SaaS startups can reduce churn with better customer success

SaaS startups can reduce churn with better customer success

Summary: Businesses can no longer sell a product or service and move on. No matter if it is subscription, utility, freemium or any other kind of pay as you go model, companies earn a lot more keeping a customer as a revenue stream.

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TOPICS: Start-Ups, CXO, Cloud
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Typically in a software as-a-service (SaaS) business, growth and profits are always tied up to the ability to retain customers and prevent churn. And a lot of this is dependent on ensuring that the customers are successful and happy.  

One of the key things that a subscription business model means that most customers usually renew on a continual basis to keep the revenue flowing into a company and create long term lasting value. Most startups can generally drive customers to take on new technology and create an initial sense of flow in the sales. But what a lot need to understand that how to keep customers happy over time and keep them coming back for more.

In this post I'm going to talk about how do we figure out what makes customers within startups satisfied and help them keep satisfied and retain those customers to eventually prevent churn.

Happy customers are returning customers 

That's a given. If you want to stop your customers to return consistently, one of the key aspects that you need to delve into is is how will you make your customer happy with your product and service. Many SaaS startups have a notion that a lot of these aspects are derived from engagement and usage of the product and eventually whatever features and aspects they paid for. But beyond that however customers bought your product to get a clear business benefit. To make them happy, you need to ensure that they get the business benefits that you drove and promised upon.

Of course for a lot of startups building products and features is a great thing, but losing focus on the ultimate goal isn't always. Entrepreneurs may tend to lose touch with simple messaging around business or benefits. At the end of the day, it's the ROI that matters a lot.

Focusing on quality and not just quantity outcomes

Of course, no matter what your SaaS startup is focusing on, be it numbers, analytics, services to help build better business revenues, trade better or even for that matter solve a problem that involves a lot of number crunching, there is always a requirement on providing a great quality in whatever you build for your customers.

At the end of the day, what matters most is how well the purchase is percieved. It is imperative for startups to focus on that quality and not just reskin products or give customization options that are just driven by build once sell infinite times model. At the end of the day, services are also dependant on how well you personalize your product for different niche of customers.

Provide dedicated resources for customer success

Very often, startups tend to procrastinate when it comes to hiring the specialists or the experts for the very specific roles that can be worked upon only by such resources. One of the top notch advice for entrepreneurs would be to stop waiting! If you wait, you'll end up waiting too long to later on launch a customer-success driven organization, thinking that someone else in another department could cover it. The dedicated resources would focus on driving customer success even before you bring on your first customers. They would be in the best position to identify the processes and touch points for the successful adoption of your product. 

Intense followup for customer's journey to success

One of the most important aspects of doing well is being with your customer, especially when they aren't doing well. The journey to success isn't that easy and has many trials and tribulations. If you've just gone ahead and provided them the solution without followup it wouldn't really benefit the customers much. Customers that are not succeeding may require calls or e-mails, and those that are succeeding are clear prospects for a call from the sales organization to close an order.

Make interventions a habit at regular intervals

Of course, while you're following up with your customer, you'll realize that there are many occasions when the customer isn't really using the product to it's fullest. It's imperative that you intervene and support the customer to your fullest ability. You need to chalk out a standard procedure, depending on types of accounts, as to how you shall help them, coach them and mentor them at appropriate junctions. When the clients are preferred, high end ensure very personalized approach.

Some of the customers know how to get to where they want to, but they may need the ocassional push. Provide that to them. Give specific guidelines e.g.: "We noticed that the results to this campaign has been a challenge. We've analyzed that this feature of our product could help you better. Let me try and help you out". Follow up on what they need and how you can help them out. 

At the end of the day, your customer's success is your success. A majority of these steps are only the beginning to provide assistance and guide your customer's success and most importantly reduce your churn. Are there any more suggestions you could think of?

Topics: Start-Ups, CXO, Cloud

Srinivas Kulkarni

About Srinivas Kulkarni

Srinivas is an avid blogger and a technology enthusiast who has worked for a couple of digital/tech startups in India since 2010. He has also worked with a few technology clients dealing with tech startups in India and Asia-Pacific, giving him an insight on the country's startup space. In his spare time he listens to audiobooks, podcasts and is a passionate travel blogger.

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2 comments
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  • Cheaper to keep customers happy than find new ones

    You nailed in Srinivas. If you are going to do all of the sales work to land a new customer, it only makes sense from a time and labor investment to ensure they have (and continue to have) success. Plus, happy customers are exponentially more likely to refer new customers to you.
    Jubal Ince (jubal.ince@...
  • One more reason for Customer Success

    Srinivas, all good points.
    focusing on Customer's Success is paramount in a SaaS business. for that matter it is important in any business where the lifetime value of the customer is much higher than the initial sale, but much more important in a subscription based revenue model like SaaS. there is no way you can survive without it !

    one more reason to make your customer a success would be related to Content Marketing. Customer Testimonials i.e quotes, stories, photos, videos, everything from your happy customers would be a top quality content when it comes to engaging your prospects/visitors. see this blog for more details ..... http://customertestimonials.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/content-marketing-and-customer-success

    thanks
    ab
    Anupam Bonanthaya