on support in some capacity, you’re tackling several problems at once. You’re lightening the load of the dedicated support teams in busier times, teaching employees about the product they may well be advertising or marketing and gathering vital data from users on how the product could be improved.

Over the several past weeks, I’ve looked at the definition of customer success, why it’s important and how to reduce churn. Now we’re going to get into the nuts and bolts of customer support for SaaS companies, including strategies, workflows, and tips for getting set up.

Let’s get started by looking more closely at the support model briefly described earlier.

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How to Shape SaaS Customer Retention Strategies that Beat Churn

Customer Retention Strategies

Earlier in the month, I wrote about what churn is, and how to calculate it. Now, I’m going to cover how to beat it.

This is part 5 in an ongoing series on customer success for SaaS companies. Here are the previous 4 parts if you need a solid introduction to customer success:

  1. What is customer success?
  2. Why is customer success important?
  3. What is churn?
  4. How to calculate NPS

If you’re ready to beat churn, read on and we’ll get started.

The long road to churn, and why it’s so disappointing

It took months of preparation. Nick learned about your product through your content marketing, where you helped him with his problems and even provided a bit of lunch break entertainment.

He saw your product’s name over and over again thanks to your PPC ads, social media presence, and content promotion. Respected influencers are buzzing about your product on Twitter, and he heard the other marketing team in his company were getting on well with it.

After reading the copy on your landing page, he didn’t bounce. He stuck with it through the signup form, the activation email, and the onboarding tour. He even invited the rest of his team to try it out.

Over the course of the first week, Nick was engaging with the product less and less, and ignoring emails from your customer success team. Before the first month was over, he did something heartbreaking — canceled his subscription and churned out.

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How to Calculate NPS with the Perfect Customer Happiness Survey

Calculate NPS

Customer Happiness is a metric unlike any other.

It’s not founded on principles of revenue, bounce rate or any other traditionally mathematical ideas.

Customer Happiness is based on emotions, not data. And while these emotions can be formulated as data, one of the first steps is to work out how.

In this blog post series we’ve already covered the definition of customer success, why customer success is important and churn for SaaS companies.

Have you ever received this email?

Chances are, you’ve got an email at some point that looks like this:

Microsoft NPS survey

The outcome of this question is used to formulate your Net Promoter Score (NPS), one of the metrics that measures the health of your company and the effectiveness of your Customer Success strategy.

Some companies will ask for your response on a scale of 1-10, some in a series of phrases like the Microsoft example above. I’ve even seen 🙂 and 🙁 as options.

How do these responses translate to a solid representation of customer happiness?

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What is Churn? An Introduction for SaaS Companies

What is Churn

Churn is the enemy.

Churn is the sickness that will kill your SaaS company.

Redpoint VC Tomasz Tunguz showed us just how damaging churn is to the MRR of SaaS companies and how an adjustment of just 5% can make a massive impact.

Churn is the rate your customers are cancelling their subscriptions to your product.

One of the key outcomes of any customer success strategy is to reduce churn by helping disenfranchised customers continue to get value from what you’re offering them.

The pricing model of SaaS lends itself well to being extremely profitable. But as David Skok says in his post about achieving negative churn, there are massive risks.

The nature of subscriptions mean that your customers are paying you regularly which brings in recurring revenue, but also puts you in a precarious position.

Every time your customers get the bill for your product through on their statement, they’re asking the question: This month, did this product save me more money than it cost me?

Over the past two weeks, I’ve answered two questions: What is Customer Success? And Why is Customer Success Important? Today I’m going to answer the question ‘What is churn?’. It all boils down to one thing. Customer success teams and strategies are in place to stop customers cancelling.

They exist to reduce churn.

Let’s look at this in more detail.

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Why is Customer Success Important? A Guide for SaaS Companies

Why is customer success Important SaaS

Last week I kicked off a new series of blog posts about customer success for SaaS companies by answering the question ‘what is customer success?‘. This week, we’re going deeper and examining why it’s important for SaaS companies.

Tomasz Tunguz, venture capitalist at Redpoint, says customer success is ‘equal in importance to sales and marketing and engineering and product within SaaS companies’. But why? Technically, it didn’t exist 10 years ago, so why do we need it?

We need it because products are developing faster than our capacity to understand them, we need it because competition in the SaaS world is harsh and we need it in place to reduce churn and keep users sticking around for the long haul.

Let’s take a closer look at these points.

💡 – As a free bonus, check out our podcast episode talking about customer success.

Customer Success connects promise to reality

Here’s a theoretical situation to explain.

Pretend I just signed up for an analytics product because I know I need to start tracking user activity in my mobile app. The landing page copy told me that’s what I can do with the app, so I bought it. I go in, and within 2 minutes I’m confused and wondering exactly how I can load it up with my app’s data or set conversion goals.

In an ideal world, the platform’s customer success manager should have been on the phone to me the same day of purchase, guiding me through the steps to get it set up and teaching me everything I need to know.

Salesforce Customer Success

Analytics platforms and CRMs are just two examples of complex products that can be configured in numerous different ways — for these products, a user guide or support ticket system isn’t always the best thing to offer.

You don’t want your customer having to work harder to get what was promised by the sales team because your product should be easy to implement for all customers and deliver value from day one.

Your product’s initial setup, or even basic use, won’t be obvious to everyone. Not to mention how businesses grow and their needs change over time — every time the monthly bill for your product comes through, the customer is questioning whether they really need it.
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