7 Key Customer Success Metrics that Every SaaS Company should Track

Customer Success

7 Key Customer Success Metrics that Every SaaS Company should Track

Customer Success
The SaaS universe is growing at an exponential pace. The industry is expected to grow to  $76 billion per year per sector. Some of the highest performing SaaS companies have grown their teams at an average pace of 56% per year. However, statistics also reveal that if a software company grows at a 20% rate one year, there are 92% chances of it ceasing to exist in the future. Alternately a company showing a growth of 60% annually has a chance of surpassing USD 1Billion in revenue. These numbers clearly show that with the rapid proliferation of SaaS comes the risk of market saturation. SaaS companies thus have to ensure that they measure the right metrics to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. In this blog, we take a look at some key customer service metrics that SaaS companies should obsess over.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score is the new customer experience metric that measures the ease of experience with the SaaS product. It simply estimates how easy or difficult it was for the customer to accomplish what they wanted in their interaction with the product. CES validates if the product is delivering a superior customer experience or the customer is experiencing several frustration points that could eventually cause them to leave. Proactive measurement of CES ensures timely intervention as this points out early signs of customer disengagement.

Customer Health Score

The Customer Health Score is the user engagement metric. It monitors how the customer engages with the product, the average log-in time, and other usage statistics such as too many or no support conversations, survey scores, usage of key features etc. The Customer Health Score is a leading indicator that shows if a customer is happy using a product, is at risk or completely dissatisfied. This score can be mapped by measuring the users time spent on the product in relation to specific goal-oriented objectives.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score, or NPS, identifies customer loyalty and determines how likely they are to refer you the product others. While SaaS companies have to be heavily focused on customer retention, their main goal should be to ensure customer loyalty. The NPS is the stethoscope that helps companies assess who are their loyal followers, who are the complacent ones and who are waiting to jump the boat. NPS templates have to be easily customizable for easy personalization. NPS scores provide insights into customer loyalty towards the brand and assists in turning customers into brand advocates.

Customer Churn Rate

While the customer churn rate is a late-stage marker, it is directly related to customer success and the bottom line. If SaaS product fails to create value or does not deliver the expected value to the user then they fail to drive customer success. This leads to customer churn. The customer churn rate is the percentage of customers lost within a specific timeframe. It includes the customers who do not renew their subscriptions or cancel their subscription to the total number of customers you have during that specific time period. This does not include the new customers acquired during this period. Identifying the non-active customers, identifying their pain points, and taking proactive measures to convert them into active users can positively impact the churn rate.

Customer Satisfaction Score

SaaS companies have to be laser-focused on measuring customer satisfaction. Customer Satisfaction is a valuable transactional metric to assess how satisfied the users are with their product interaction. CSAT surveys can be highly customizable with open and close-ended questions. These can give companies a clear idea of the user needs, their expectations, and demands etc. and help them identify what the customers think and feel about the product. These insights can be used to chart the product evolution roadmap and also solve underlying product and usage related issues.

Support Satisfaction

Are the customers satisfied with the level of support provided? Do they have a single vehicle through which they can communicate with all the relevant stakeholders? Do they spend time figuring out how to resolve their queries? What is the ticket deflection rate? Are you measuring the number of tickets raised per user? Does the customer find resources they need easily? Do the customers have access to online information repositories? Is self-service enabled? All of these factors contribute to support satisfaction. The lack of or inadequate support can also be a deal-breaker for SaaS companies. The data from the support satisfaction levels can then be used for product and service improvements to grow a loyal customer base.

Expansion MRR

Expansion MRR is the measure of the additional recurring revenue generated from existing customers through add-ons, upselling and/or cross-selling. Measuring Expansion MRR shows customer interest and indicates that the customers are receiving value from their product. Expansion MRR involves adding additional revenue from existing customers that occurred within a specific timeframe. This metric is also a negative churn indicator. Good Expansion MRR rates indicate that you have a good negative churn rate. This means that the revenue generated from the existing customers is higher than the revenue lost to churned customers. For any SaaS company to be successful, they have to singularly focus on customer success and successful customer enablement is a key piece of the puzzle. By keeping a close eye on these metrics and by engaging with the customer at the right time, SaaS companies can ensure customer success for their clients. This is also essential as only when a customer reaches an ‘aha’ moment in the product journey will they turn from subscribers to users and then to product advocates.
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Why SaaS Products Still Fail to Connect with Their Consumers in A Meaningful Way?

Customer Enablement

Why SaaS Products Still Fail to Connect with Their Consumers in A Meaningful Way?

Customer Enablement
Customer experience will overtake price and product as a key differentiator by 2020.” – A Walker Study In the age of technological progress, customer experience is one metrics all businesses, especially SaaS companies, need to pay attention to. The pace of rapid change and the rising speed of innovation is making it increasingly difficult for SaaS companies to create and maintain a competitive advantage. The very nature of SaaS products is such that the customer is continuously evaluating it – weekly, monthly and annually. Switching products has become easy. Customer engagement is also a valuable metric in the SaaS universe as:
  • It is 9x cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new customers, costing $0.13 to acquire any additional dollar of revenue – Source
  • 86% of SaaS businesses treat “New Customer Acquisition” as their highest growth priority- Source
  • Best-in-class SaaS companies achieve 5-7% annual revenue churn – equivalent to a loss of $1 out of every $200 each month – Source
  • The median monthly revenue churn for large SaaS companies is 0.75%, translating into an annual revenue churn rate of 10% – Source
  • 50% of paying customers log in to their SaaS service less than once a month (or not at all) – Source
To drive growth, SaaS companies have to drive usability. To do so, they have to connect with their consumers in meaningful ways to showcase the ‘value’ that the product is providing. Here’s a look at how to do that

