This is a guest post by Angelina harper, a tech writer at Really Simple Systems interested in cloud technology, digital marketing, and ephemeral content. You can find her most beloved articles on her Twitter account.
Thanks to the realization that retaining existing customers is five times less expensive than obtaining new ones, businesses began exploring ways to improve the success rate of their customer interactions. This is termed customer success. What we wanted to find out is: How do you optimize customer success?
To answer this, we turn our attention to SaaS (Software as a Service) tools, begging the question: What are the top SaaS customer success tools out there?
SaaS customer success tools are an integral component of the modern business tech stack. These tools enable a business to understand what their customers want in terms of service, so they can provide it in an automatic fashion via the tool.
Customer success tools generate positive customer experiences at scale. SaaS companies often need to scale their customer success operations, and their software solutions should reflect this.
With that being said, customer success is a relatively new concept, and many businesses are still learning how to tackle it effectively.
- What is customer success?
- Customer success best practices
- How to improve your customer success process?
- SaaS tools: The most efficient customer success tools
What is customer success?
In a nutshell, customer success is the activity of forecasting customer questions or challenges to provide answers and solutions in a proactive fashion. Customer success is key to improving long-term customer satisfaction and retention, leading to increased revenue and improved customer loyalty.
One of the main reasons why customer success is important is connected to the fact that companies wouldn’t be able to realize their business objectives without making sure that the customers get the promised business benefits. Long gone are the days when sales reps only had to close the deal. In this era, the subscription economy is on the rise, and so responsibilities don’t end there.
That’s why ensuring customer success is the number one priority for many businesses out there. If the customers aren’t satisfied and happy with the product or service, chances are the company won’t be able to retain old customers and significantly decrease their chances of bringing in new customers.
Customer success best practices
It’s no secret that many companies today are insisting on completely changing the mindset or culture of the entire business to best match the criteria of various practice principles for customer success.
Specialized websites, conferences, webinars, white papers, and different technologies are specifically designed to help you instill the right culture in your company – one that holds customer success with utmost importance.
- Treat others as you’d want to be treated yourself: You should look at your organization through the eyes of your customers, to provide better interactions that will ultimately benefit your company’s bottom-line.
- Being proactive and not reactive is the proper way to go. If someone decides to put their trust in your product or service, you need to ensure that they (proactively) get maximum value from their investment. Don’t just focus on situations when a customer (reactively) contacts you.
- Pay attention to how quickly/promptly you return customer inquiries. It shouldn’t matter if the problem is perceived to be big or small, you always need to hear out the customers and try seeing things from their perspective.
- Build new relationships and reach out to new clients. Organize company events such as conferences or webinars, where people can get a chance to learn more about your company and the positive vibes that you’re interested in spreading around.
- Use Process Street to build and maintain solid processes for customer success. Create checklist templates in Process Street to streamline your customer success processes and reduce error rates.
This is an example of the type of processes available at Process Street, to assist you in your customer success efforts. You can edit any one of our templates to make them more suitable to your needs.
How to improve your customer success process?
The principles mentioned above are designed to help you build long-lasting customer relationships. What many people don’t know or don’t realize is that customer success is rooted in the speed and efficiency of the underlying processes and systems in a business.
If the SaaS business model aims at being successful and profitable, the customers need to be happy and satisfied continually. This definitely marks a huge shift, as things are different than they were in the past: Software companies can’t rely on making a profit by selling a product. Nowadays, they need to stay in touch and involved with the customers – and not just if they had a problem.
That being said, the right app can help you with customer success/customer engagement. Remember that there’s always room for improvement. For example, you should always work on things such as lowering customer acquisition costs, destroying churn, improving customer retention, making more cross and upsells, and creating happier customers overall.
What to look for in customer success software
If you want and/or insist on:
- Lower cost
- Accessibility and scalability
- Optimization and customer loyalty
- Recurring revenue model
- Measurability and predictability
…then you’d most definitely benefit from a software solution that allows you to scale and automate your customer service processes at large.
When it comes to measurability and predicatability, what’s interesting about SaaS businesses is that they have a massive advantage due to the
different data they collect about their users. If you have the knowledge of how customers actually use the service, you can easily optimize your offering, as well as pricing, packaging, and customer success efforts.
The outcome is highly rewarding: retaining current customers and targeting future ones. Not to mention higher profit rates.
Effectively measuring metrics such as performance and growth leads to different insights that can change the dynamics of the whole SaaS business model. If we talk about product development, process changes, future planning, investment decisions, various sale strategies, etc, – these are much easier informed if we have access to SaaS metrics.
By SaaS metrics, we are talking monthly recurring revenue, customer churn rate, net monthly recurring revenue, customer lifetime value, annualized run rate, average revenue per account, and so on – these are some of the key metrics that your firm should focus on. The end result will always be generating and sustaining long-term profits.
SaaS tools: The most efficient customer success tools
Speaking of absolutely essential SaaS tools, the customer relationship management (CRM) tools are ones that no business can do without. No matter how small or big your company is, it’s of utmost importance that you deal with your customers the right way.
