Once customers have signed up for your SaaS product, it’s your job to ensure they are successful with your software and drive product adoption. And which team is responsible for this crucial function? That would be customer success.
When customers begin using your product, there’s no guarantee that they will understand how to use its features, solve problems or find value. These are all outcomes that are necessary if you want to make sure customers continue to renew their subscription and don’t churn.
Your SaaS company will only grow if you can retain these existing customers and help them get the most out of your product. It’s what takes your software from average to an overall satisfying customer experience that earns loyalty and happiness.
If your customers don’t find early success with your product, they won’t convert and even worse they might spread bad reviews about your company across the internet. Any SaaS company worth its salt is investing in customer success for breakout growth. 72% of businesses surveyed said that improving customer success is their number one priority.
What is SaaS Customer Success?
SaaS customer success is making sure customers find value with your SaaS product from day one. SaaS Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are at the forefront of proactively helping customers to understand the product and using it to solve their problems. Instead of simply passively relying on dissatisfied customers to reach out to support, CSMs are involved in creating a better customer experience to make sure customers are successful.
The point of customer success is to retain more customers, increase customer lifetime value, and reduce churn. These vital metrics are a measure of whether your customer success strategy has been successful and directly drives revenue for the business.
Your customer success process is the strategies and methods you can use to help customers find value in the product. CSMs must clearly understand the customer success process to be effective in supporting customers and increasing product adoption.
What’s Happening If You’re Not Paying Attention to SaaS Customer Success
Customers are not successful with your product
Without customer success initiatives, customers may not be successful with your product. They may sign up, sign in to your platform and play around with a few features, but they may not find first value with your software. Customers don’t accomplish their goals and this is made possible by the fact that your team is not helping them.
No matter how well-designed your product is, and how intuitive your onboarding process, there will always be those customers who need a helping hand. Your SaaS company is missing a trick if they don’t track opportunities where they could intervene and accelerate growth through creating more successful customers.
Customers churn at a high rate
When customers don’t see success with your product they are much more likely to churn. This represents a huge chunk of lost revenue for your business as customers fail to renew their subscriptions and seek alternative products. While some churn is inevitable, as customers’ needs change and people move companies, limiting churn is necessary for those SaaS companies who want to drive growth.
In fact, according to Aaron Ross, customer success is not simply glorified support but is a growth driver for SaaS businesses. Head of Customer Success is just as important as Head of Sales and Head of Marketing in terms of increasing revenue by driving renewals and securing upsells. They own the “90 day adoption” which is the customer’s journey to finding value with your product, without which they will simply churn and never look back. Customer Success Managers work closely with customers so they are able to provide vital feedback to product teams that will help them create a solution that customers actually want.
Your product lacks a people element
When you sign up for our SaaS product, you may not expect us to leave you all on your own. They may appreciate a helping hand that can reach out and help them understand certain features or gain insight into how products benefit them. Especially if customers are paying a lot of money for your SaaS, they may anticipate a high-touch customer success approach which involves a dedicated CSM to look out for their needs.
It’s human interaction that helps customers develop loyalty to your SaaS brand, especially when you go above and beyond their expectations with your customer success efforts. Customers will remember you as the business that cares about them and wants them to be successful with your product.
You fail to gather feedback on product usage
Customer success teams are on the ground working with customers to find out exactly how they’re using your product. They are the collectors of vital information that lets you know what customers want from your software, and what will make them stick around. You can answer important questions like:
- Which are your most popular features and why?
- Is your onboarding flow successful?
- What direction would your customers like to see your product moving in?
- Are your self-service resources helpful for customers?
- Are customers using your product correctly, or are they a bad fit?
When you can answer these crucial questions through customer feedback then your other teams are better equipped. They can now know how to improve your product and the way they approach customers.
Ways to Drive SaaS Growth as a Customer Success Manager
1. Understand what helps your customers find value
Every customer is different and what they need from you as a Customer Success Manager will vary. You need to collect data from new customers immediately to help you identify what customers will consider valuable from your product.
Signup forms can assist you in finding out who customers are and how they intend to use your product, which you can then use to personalize the onboarding and adoption experience. When customers find your product valuable, they are less likely to churn and this enables your SaaS business to grow.
2. Reach out personally to train and support your customers
It’s essential for customers to be educated on the best way to use your product. One of the most important methods for education is personally reaching out to train customers. One of the surest routes to customer success is to ensure customers have access to the proper training.
You can offer an email sequence or give access to a live webinar to train customers on the use of particular features. You can create video tutorials and distribute these to customers thus benefiting from further training.
3. Provide in-app help to enable them to get the most out of your product
Customers who are learning how to use your product can easily get distracted when you offer them too many different forms of help. SaaS companies that take the step of serving in-app help to customers experience an uplift in customer success. This may take the form of a self-service knowledge base that is embedded in your application.
Customers can find the help they need without switching contexts and quickly get back to obtaining value from your software. Customers can contextualize your documentation to locate the right information depending on what they are doing in your software at the time. This kind of targeted support experience reduces churn as customers are able to help themselves.
4. Monitor customer satisfaction and loyalty
Don’t just rely on customers complaining before you find out whether there has been a problem with their experience. Regularly sending out surveys to monitor customer satisfaction and loyalty is an important way to check that customers are engaged. This helps to know whether they are happy with the service you have provided.
If customers give you a negative rating you can quickly reach out to get them back on course, which as the customer success team should be your number one priority. Customers may be heavy users of your software but if they can’t achieve their goals then they are at high risk of churn.
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5. Upsell to customers when they are ready to expand
The role of a Customer Success Manager involves tracking when particular customers might be ready for an upsell. Of course you don’t want to pester happy customers to buy more products. But if the customers are reaching the limits of their plan then they might be ripe for an upgrade. Successful customers are likely to be growing over time. They will appreciate the guidance from your CSMs that enables them to get more out of your product.
Upsells and cross-sells to customers are a vital way that SaaS companies can grow. This increases the Lifetime Value of their most important customers. Without selling to existing customers, you run the risk that they outgrow your product and start considering your competitors.
You cannot overplay the role of customer success in growing a SaaS company. Customer Success Managers are pivotal in ensuring the retention of customers. They sure they activate with your product and continue to use it to achieve their goals. Working closely with the product, marketing and sales team, customer success can increase revenue for your SaaS business. This encourages healthy growth in the long-term.