Focus on personalization

Users have to be introduced to the new age of ‘Personalization’. Let’s call it Personalization 2.0. And this personalization does not mean just sending emails with the individual’s name on it. Given the sheer number of SaaS products available today, the consumers expect a high degree of personalization that extends across the entire product lifecycle. This means the personalization experience has to start from the onboarding process and has to extend to how the product is being used. Every single interaction that the user has with the product has to be personalized. The objective of personalization is to provide a hyper-contextual experience that shows the user that the product is tailor-made to suit their needs.

Customer engagement is an ongoing activity

SaaS companies have to realize that customer engagement is not a one-time activity. The focus of customer engagement activities does not end at onboarding and is not relegated to news regarding product updates and updates. Customer engagement initiatives have to go beyond these, and companies need to identify ways of connecting with the user based on their journey. And this engagement has to happen within the product. Right from proactively sending them the right training material, updates, upgrades, marketing content etc., every piece of information exchange has to be contextual and relevant to the customer based on her product usage and product journey.

Break down the silos fragmenting customer success

The objective of customer success for SaaS products is to take the user to that ‘aha’ moment in the shortest possible time. Many stakeholders contributing to customer success who operate in silos makes customer engagement a fragmented experience. With silos dividing teams contributing to customer success, no one gets a 360-degree view of the customer. The information exchange that can enable seamless interactions thus does not happen. What SaaS companies need to do is provide all the stakeholders of customer success, the product engineering teams, the marketing teams, the finance teams etc. a consolidated and comprehensive 360-degree view of the customer. With the right data at hand, these teams can connect with the customer at the right time, when work happens and thereby push enablement closer to work proactively.

Driving communication value

Content is king, but context is God.” We cannot emphasize the importance of this statement in the SaaS universe. With so much content vying for the customer’s attention, your update email is just another piece of communication that is delivered to the customer. How can you make it more? Value can be driven only by contextual communication…communication that is relevant to the customer…. communication that has solutions to their problems or will help them achieve their end goals better or faster. SaaS companies do gather a lot of data on their customer but what good is that data if it does not deliver the right actionable insights. With the right insights that come from usage data, behavior and sentiment analysis, companies can hone their communication with the user. They can then align their communication with what the user wants and address all their implied and explicit needs. Such communication has value in the life of the customer journey and helps the customer connect with the product in a more meaningful way. In a nutshell, while creating a great product is essential, it is time that SaaS companies pay attention to how they deliver value to their customers, deliver meaningful experiences, create enablement where work happens and deliver deep and continuous customer engagement in a device agnostic manner. Connect with our team of experts to see how you can achieve this and more with your SaaS product.

How to Make Customer Success Managers Successful?

Customer Success Managers

How to Make Customer Success Managers Successful?

Customer Success Managers
Most companies today are dedicated to designing elevated customer experiences to propel their company forward. Owing to this, we have witnessed the rise of the customer success teams…teams that are committed to helping customers achieve their desired outcomes from the products or services they purchase. But why has the customer success team become so important? The answer lies in some data: Given these numbers, it is hardly a surprise that most organizations have customer success teams in place to guide their customers to value as fast as possible. The caveat here is that customer success is still a very fragmented experience because of which, many times, it fails to deliver the desired results. Here’s what we feel organizations need to do to make their customer success managers successful.

Deliverance from a fragmented universe

While organizations have a dedicated customer success team in place, they often forget that along with this team there are several other contributors to success. All the product stakeholders, the product team, the finance and marketing team, the training team etc. play a critical role in creating that ‘aha’ moment in the customer journey. Customer success teams have to often oscillate between one team and the other to gather customer data, identify customer issues and resolve their pain points to deliver the promised experiences. The focus thus shifts from the customer to the data gathering. And the gratification delivered to the customer is often delayed. Delayed gratification is, in today’s economy, as good as no gratification as the customer is used to highly intuitive experiences. Customer success teams have to have access to all information and interactions related to the customer. They cannot be spending time accessing and asking for customer data. Gaining a comprehensive 360-degree view of the customer and the manner in which she interacts with the product, therefore, becomes essential for proactive monitoring and success.

Customer success cannot be reactive

Did you know that 79% of customers would willingly take their business to competition within a week of experiencing poor customer service? Also, a company can lose 50% of its customer base during its first year alone to churn owing to poor onboarding. And given that it costs 5 to 25% less to keep an existing customer than to get a new one, these numbers can certainly not be ignored. Customer success teams often have to take a reactive approach to customer engagement and management. In the absence of proactive data, these teams are not able to identify the customer pain points when the customer experiences them. The customer raises an issue and the team jumps to resolves it. Often, they resolve this issue in an impressive time frame. However, what about those customers who do not raise issues? What if they do not intimate the company of the challenges they are facing or the product improvements they want? Customer success has to, therefore, move out of the product to drive loyalty. The customer success teams have to be armed with the right customer insights, at the right time to help them understand how and why the product will benefit them. Embedding emotion analytics, or sentiment and behavior analytics into the product helps in expanding the customer journey positively. With data, customer success teams can proactively identify the challenges customers face and provide a solution even before an issue has been raised.

