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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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