As the axiom goes: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.”
We all know new customers are important but retention is paramount to profitability. In fact, it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to upsell satisfied customers. So, why do customers leave?
Research shows that only one in 26 unhappy customers complain. And, a recent survey from Gartner revealed 81% of respondents said they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience in less than two years.
Here are five ways a focus on customer experience can help you increase retention and perpetually improve SaaS revenues.
1. Communicate And Connect
With SaaS, it’s easy for a customer to walk away and subscribe to another provider, which makes consistent communication important. And, communication is a two-way street.
Many times customers don’t disclose their full business needs from the start. When they suddenly bring up new expectations to a provider, that can present difficulties. Other times, a sales or service person may miss a crucial point in terms of customer needs. Both of these scenarios can be the reason for churn.
While communication is key, it’s essential to take it a step further and connect with customers. The more personalized relationship you develop, the more indispensable your service becomes. Cooler heads prevail and resolving issues is actually a chance to further the bond. Your customer wants to feel they are listened to—make sure your team proves they do.
2. Onboard To Increase Success
The best time to establish a relationship and demonstrate you want a customer to succeed is the onboarding call. People buy from people, rarely from companies, so making it personal makes a difference. For instance, ensure the customer has the name and contact information of the rep assigned to them. A high level of commitment from the outset sets the tone for a long-term relationship.
Determine a new customer path including as many phases as you can that positively affect their success. As examples, onboarding can encompass various types of training—tutorials, videos, and hands-on proof of concepts (POCs). Consider virtual instructor-led training for simultaneously onboarding multiple users, especially when they’re in different locations.
As noted by Geraldo A. Dada, VP of product marketing and strategy at SolarWinds: “Product-centric customer education is a powerful tool to increase satisfaction and retention, as customers learn to get more value out of the products they buy from you.”
3. Understand Customer Success And “The Experience”
There’s a difference between customer service and customer success. Service is resolving an immediate inbound customer issue. Customer success is about using such “touches” to grow a relationship. With the often complex nature of SaaS, focusing on customer success is particularly effective for avoiding churn and generating opportunities.
In addition, successful teams regularly contact customers to determine how their product is used and which systems and procedures can be improved to faster achieve goals. Further, if your team uncovers a strategy that speeds workflow, consider writing the customer’s story and—if they’re amenable—name them. Send an email to your list with the tip and consider offering a webinar to show everybody how it’s done.
4. Ensure Resources Help, Not Hinder
How thorough are your FAQ pages? Do you update them? Are the “help” sections written for users or filled with unfamiliar technical jargon? When a customer is looking for help, they may already feel frustrated. To go to the trouble of trying to figure out a solution, only to be further confused, can push them over the edge.
Be sure resources are easily understood and regularly updated. Additionally, the minimum standard is to provide help in whatever way the customer wants: chat, phone, and email.
5. Act On Analytics
Some sophisticated solutions collect data on customer usage, made available via a dashboard. If you have this insight, put those analytics work.
With such visibility, you can better understand what piqued a customer’s interest, identify pain points, direct them to overlooked features, see if they’re stalled, or worse, not using a solution at all.
This will allow you to take action to ensure they experience full value and don’t have “buyer’s remorse.” It’ll also could offer more details on personas to strengthen future sales efforts.
The difference between happy customers and canceling customers is ensuring they appreciate the value of your solution. Merely assuming your customers are satisfied is a path to more cancellations. Maintain your customers’ loyalty by making sure your value is heard and seen clearly, loudly and often.
For more on customer retention, check out our ebook: How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back for More.