Pay attention to the silent ones

The customers who complain get attention. The customers who are low-touch also get attention. But what about those who quietly use your product actively, don’t complain and are generally passive in replying to surveys etc.? This customer base often lies ignored and can jump off the wagon at any given time. Customer success teams clearly have a tall order chalked out for them. They need to ensure that ‘all’ customers see the value and reach that ‘aha’ moment in their product journey. ‘No one left behind’ has to be the motto of the customer success team. And while this is easy to say, it can be difficult to deliver. Access to current customer data and usage insights, a 360-degree view of the customer, information on customer drop off points, analytics, customer sentiment, and behavior etc. helps customer success teams interact with these silent customers who seem happy but can potentially jump ship at any time.

Streamline the information framework

Finally, for customer success teams to be successful, the information framework has to be proactive and streamlined. The dependencies have to be reduced. Information exchange with the customer has to be highly personalized and contextual. For this, these teams need to have the bandwidth to not only push the content created by marketing teams that are relevant to the customer, but also be able to create content from existing company resources to resolve and enable customers closer to where work happens. Professor Theodore Levitt, former professor of Harvard Business School, said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” It is up to the organization to understand that the product is just a means to an end for the customer. But it is the customer success managers who make it a great deal more. It is only fair that this team gets access to all the right resources to make that happen.

5 Tips for SaaS Companies to Improve Customer Engagement

5 Tips for SaaS Companies to Improve Customer Engagement

Education has never played a more important part in customer success than in a cloud-based organization.” – Wayne McCulloch, Senior Vice President of Salesforce University For SaaS companies, customer success is directly proportional to their own success. Statistics reveal that the cost of acquiring a new customer is three times higher than retaining an existing one. The effort expended to acquire a new customer goes to waste if the company is not able to retain one. It is because of this that almost 55% of SaaS companies rate Customer Retention Cost as one of the key metrics to measure. Given that SaaS customers now are becoming more value-driven and can switch for even the smallest reason, companies now have to ensure they have to deliver such elevated product experiences that the product becomes a customers’ habit. While having a great product is essential for this, what happens if the customers do not get the right and contextual support when they need it? Clearly, training (and by that, we do not just mean customer onboarding), is a powerful arrow in the SaaS quiver. Here are a few ways that SaaS companies can use tools like learning videos and enablement content to boost customer engagement.

Just-in-Time Training

The kind of content you have plays a defining role in driving customer engagement. Long and heavily detailed content leads to cognitive overload and often result in disengagement. Why? Simply because a customer wants to use a product fast. She does not have the time to read and go through detailed text that may or may not have the answer to her question. The objective of customer enablement initiatives is to help the users with that ‘aha’ moment in their product usage journey. For this, easy readability of learning content is essential. Content should be so flexible that it can be delivered in smaller, bite-sized nuggets to enable knowledge acquisition and retention to drive to the results that the customers desire. SaaS companies should leverage ‘Just-in-time content’ that allows all this and also use analytics to measure if the enablement content is leading to behavioral change and consequently recalibrate the content, if needed, to drive customer engagement.

Focus on the context

Context is king. Those who do not follow this mantra are doomed to perish in this hyper-contextual world. SaaS training programs have to create a sense of purpose with the user. And how can you create a sense of purpose without context? Learning content for an entry-level executive cannot be the same as a senior employee, can it? SaaS product enablement, thus, has to be provided by assessing the pain points and learning needs of the user. Even the onboarding experience cannot take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach any longer. As we move deeper into the age of personalization, customer engagement is created by taking into account the little details such as job roles, organizational role, etc. In the SaaS universe, customer enablement also goes beyond product training and product guidance and extends up to process training as well. These organizations, especially SME’s, have to possess the bandwidth to create such learning material fast and easily – clearly, the standard walkthroughs and case studies will not work. Contextual training makes the product more meaningful. It allows users to understand how the SaaS product aids them in better performance. It assists them in areas that they need help.

Intelligent customer engagement

SaaS companies need to keep their finger on the pulse of the customer at all times. Measuring how the customer is using the product, what are the ‘drop off’ points, what kind of product support is she seeking, what kind of information does she need to perform better…SaaS companies need deep insights into the behavioral statistics of the users to identify what kind of learning assistance they need and deliver that proactively within the product. These initiatives drive intelligent Customer Engagement. To increase customer engagement, companies also have to give their customer success teams the leverage to use existing resources such as PDF’s, PowerPoint presentations, Whitepapers etc. to create rich and interactive enablement content and learning videos. It helps in quick dissemination of content to guide the product users in the right direction. By gaining access to user data, the customer success teams should be able to create meaningful training experiences employing easy-to-use templates for different user segments, post and publish the content in-app and in the manner that they want to, without IT intervention.

Have a central information repository

In the age of self-service should enablement content be left behind? All learning material is information, and information is knowledge. SaaS companies have to leverage self-service in training and learning initiatives as well and make it effortless for the users. Built-in search features that display suggestions as the users’ type is one way to go. It is also important to control content visibility to ensure that the right content/data is displayed to the right user. Maintaining a central information repository that can be accessed by the user even when training programs are over make these programs more relevant, ensure better knowledge retention. This consequently boosts customer engagement as the customer does not have to leave the product in search of information.

