There seems to be a general fuzziness on the subject of customer value and although there is a consensus across the board that growing said customer value is a good thing, for both customer and business – not everyone is clear on what that means. Rick Spence at the Financial Post articulates it well:
“Customer value is generally defined as the attributes of a product or service that generally encourage customers to choose one vendor over another. These may be product-related or service-related, tangible or intangible. “
He is right, of course – you can’t depend on a single variable to formulate a sustainable customer value growth plan. Spence goes on to illustrate the need for “listening harder” to one’s customers in order to grow customer value. That is, of course, an integral part of the value strategy – but it can’t be all of it. A fierce SaaS leader also needs to have her Customer Treasures ready at hand.
Few are the things customers love more than loot (matey!)
In SaaS circles, we are constantly exchanging tips and recipes on how to create and sustain customer loyalty, but rarely do we stop to consider the foundation for this much desired form of affiliation. What is it that compels a customer to offer their loyalty to one service, and not to another? What is the difference between the types of loyalty inspired by different types of services? Is one type of loyalty better than the others? Is that the one we should aspire to? And most importantly – is customer loyalty an indication of service necessity and relevance or simply a long term business strategy?
Large corporations have customer retention departments with vice presidents, managers, and a host of employees manning call centers. They have the resources to contact on-the-fence customers and offer big discounts or other incentives to keep them from drifting away. Of course, large corporations have the scale to make such departments a profitable or break-even proposition which justifies their existence. Small and medium businesses on the other hand, won’t find that kind of money in their budgets and must turn to other means in order to improve customer retention.
Any platform can have difficulties retaining users. Competing platforms distract your users with promises of better features and faster service or a flashy user interface. They don’t necessarily offer anything better than your service, but the appearance of greener grass may entice users to cross the fence and leave their existing platform for greener pastures. Take preemptive action to reduce SaaS churn rate before it begins to look like the revolving door to a department store.
To everything, churn, churn, churn, there is a season.
Web-based systems, like any other system, require effective employee training and employee onboarding to ensure a successful launch for a new system, and the ongoing success of an existing system. Not every employee error is the user’s fault. Initial employee training often takes place in a non-stressful environment and working conditions are rarely exactly the same as training. While under stress and handling real customers in the day-to-day work cycle, the working conditions and software environment can contribute to employee errors in web-based systems.
From product landing pages to eCommerce to SaaS, improving conversion rates is the goal of nearly every web-based business. The journey begins the moment they land on your page and reaches a critical point when they become your customer. Along the way, they may fill out forms, choose service or product types, or opt for a free trial or freemium plan. Keeping your Leads’ interest and removing roadblocks to that final submit are key to converting them from interested visitor to successful user.
Turn your funnel into three simple stages that improve conversion rates by designing every step in the process for conversion.
An oft used adage is that 90 percent of a product’s users will only use ten percent of that product’s features. Whether it’s an operating system, smart phone, or ecommerce website, people tend to learn only what they need to get by and don’t expand on that knowledge unless they have a compelling reason.
SaaS users are no different. They begin using the platform and learn how to make it work for their needs. Most will don’t bother to learn what other features or options are available. Often, small steps or tracking micro-conversion goals can increase user engagement and lead them to try or adopt new features.
Unless a company bills customers directly for support services, SaaS Customer Support can be a drain on company time and monetary resources, and never is this more true than when a customer is using a free version of the platform, or operating during a free trial. Converting such customers requires good SaaS customer support or they may abandon the service at the end of the trial period, or not see the worth of purchasing the full version.
Reducing customer support costs is important to the company bottom line, but no less important than the customer having access to the information they need to be successful. Platform providers can turn to a number of tools that help reduce SaaS customer support costs while ensuring users are successful.
The experience of a hotel guest determines whether or not they return in the future or look elsewhere the next time they are in town. Guests are also the first source of information that families, friends, and coworkers turn to when seeking information on the best hotel lodging. Word-of-mouth advertising such as this plays a big part in adding new customers and retaining old ones. A customer is far more likely to return to a hotel or recommend it to others when everything from booking their stay to checking out is easy and trouble free.
Conversion optimization for hotel online booking is mainly about a good browsing experience and a smooth booking process, but offering other incentives also increases conversions.
Probably best not to take a cue from Basil and co.
One way some companies offer self-service support is through public support forums where peers and sometimes company representatives offer problem-solving advice. The concept benefits the company by taking the load off support staff when a simple, commonly known answer will fix a problem. Customers also benefit from a unique point of view by experienced users.
There are pitfalls however. Choosing a customer-support forum as the only available form of self-service support is a poor practice and in most cases will lead to poor customer satisfaction and the migration of customers to another platform with better service options.