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
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:
No Informative Content
Studies reveal that “less than 40% of all content marketers are effective at content marketing.” That’s unsettling news since content plays a pivotal role in the success of SaaS.
Today’s consumers are smart. They research products online, ask their friends, and find multiple options before making a purchase. Some customers even abandon their shopping carts if all their needs aren’t met.
That’s why it’s so important for your team to create informative content. Educate your consumer not only about your products, but also about their concerns. Focus on the details that will persuade them to purchase today, not tomorrow.
Create webinars addressing your customers’ most challenging issues. Develop checklists to guide users through a difficult process. Your team may even want to write an eBook showing your customer how to obtain a specific result.
Here’s an example from Moz. They engage their customers with webinars. The content offers new insights from expert speakers. Plus, it’s available live and on-demand.
The customer experience relies on your SaaS’s ability to educate, not sell. And one of the best ways to educate your customers is through engaging content.
“Making the customer experience the core of your content marketing strategy should be a no-brainer in the current climate. As customers become more discerning, you need to step your game up to inspire and impress them, and to retain their interest,” says Don Dodds, Managing Partner at M16 Marketing.
Think of content as an educational tool. The key is to become a trusted resource for your customers.
No Real Support
Your SaaS will never be perfect. Mistakes will occur throughout the customer’s journey. Therefore, it’s vital that you set up a plan to address customers’ issues.
We’re human. And customers are forgiving. If a problem occurs, it’s understandable.
However, how your team handles the mishap will define your SaaS.
Will you ignore the problem and conduct business as usual? Or will you solve the customer’s concerns with diligence?
A survey found that “one-third [of customers] say they’d ‘rather clean a toilet’ than speak with customer service.” Yikes!
Customer service is the bread and butter of any business. Create a system to answer customer service questions and complaints.
Consider using live chat. It’s an effective way to talk directly with the customer and to solve their problems immediately.
Also, offer Twitter support. Specify the days and times you’re available.
And respond to customers promptly. The goal is to publicly acknowledge their concerns and then move them to a private setting, like a direct message.
Check out the Dropbox example below.
Train your online customer reps to be polite, quick, and solution-oriented. It’s no different than in-person service.
“The people taking on these roles should be engaging and conversational. They should be able to share meaningful insights, resources and benefits about the brand or service being discussed,” says Spider Graham, founder and CEO of Trainingcraft.
The customer experience includes real customer support.
Research tells us that “86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.” However, a majority of customers don’t feel companies meet their expectations.
So, what’s missing? The human connection.
“In today’s technologically advanced society many businesses depend upon email and social media sites in order to interact with their clients. However, the lack of human interaction that is associated with these services often leaves customers feeling dissatisfied,” writes Bradley Taylor.
Your customers want to talk to people, not businesses.
Build a community around your brand. And allow your team to talk directly to customers.
H&R Block created a community microsite that connects customers to a tax professional. It also lets users learn and share experiences with each other. Moreover, the company reported a 15 percent lift in business after implementation.
Developing communities also helps your SaaS with customer research. It’s effective for collecting and analyzing feedback.
Take the customer experience to the next level by developing a community.
No Reason to Renew
Customer retention is the lifeblood of SaaS companies. It’s how teams continue to keep their virtual doors open.
Rohit Roy, News Editor at MarTech Advisor, states, “Companies have to spend significant amount of resources to drive a customer through the sales funnel to successful conversion. However, selling to existing customers is not as difficult. Customer retention therefore plays a differentiating role in the success and growth of a business.”
Engage your customers with more benefits. For instance, develop a new product feature or establish a loyalty program.
If you want your customers to stick around, offer them cool perks.
Start an ambassador program giving them the VIP treatment. Anything from swag bags to a meeting with your SaaS founder works. Just make sure what you offer is a need or want of your customer.
40% of respondents reported purchasing behaviors as a result of listening to a podcast. That’s why podcasting is a powerful customer retention tool.
The Content Marketing Institute keeps their customers engaged with their podcast that covers stories about content marketing and the industry.
Improve customer retention by building value into customers’ daily routine. Use habit-forming tactics to drive repeated interaction.
Don’t be a one-hit wonder. Add value to keep customers coming back for more.
Your product isn’t enough. The customer experience will differentiate your SaaS from the competition.
Educate your customers with engaging content. Offer customer support that makes a difference. And give your users a reason to renew their service.
Don’t fail. Succeed with an awesome customer experience.
Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street, and runs Secret Cave on the side. Find him on Twitter here.