Anywhere/Anytime access

The world is moving toward convenience. Whether it is retail, banking, or healthcare – industries are moving towards mobility to unlock this convenience. Guidance for SaaS products is no different. In 2019, the number of smartphone users across the globe is expected to cross 3.8 billion by 2021. Smartphones and tablets are a great resource for the enterprise today, especially with the rise in the number of mobile workers and the millennial workforce that puts convenience over everything else. For greater customer engagement, thus, SaaS companies have to ensure that not only do they curate stellar learning experiences but also, they deliver the same, anywhere, anytime, in a device agnostic manner. Clearly, SaaS companies need to put a greater focus on learning and intelligent enablement rather than just training. Training by nature is merely prescriptive in nature. Intelligent enablement focuses on identifying how to help the customer use the product. It helps in reaching that ‘aha’ moment. A high level of customer engagement then just becomes an imminent outcome. Check out Flype to see how you can deliver highly engaging personalized learning experience to guide users in the right direction.    

Trends that will Impact Customer Engagement in 2019

Trends that will Impact Customer Engagement in 2019

With the rise of the global economy, businesses are being compelled to focus on creating deep customer engagement with their products and services. In 2018, we felt how creating meaningful and interactive customer experiences had become a business imperative. Statistics support this as 67% of consumers and 74% of business buyers stated that they’d pay more for a great experience. Statistics also revealed that loyal customers were seven times as likely to test an offering, five times as likely to buy again and four times as likely to refer. A Salesforce report showed that 76% of consumers expected companies to understand their needs and expectations. As we prepare to welcome 2019, here’s a look at some of the trends that will impact Customer Engagement in the coming year.

Customer Engagement Gets Continuous

Customer experience is the driver of customer engagement. In the coming year, it will be imperative to ensure that these experiences unite to create continuous customer engagement especially when customer interactions move online. Engagement with the customer has to continue even after the sale has concluded to turn adopters into advocates. Right from product onboarding to assessing how the customer is engaging with the product, providing the right information at the right time in a device-agnostic manner and ensuring that contextual and relevant information is presented at all times will drive customer engagement in 2019. Businesses also have to ensure that they create the correct guidance path for their customers to push enablement closer to their work. Information exchange has to thus become more timely, contextual, personalized, relevant and continuous.

Unify the Customer Success team

66% of customers say it takes more for a company to impress them with new products and services than ever before. Customer engagement in the coming year also has to become more unified. While the customer success teams become the primary pallbearers, organizations have to realize that all the other contributors for customer success such as engineering team, the marketing team, the finance teams, the engineering team, etc. – all can contribute proactively to customer success. Customer engagement becomes linked with customer enablement as the organization orchestrates all resources at hand to make the customers happy. By unifying all elements of the customer success, organizations can create continuous customer engagement by engaging with the customer at the right touchpoint.

Support and Self-Service

Clear communication between the product and its stakeholders and the customer has been an important trend in the past. Customer loyalty and attrition is determined by each and every customer interaction – communication included. For deeper customer engagement, companies have to create a vehicle that enables two-way communication so that the customer does not shuffle between tools to connect with the right team or stakeholder to get a task done. The push toward self-service has been established. Almost 70% of customers expect a company’s website to have a self-service application. Software products thus have to provide self-service options to make contextual information available to their customers proactively. This provides greater control to the customer and aids in creating more meaningful experiences that foster customer engagement.

Data goes to work

The personalization economy will only proliferate in the coming years. As customer mature, organizations in the coming year have to work harder to deliver highly-personalized and yet contextual information exchange. Given that each customer journey is unique, organizations need a clear 360-degree view over the customer sentiment. These insights help create meaningful interactions and also help resolve customer problems and pain points proactively. The demographic, behavior, and event data from internal as well as third parties will increase in value in 2019 to create a unified 360-degree view of the customer.  This will help in curating meaningful customer interactions that deepen engagement.

AI meets Business Process Automation

Customer engagement, as mentioned earlier, will be driven by data. While we have been talking about data for a long time now, in the coming year the conversation will experience a slight shift. To push customer engagement, organizations will need access to not only the complete customer data but also the right customer data, and at the right time to tailor and create meaningful and personalized customer experiences – at a scale. To enable this, we will witness the rise of AI-powered Business Process Automation that will empower customer success teams to maintain a great mix of personalization coupled with scale. As connectivity disrupts customer behavior irrevocably, organizations have to adopt a new approach towards customer centricity in the coming year. Clearly, The Age of the Customer is upon us and businesses need to create winning interactions to create deep engagement to retain their customers. It is either that or being left behind.    

The 4 Pillars of Smart Customer Engagement

The 4 Pillars of Smart Customer Engagement

Did you know that 87% of buyers are willing to pay more for better customer experience? Whether it is a B2B or a B2C business, we are moving into an economy that is now entirely consumer-driven. In a business landscape that is getting increasingly competitive, organizations are faced with the continuous challenge to nurture their greatest assets – their consumers. It is only those who have their finger on the pulse of the consumer and can identify what the customers need, are the one who succeed and drive business. Organizations can no longer ignore customer centricity and all successful organizations have understood that only by listening closely to the needs of the customer can you identify new opportunities. To find new customers and to retain new ones, organizations need to create deeper customer engagement. While we know that the purpose of customer engagement is to make the clients committed to using their product, achieving deep customer engagement can be an elusive unicorn to many. So what can organizations do to create smart customer engagement? Here’s a simple list

Engage

Customer engagement begins with, well, engagement. No surprises here. How are your customers interacting with your product? How easy is it for them to complete the onboarding process? How is the entire onboarding experience? Are the new product features or upgrades being adopted easy? How easy is information exchange? These are a few starting points to assess how the customer is engaging with the product. To create deep customer engagement, software product companies have to ensure that they can optimize the customer onboarding process, provide step-by-step guidance to help them learn how to use the product and deliver that ‘aha’ moment, and get maximum utilization of the features present. Organizations have to be hyper-focused on user experience and ensure that all the information that the customer needs – be it the new feature updates or associated information, notifications or messages – are delivered at the best time frame and contextually to help them maintain their productivity and consequently drive adoption.

