We all know that the B2B marketing world is definitely a slightly different animal, and when your business is SaaS – a completely new kingdom, well, you’ve got a bit of a new frontier from most angles.
Particularly regarding the strategy of customer success, there are enormous challenges for SaaS providers. Time and resources are limited, and with customers requesting assistance via a wide range of online and offline channels, you need to be able to make some order to both survive and thrive.
However, it’s not as unpredictable and unprecedented as you might expect. It is very much possible to ensure high functionality and results in this department.
Let’s look at five important aspects that you’ll likely have to address for this.
#1 – Practicality
Customer success doesn’t just suddenly become relevant when an existing customer contacts you over issues they encounter. No, you also have to help sell potential customers (in this case business customers) on the product, and you will likely be interacting with them from a much earlier stage. Yet it’s not just about the innovative quality of your product, but how it fills a direct customer need.
One of the biggest issues a business is going to have, and in particular encounters when dealing with software, is how practical your “revolutionary idea” actually is. Remember, businesses tend to be very “bottom line”. As a result, you will want to have a clear plan for explaining the advantages of your SaaS product , and the practical problems it solves inherently for the specific customer. Of course, the intrinsic advantages of your own design count too, but that should come next.
#2 – Greater Importance in Multi-Channel Support
While the call center is still a reliable, if maligned form of communication, the need for greater focus in multi-channel support for this B2B environment is pretty evident. This is particularly true in the internet and social media age. Businesses have to look at time as an actual expense or resource. While individual customers in B2C value their time, it’s less consequential in the long run for them.
However, when it comes to a B2B situation, time is literally money, and the most effective way to make resolving problems faster is to offer multiple ways to handle contact for support, such as help desks and chat systems primarily.
#3 – Remote Support
This is a factor to consider in your SaaS design, but it’s a solution that will help with more effective customer success, especially if you’re offering an onsite model for your SaaS. Designing a remote support system which allows support agents to connect directly to the SaaS instances, to see real time what is wrong, and fix them rapidly goes a very, very long way to bringing yet more speed to support.
#4 – Emphasis on Self-Service
You may have seen a trend that with B2B support, which is what customer success is, that expediency in support is one of the important things. The longer it takes to resolve an issue is literally costing the business, and what costs your customer also costs you.
Implementing self-service capacities for at least most of the less sensitive possible issues is another big boost to bringing better speed and convenience to them, and it also gives you a solid reputation for reliability, which is something businesses value. This used to be impossible, but with onboard systems like WalkMe that can guide users step by step through the most complex processes quickly and safely, this is no longer impractical, it’s actually rather easy.
#5 – Restitution
With a B2C scenario, it’s easy to say “no” to a customer when something just can’t be fixed, and maybe just offer them a discount when this situation arises. Most customers will accept this, if slightly grudgingly. A business, however, will expect to be compensated when an issue arises that cannot be resolved.
Ergo, you cannot cut corners with this, and when an issue does come up that can’t be fixed, or can’t be fixed quickly, serious equal value compensation by way of significant discounts (including free service time) should be considered as forms of restitution. These situations are usually rare in both B2B and B2C, but when they do occur, it’s actually costing businesses significant money, where individual customers are primarily inconvenienced rather than suffering financially for it.
So, what do we see about customer success with SaaS as a primary theme? Businesses care about profit margins. It’s not greed – businesses exist to make money, that’s just the nature of things. As a result, customer success is about ensuring practicality when researching companies make first contact, and it’s about being convenient and very fast about remedying issues when they arise. And, in the event that speedy resolution cannot be obtained, serious compensation has to be a considerable option. It’s a different animal, but the fact that it’s SaaS doesn’t really change much, does it?
#6 – When is a Deal Considered Closed?
Most SaaS providers consider the target point of a sale as the action of exchanging money. Though this part is undoubtedly important, it is far from being the end of the process. A paying customer that does not use your software is simply put, a churn calamity waiting to occur.
This, in time, affects the company’s stats, performance and eventually profit margins.
Smart customer success is about making sure customers are satisfied, using the software to its full potential and always keeping loyalty factors in mind.
In this regard, customer success can make or break a SaaS company.
Richard Woolf brings over 20 years of experience in sales of software to the world’s leading enterprises and multinationals. He is an expert in creating customized sales models, as well as building and training sales teams that drive revenue growth. Richard is a lecturer and consultant on issues related to enterprise software and SaaS sales and marketing, at universities and at business large and small.