In today’s ever-changing corporate landscape, modern SaaS organizations are asked to be a lot of things: employee-centric, focused on new business, and profitable against goals – just to name a few. One characteristic that is often overlooked (or left out completely) is being customer-centric.
What does it mean to be ‘customer-centric’?
Customers are the lifeblood of any SaaS company – they are the foundational driver of recurring revenue, offer unlimited potential in new revenue opportunities, and impact every single department, including product and marketing. With something so important it can come as no surprise that, in turn, every single department throughout an organization – from finance to administration to, yes, sales – should take a customer-centric approach to business.
This means asking questions like “How are our customers using this specific feature and how can we make it easier for them?” or “What do our current customers feel about the handoff from sales to customer support and how can we improve this process?” or even “Would we be able to retain more customers by changing internal legal processes like billing cycles or contract terms?”
Being a customer-centric company doesn’t mean that customer success is, all of a sudden, the star department. Instead, every single department is focused on how their team and their output makes it easier for customers to reach their goals and use the product.
Is your company customer-centric?
While every SaaS organization would like to think that it puts the needs and goals of customers first, it can sometimes be hard to separate your organization’s corporate goals from those of your customers.
Here are three questions to ask now to determine whether or not your company is customer-centric:
1. Is your organization willing to change directions to help customers achieve their goals?
One key part of being customer-centric is doing whatever it takes (in scope, of course) to keep customers on track to success. If a product feature isn’t quite clicking with clients, your product team should go back to the drawing board – with client input – and make it work.
If a data requirement or onboarding processes is wearing customers down, start thinking about changing the process altogether. Simply put, when a company is customer-centric, it means putting the customer first in every scenario.
2. Is your leadership wholly on board with a customer-centric company?
Big ideas start from the top-down and being a customer-centric company is no different. If your CEO, executive leaders, and even your board aren’t fully behind the ideas of a customer-centric organization, then your team might have some communicating to do.
Too often, SaaS organizations (especially ones in start-up or scale-up mode) are too focused on bringing in new sales and new logos to really focus on ‘what’s next’, which can make it hard to retain customers. By implementing a top-down culture of customer centricity, executive leadership can take the first step in making this change a reality.
3. Do your CSMs have the freedom and flexibility they need to take action on customer issues?
As the main point of contact with your customers, CSMs have a deeper level of insight into what your customers are feeling and what they’re looking for. This being said, those on the front lines need the freedom, flexibility, and visibility it takes to make key decisions for customers without putting anything at risk.
This means having the right tools and resources at their fingertips, the trust and support of leaders to make this big decision, and visibility into other working groups to help them find the answers they need. A great CSM is the product of a customer-centric organization and can make a huge difference for customers.
Whether your team is working to become more customer-centric or if you’re looking to implement customer-centric best practices, now is the perfect time to step back, evaluate your processes, and make the change.
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