Guide

All customers need guidance when using a product to identify how the tool can help them do their task better. Organizations also need timely insights to understand customer pain points proactively to provide the right training when they need it. The objective of customer enablement is also to guide the users so efficiently that it actually pushes enablement closer to work. It, therefore, becomes essential to have the capability to provide highly personalized, in-app training experiences to capably guide the users in the right direction. Organizations thus need to have the capability to create engaging, insightful, intuitive and rich, contextual and relevant, content experiences for their users and publish the same easily, where, when, and how they want. Content also has to be available for easy consumption in a central repository in a device-agnostic manner and be powered by powerful search options to drive engagement.

Assist

Your customers want their answers now. Not later. And definitely not tomorrow. This need for speed in the digital economy is pushing organizations to enable self-service. Reports show 70% of customers expect a company’s website to have a self-service application. For software products, the application itself has to enable self-service. This not only deflects high-cost interactions but also provides greater control to the customer. To drive customer engagement, product companies need a robust knowledge-base with a self-service portal and built-in intuitive search capability that displays suggestions as the user types in her queries. The companies should be able to deliver the right answers and information to their customer quickly. Only providing the information is not enough but they also need to be able to assess the reactions to the content through powerful feedback mechanisms.

Understand

Customer engagement can only happen when product companies can truly their customer. What these companies need is a deep understanding of the customer journey to turn the product into a healthy obsession. For this, organizations need to create clear communication channels to learn what their users think of their product or service and gain the capability to smoothly incorporate feedback into every product decision – be it prioritizing product features, identifying ways to improve the product experience, or gaining the capability to reach the right users at the right time. Relevant and contextual, always-on, customizable NPS, CSAT & CES surveys, understanding behavioral data, social listening play a crucial role here. Powerful analytics and built-in reporting to convert data into experience help in gaining contextual feedback and contribute to building a data-driven product development roadmap. Organizations need access to contextual customer data to determine the changes in user needs, create highly personalized Netflix or Uber-like product experiences. The key to smart customer engagement is to ensure that all customer touchpoints with the product are seamlessly connected and all information is available in a central repository. Organizations need to possess clear visibility into customer sentiment and gain the capability to connect with the customer and vice-versa. It is six to seven times more expensive to get a new customer than to retain an existing one. Clearly, in this customer-driven economy, it pays to direct all the right resources to create smart customer engagement. Connect with our experts to see how you can take your product from good to great and create a community of brand loyalists.

10 Easy To Implement Customer Retention Strategies For Product Companies

Customer Advocates

10 Easy To Implement Customer Retention Strategies For Product Companies

Customer Advocates

Any business has three main goals – build leads, generate sales, and create a network of loyal customers (aka customer retention). While companies focus on lead generation and sales, to build a thriving business, it’s essential to focus with laser precision on their most valuable asset – the customers. While no one is disputing the importance of the lead generation and sales machinery, the fact remains that by reducing churn and focusing on existing customers, businesses can increase their profits by 25 to 95%. According to a  SAS and Loyalty360 survey, 68% of business comes from existing clients. And this makes sense because a 3% monthly churn amounts to 31% annually. According to another study,  it is 9X less expensive to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. It is hardly a surprise then that for 56% of SaaS companies existing customer renewals are a high priority.

Clearly, in a software economy that is becoming increasingly competitive by the day, customer retention has to be a heavy point of focus. But does customer retention have to be a herculean task? How can product companies ensure that their customer retention strategies are future-ready and robust? Let’s take a look at some easy to implement customer retention strategies for product companies

  1. The onboarding experience

The onboarding experience is perhaps one of the most determining contributors to good customer engagement.

The customer experience in Week 1 determines if he/she will continue to remain a customer by Week 10 and onwards. From taking the customer from familiarizing themselves with the product to establishing usage patterns, to making the product an indispensable tool in the life of the customer – all can be driven heavily by onboarding.

Driving hyper-focused, contextual, personalized, always on, anywhere-anytime, onboarding experiences become drivers of customer retention as it helps establish see value in the product in week 1 itself.

  1. Enable self-service

Product companies do not have much time to create an impression on their users. They have to move with the objective of creating ‘Wow” moments in the customer’s journey.

However, how can they achieve this if customers are not assisted in this journey? Organizations need to help customers by enabling self-service and providing proactive contextual recommendations when they need it in a device-agnostic manner. This not only deflects the high-cost interactions costs but also provides the user with more control.

  1. Provide contextual guidance

Today’s users need highly contextual and personalized training experiences. To drive customer retention, these customers need to be given the right guidance exactly at the point of need.

