[Updated in June 2020] The Impact of COVID-19 on SaaS Companies
Over the past few weeks, members of the global workforce have been asked to stop going into offices and work from home. With no end in sight, companies of all shapes and sizes are being forced to re-think both how they deliver goods and services to customers as well as they manage their staff. Whether you employ thousands of team members across multiple countries or less than a hundred in a single office, it is impossible to think that a global crisis like COVID-19 will pass by without making some sort of impact on your business.
Here are a few key ways the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting SaaS companies:
- An indefinite shift to remote work: It’s one thing to give your employees the option to work from home or even encourage remote work as a cultural benefit of your company. But when an entire workforce is forced to work remote – some alone, some with small children and families – tensions can start to run high. SaaS companies, many of which pride themselves on flexible working environments and laid-back attitudes, should try to share resources and tools with employees that focus on working from home as well as mental health and support.
- Changing customer priorities: When a new customer decides to work with a SaaS vendor or a sale goes through, there are clear goals in play. For customer success teams especially, these goals and next steps determine the customer lifecycle and the ongoing support a customer requires. The COVID-19 crisis, however, has put many customer priorities on their heads. While customers might not be terminating contracts with vendors, they will certainly be putting a majority of their focus behind this pandemic while letting other projects – even with SaaS vendors – fall to the wayside. SaaS organizations don’t necessarily need to pivot their offerings for customers, but they should be understanding and work with customers during this reprioritization.
- A change in internal direction: While customer success teams are most concerned with how customer priorities might shift during a crisis, SaaS leadership teams are likely looking for other ways to change internally to deliver value on a broader scale. While your team might not be able to spin up a COVID-specific solution in a short time, don’t be surprised if resources that were once allocated towards a specific product are repurposed for COVID-specific projects.
Throughout all of the uncertainty and turmoil associated with COVID-19, SaaS organizations are in a unique position and, in fact, are quite lucky in spite of things. Having the technology, resources, and team members on hand to be able to make quick decisions, pivot entire product lines, and support a fully remote workforce is invaluable in these times, and SaaS companies who can achieve these things are in a position to weather the storm while helping customers do the same.
After we published our initial post back in April, we came across a COVID-impact survey done by our friends at CSM Practice. They ran a large-scale survey asking about the impact of the pandemic on customer success orgs, we’ll highlight a few of the findings here:
- No surprise, the majority of SaaS companies have seen their subscription and payment plans have been impacted.
- Roughly 60% of CS orgs have reported negative effects on retention and up-sells during the pandemic.
- 44% of companies have seen customer engagement increase, while 37% have seen a decline.
- Even with everything happening, still 30% of CS teams still planning to hire more CSMs in the short term.
See their complete results here: https://www.csmpractice.com/coronavirus-customer-success-survey/
At ClientSuccess, we are helping companies stay up to date on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis by delivering real-world resources and tools to help companies and customer success teams stay productive and motivated during this time. Check out the blog on a regular basis to stay informed!