Sometimes it can be a real problem creating a better customer experience, especially given the fact that you’re probably also dealing with many relentless competitors on the market.
But no matter how ruthless they might be in their approach or methods, always remember not to use the same tactics and dirty tricks they’re using – the holiday spirit of kindness needs to continue to live on throughout the rest of the year!
With this in mind, here’s our list of the most efficient customer service tools for a good relationship with your SaaS users, that provide scalable, analytical solutions and will help you fine-tune your customer success processes.
Customer success tool #1: Google Analytics
If you’ve ever been around when people were discussing different efforts to:
- Measure traffic metrics for a website
- Analyze the performance of a website
- Gain audience insight
…chances are you’ve heard about Google Analytics. It’s a comprehensive (and free) option to keep in mind, even if you’re already paying for another website platform that’s collecting data for you.
Customer success tool #2: HootSuite
HootSuite is a SaaS tool that gives you a chance to schedule your posts – whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and so on. You can also track all the mentions and comments and reply instantly.
With a tool like this, your customers will feel like you are by their side, talking to them and creating content especially for them. It will make it possible to answer all of their questions and use them as inspiration for your next post on your website or for the improvement of a product that you are selling.
You and your team can even analyze bad reviews and come up with perfect answers and tricks to deal with them. Some experienced companies send an apology cake, and some just know how to be polite and apologize. People always remember that you have treated them with respect and then they talk about your company nicely.
Customer success tool #3: Really Simple Systems
We’ve mentioned earlier the importance of having a reliable SaaS option on the market that you can count on. So, any list would be essentially inconclusive without mentioning a CRM software provided by the Really Simple Systems.
The name itself is self-explanatory and the concept behind it is as equally easy to grasp: This customer relationship management software is specifically designed to manage your sales, as well as your marketing and customer service.
With this SaaS tool, you can find the history of conversation with every customer you ever had, and that enables you to create a more personal and kind approach. Imagine that, remembering Rebeca and her daughter (that she had mentioned earlier in her emails), can inspire you to create a discount for kids in your next offer, and seal the deal for your business.
There are multiple different reasons why you should seriously consider opting for Really Simple Systems. It is easy to use (your team can be trained on how to use the software virtually within minutes), provides free customer support, built-in email marketing, gives effortless organization, provides custom settings and reports, and so on.
Customer success tool #4: Salesforce
One of the most important things for any small or medium company on the market is to close sales. You can’t possibly expect to stay competitive on the market if you don’t use the best tools available.
Collecting and monitoring leads (and getting directly in touch with them), tracking insights for better sale opportunities, collaborating with sales representatives or other team members, increasing the productivity, etc. – these are all necessary if you want to make overall improvements to your company. It will help you predict what your consumer wants to buy next, craft a perfect offer and send a personalized email. In return, you’ll leave your competitors behind.
Customer success tool #5: Process Street
Running an effective customer success operation without the help of process automation tools is possible, but not advisable.
The number of tasks you have to perform, multiplying that up for each individual customer, this makes customer success an activity prone to errors. The best way to avoid these errors and streamline your customer success efforts is with process automation tools such as Process Street.
Process Street is superpowered checklist.
Our checklists come with a variety of features for creating, managing, and running automated workflows, such as:
- Stop tasks to ensure task order.
- Dynamic due dates, so no deadline is missed.
- Conditional logic, creating a dynamic template that caters to your needs.
- Role assignments, to ease task delegation within your team.
- Approvals, allowing decision-makers to give the go-ahead (or rejection) on important items. Also, necessary comments can be provided.
With a few button presses, you can transform your workflow into a checklist, modify it with conditional logic operators, integrate it with the rest of your tech stack, and save it to a schedule.
Timing is critical for enabling customer success, and this tool provides you with everything you need to reach out to customers whenever they need it.
For more information on how to create checklists using Process Street – for free – watch our below video.
Start creating an outstanding customer experience today
What you need to realize right from the beginning is the fact that you don’t want to create good, you want to create outstanding customer experiences.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to do a little more than focus on online customer reviews. That’s why we have some bonus tips on how to create a great customer experience:
- Do whatever is in your power to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The best way to do this is by designing your customer experience whilst keeping in mind those who you essentially depend on.
- Concern yourself with the right value to price ratio. This means that you want people to perceive your services as the best value for their money.
- Continue to improve all the time. This is a plotline of every successful business story.
- Empathy. Friendliness. Kindness. You want these three words to be associated with your name 24/7/365.
Although it may sound like these are some hard things to accomplish, it’s crucial that you never back down from your core values and goals. And if this is the way you treat your customers, why shouldn’t that be your modus operandi all across the board?
That also includes treating your competitors kindly and beating them fair and square. The market is full of false schemers, who think that the goal always justifies the means. Show them that there are other ways you can play the game. There’s hardly a sweeter victory than this.
For more information regarding customer success, read: Complete Guide to Customer Success for SaaS Companies.
How do you deliver excellent customer success? What SaaS tools do you use? Please comment below as we would love to hear from you. Who knows, you may even get featured in an upcoming article.