Organizations need to create and deploy rich and interactive content and have in-built engagement tracking metrics for detailed insights into product effectiveness. They also need to enable microlearning, allow effortless self-service so that the users find what they need faster, create clear user segmentation for better personalization, and automatically collect feedback to identify areas of improvement.

  1. Incorporate feedback into every product decision

Your customers need their voice to be heard. Even if they might be speaking in a whisper.

Having access to complete, clean, contextual and correct customer data helps organizations determine how the customer is using the product. This is ‘Implied Feedback’. Organizations also need access to clear and explicit customer feedback in the form of surveys, feedback forms, NPS surveys etc. as well as have insights into the implied needs of the customer and then incorporate that in every product decision to drive loyalty and retention.

  1. Enable effortless communication

Things need to be extremely comfortable and convenient for the customers.

With many contributors to customer success such as the product engineering team, the marketing, and communications team, the finance team etc., creating proactive engagement can become a challenge. This also demands the customer to shuffle between tools to get a job done. What the customer needs is effortless, two-way communication with all the stakeholders of customer success and remove any communication ambiguity.

  1. Manage change effortlessly

Customer retention also depends on how you manage change as the product evolves and grows. Having an in-app, omnichannel approach ensures that customers can be notified of changes via multiple channels, and the right and contextual guides can be delivered to them where they want it.

With insights into user behavior, organizations can send in the right recommendations in the product itself to ensure that the user is able to navigate the change in the product features or functionalities easily.

  1. Enable in-app product extension

Continuous customer engagement is the key to reduce churn and drive customer retention. However, with many contributors to customer engagement, it becomes essential to orchestrate all the main contributors to customer success to give the best product experience to the customer. Every single time.

This can be achieved by enabling in-app product extension as then organizations do not need to ask the customer for information regarding the product. In-app product extension ensures that the product experience is improved by analyzing the user’s behavior and thereby drives customer engagement and ultimately retention.

  1. Measure and manage effectively

Gaining insights into customer sentiment and their usage and behavioral data helps in identifying areas of improvement and pain points.

By gaining access into real-time user behavior with actionable analytics reduces the problem resolution times. By measuring the activity within the product, organizations can understand and re-engage their users by arranging one one-on-one personalized engagements at scale. These efforts contribute significantly to customer retention.

  1. Allow multi-channel communication

Continuous customer engagement can also be driven by enabling multi-channel communication.

This works as a solid retention strategy as organizations then get the flexibility to push all relevant messaging to the users within the product and the website. This communication can also be accessed in a device-agnostic manner to extend communication with the user.

  • Clear visibility into customer sentiment

Customer retention happens when organizations create continuous customer engagement – whenever they want it and however they want it.

This can only happen when the organization has clear visibility into customer sentiment. This can be achieved with the help of real-time insights into customers usage history, surveys, and feedbacks as well as insights gleaned from demographic behavioral and event data.

Along with this, organizations have to ensure that as the product grows, they enable personalization and scale together. It is quite apparent that enabling manual intervention at scale with the sophistication today’s software products need is a tall order and could lead to failure. Organizations, therefore, have to enable AI-based Business Process Automation that uses complete customer data to drive both personalization and scale.

In our next blogs, we shall be taking a deep dive into these elements and see how they impact customer engagement and influence customer retention.

Why Customer Success Teams Should Bother About Continuous Engagement

Continuous Engagement

Why Customer Success Teams Should Bother About Continuous Engagement

Continuous Engagement
Who is the most important person for an organization’s success? For the longest time, this trophy has been held by the ‘customer’. Even in today’s software-defined, technology-driven landscape, things haven’t changed. To be successful in this competitive economy, organizations have to focus on the end consumer. They have to not only align themselves with the customer’s goals but also have to delight them. Owing to this shift, we have seen the burgeoning of Customer Success teams. While Customer Success has its roots in the SaaS world, almost all technology companies have recognized the importance of customer success teams today. The end goal of Customer Success teams is to help the customers realize the expected value from the software product or service. The aim of Customer Success teams is to reduce churn and maximize the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to increase business profitability. After all, a 5% reduction in customer churn leads to 50% increased revenue over a five year period. Clearly, a large part of the Customer Success team’s KRA is to foster customer engagement. However, with the changing software defined landscape, Customer Success can no longer afford to remain transactional in nature, ending once the sale has been done and the onboarding completed.

Customer Success – what it really means

The aim of Customer Success is to deliver long-term strategic value to their customers. This includes proactively monitoring the customer behavior with the product, managing the customer journey and the lifecycle, and ensuring the addition of continuous value to the customer. For this, Customer Success teams have to view the world, as well as the business, from the lens of the customer. This means, identify how success is measured by the customer, understand what matters to their end customer, and then ensure that all resources at hand enable this.

Continuous Engagement – what is it and why it matters

When customer success teams are able to achieve this can they foster real customer engagement…one where the customer becomes committed to using their product. It is, at the same time, imperative to note that Customer Success is not just one department. Well, technically it is, however, there are many contributors to it. The product teams, the marketing teams, the customer support teams, the finance team, the product engineering team…they all contribute to customer success in their own way. It is the responsibility of the customer success teams to orchestrate all these resources to ensure that the customer is happy and is engaged with the product. It is only upon achieving this that organizations can establish strong customer relationships. But can such relationships be built when customer success teams are reactive in nature?

Navigating the engagement conundrum

Research shows that “fully engaged” customers (those with a strong attachment to the brand, or brand ambassadors) deliver a 23% premium over the average customer in the share of wallet, profitability, and revenue. As mentioned before, there are several co-contributors to customer engagement and consequently to customer success. For example, it is the engineering teams have to create products that the customers want. The marketing team is responsible for providing all relevant information. The customer support team has to provide support at the right time…the list goes on. However, all these experiences are currently fragmented. The customer is expected to check the marketing or product related emails that get delivered to his/her inbox. There’s a separate tool to get the support queries answered. Surveys and feedback forms come via a different tool. The customer often is left wondering how to communicate with the company in the presence of so many stakeholders. Today, when the customer has the option to evaluate and move from one product to another with speed, is it even possible to achieve customer engagement if customer success teams and their contributors have a fragmented approach? And is it even possible to be successful if you are not proactive in understanding what the customer wants? Statisticsprove that companies that prioritize customer experience generate 60% higher profits. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a product or service if they receive a better customer experience. Clearly, experience then becomes a driver of engagement.

What customer engagement should be like

Customer engagement, therefore, cannot be a reactive, one-time exercise. Organizations have to make sure that they remain continuously engaged with the customer, at every given touch point in a continuous manner. Organizations thus need to ensure that their software products can be scaled to accommodate this. The customer today wants a single vehicle through which all communication happens. Whether it is feedback, marketing or product updates or customer support…the customers no longer want to shuffle between tools to get their job done. The product that they use has to address all their needs in a contextual manner. It has to enable self-service and provide in-product support. If the customer is dropping off from the product at a said time, the company has to proactively send him/her the right resources to fix the problem. Companies also need to ensure that they get clean, deep and actionable insights into the customer’s product usage in context. With these insights, customer success teams have to create the right and contextual engagement touchpoint continuously. This means taking into account the job role, the purpose of use etc. and getting a 360-degree view of the customer and insights into the right customer data. With this information, gain complete visibility over the customer sentiment so that the right information can be sent to the customers proactively, whenever they want it, however, they want it, in a device agnostic manner. Only this can help organizations achieve continuous customer engagement at every relevant touch point. Customer engagement has to take into consideration all the interactions a customer has with a product. It, therefore, has to account for invested stakeholders of customer experience to drive value and growth and consequently leads to customer success. Jeanne Bliss, author of Chief Customer Officer “Customers are assets to be cared for and nurtured.” In today’s rapidly evolving economy, software companies thus have to make sure that they have the right tools to listen to what their customers need, understand those needs and resolve them. Clearly, organizations have to work deliberately to enable continuous engagement. Only then can they drive customer success.

Things That Keep the Customer Success Manager Awake

Customer Success

Things That Keep the Customer Success Manager Awake

Customer Success
Customer Success has quickly moved from being just another buzzword to an enabler of business success especially in the SaaS ecosystem. Customer success expert Lincoln Murphy defines the term as “…simply ensuring that your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company”. Seems quite straightforward. However, given the changing dynamics of a constantly evolving marketplace where the customer is spoilt for choice, customer success is the great differentiator for business success. SaaS companies know that the cost to acquire a new customer is several times higher than retaining the existing ones. Reducing churn and increasing product adoption and expansion, thus, falls under the jurisdiction of Customer Success teams. And the main job of the Customer Success Manager is to make sure that the customer can reach their ‘desired outcomes’ in the shortest time frame. Clearly, the Customer Success manager has a huge responsibility to shoulder. In this blog, we take a look at things that keep customer success managers awake at night.

When customer success is just one department

Customer Success for SaaS products is not just one department. It is a company approach. It is extremely essential to have all the contributors to customer success aligned and working with one another in a collaborative manner. Silos have to be eliminated to provide an elevated customer experience. However, when organizations do not eliminate silos, the customer success team cannot gain a 360-degree view of the customer. Mitigating that challenge can be hard as all the endpoints that connect the customer-related operations are disconnected. Without an interconnected network, it becomes hard to create a smooth customer journey and deliver relevant product experiences to the customer. This consequently impacts the customer’s success.

When personalization becomes a challenge

Creating personalized experiences is a norm today. It is no different when it comes to customer success as well. For the customer success manager, it becomes essential to create highly personalized customer journeys across the multiple touch points and departments. They need the tools to follow the customer journey from discovery to success and have a plan for every stage of this journey to ensure that this journey is optimized. Personalization is one way to ensure that every interaction with the customer becomes contextual and relevant simply because the world is driven by this now. Customer success managers, thus, need to ensure that the customers can seamlessly move across this journey, from onboarding to reaching that ‘aha’ moment, smoothly, without interruptions and without any information gaps in a highly personalized manner. Any impediments to this will be a cause of concern to the customer success manager.

The decentralized data chasm

You can only manage what you can measure. In order to do this, having a central data repository that connects all the interaction touchpoints becomes essential for the customer success manager. In order to create highly engaging customer journeys, customer success managers need access to all user data – demographic, behavioral, and event data both internal and from third parties to trigger real-time personalized experiences. They also need access to analytics data to accurately identify how the customer is using the product, provide real-time answers to their questions, enable dynamic segmentation to drive usage and identify pain points across mobile and web. Only then they can improve the product further to meet their product success goals. Data cannot reside in silos and demands more interoperability to generate deeper insights. The absence of this can lead to many sleepless nights that would go in wondering why the users are not connecting with the product.

Poor customer engagement

Amongst the things that can strike fear in the heart of the customer success manager, poor customer engagement perhaps will top the list. However, the reason why we mention this last has a reason. Poor customer engagement in the SaaS product ecosystem is usually a result of poor or average product experiences. All the points mentioned above are the contributors to the factors that determine a good or a poor customer experience. If a customer does not complete the onboarding process, does not use the product, drops off the product while using it repeatedly, does not answer or open the surveys or marketing information sent to their inboxes are genuine causes of concern. However, this primarily happens when the customer success manager does not have a unified view of the customer and the cannot deliver contextual information. Another factor responsible for poor engagement is the inability to deliver these experiences in-product to make usage frictionless. It would be far more beneficial to send them product updates, upgrades or marketing information that is relevant to the customer when he/she is using the product. The objective of the customer success manager is to foster customer enablement. And this can only be achieved when the customer can access contextual information, training material, product information etc. when the customer needs it and where work happens. We have moved beyond the age where asking the customer what he/she wants would yield good results. We are in the age when the customer expects you to know what they want before even they realize it. The job of the customer success manager means identifying the explicit and implied needs by understanding user behavior to enable the customer to reach that ‘wow’ moment in the shortest timeframe possible. The task is not easy but can be easily managed by simply enabling the in-product extension. Connect with us to see how you can deliver elevated customer experiences to your customers and help your customer success managers rest easy.

Customer Data is the New Currency – How to Encash it

Customer Data

Customer Data is the New Currency – How to Encash it

Customer Data
  “Without Data, you’re just another person with an opinion” – W. Edwards Deming Technology today has crept into every aspect of business and has become an important part of every unit. As businesses begin to get laser-focused on innovation and agility, taking a data-driven approach to derive intelligent, quantitative and qualitative insights becomes the path to success. In this data-driven economy where software is eating the world, business strategies have to now be backed by data for smarter and faster decision-making. When it comes to staying ahead of the curve from competition and top of the mind for the customer, and to make intelligent decisions proactively, data becomes the ultimate leveler. Given that we are now surrounded by a deluge of data, how can SaaS products leverage the customer data at their disposal to deliver smart customer experiences and make them loyalists for life?

Optimize the Onboarding Experience

Onboarding serves as the first step to customer retention for SaaS products. It defines the kind of relationship that you will have with the customer. A simple and effective onboarding process is key and the first step to creating that ‘aha’ moment in your customers’ journey. Leveraging the customer data, SaaS products can drive more personalized onboarding experiences and help the customers get to the goal that they value in the shortest possible time. Making the onboarding process contextual, ensuring that the customers are not bombarded with irrelevant information, providing them with the resources they will be needing the most, introducing them to the tools and buttons that they are most likely to use etc. are a few things that can personalize this experience for them and make it more impactful.

Intelligent Product Tutorial

Handholding the customers through the initial journey across the product is essential. However, it is also important to assess the kind of journey they prefer. Leveraging customer data, SaaS companies can identify how a customer is using their product, what are her pain points while using the product and can also see where the customers drop off regularly. With this information, they can create more targeted and specific product tutorials, guide them to a knowledge repository that will help them resolve their queries via self-service and in-turn optimize their product journey. Leveraging data, all information regarding the product that is relevant to the customer can be delivered in-product and not via separate emails that a customer is unlikely to open.

Personalized Experiences

Assessing how engaged the customers are with the product is also essential to drive usage and customer retention. With the customer data and customer usage data at hand, organizations can identify how engaged the users are with the product. The level and manner of product usage will also vary depending on the users – a high-level manager and a junior level executive will have different expectations from the product. Using in-product behavioral data, SaaS products can drive intuitive recommendations and provide a ‘Netflix-like’ experience to foster greater customer experience.

Impactful surveys

Context is gold in today’s competitive economy. When it comes to surveys, leveraging the customer data to create surveys that will generate a high response rate is a smart move. Creating engaging branding surveys and polls that are relevant to each user and delivered at the right time are important to ensure that the polls do not go unanswered. Creating NPS, CSAT and CES surveys that account for how the users engage with the product and ensure that these reach the user at the right time to get more relevant product feedback. And this can be achieved by employing customer data.

Targeted Messaging

Product evolution is a constant in today’s competitive age. But how can SaaS companies make sure that they are making upgrades, updates and product fixes that are relevant to their customers? This is again done by using the customer data. Also, all product-related messaging, updates and surveys have to be delivered directly in-product and in a device-agnostic manner to drive usage. Data becomes a critical contributor of success here as it helps companies assess the changes the product needs, the feature enhancements the users demand, determine the information that the users need to become more productive and provide the same proactively.

Effective Training

In the age of self-service, it is customer data that helps you determine the training needs of the users. By analyzing how the users interact with the product, SaaS companies can guide users in the right direction using highly personalized training experiences that are delivered when the users need it. Tracking the engagement metrics can assist training departments to determine the measure of content effectiveness and its relevance, make suitable changes proactively, and ensure that the users are never left searching for answers. There’s a saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. In today’s competitive age, this is especially relevant as the smallest oversight can lead to the potential downfall of a great product. Data helps SaaS products understand where their weakest link is, and then change that dynamics. There is no guesswork here…no time spent wondering what you can do to attract and retain your customers. There is just data and along with it the numerous possibilities of what you can do more to service your customer better.