“With the shift to a SaaS model, the connection between your customer’s success and your success is much more direct.” — MindTouch
If you, as a SaaS company, have successfully passed the onboarding phase, then Congratulations! You’ve won the initial battle. But…don’t get too excited. Yes, you’ve made it past the first few steps, but now you’ve got to get to work to sustain a long-standing relationship.
Now your focus needs to shift to optimizing adoption. You can only really optimize adoption when the customer derives real value from your product on a daily basis. For this to happen, you must thoroughly understand the needs of your user and gauge whether users are realizing the maximum benefit from the features available.
Here are some time-tested strategies that have worked for me:
- Monitor Account Health with Metrics – Using the right metrics is extremely important for SaaS companies because a jumble of data is not enough when it comes to gauging account health and user engagement. Monitoring the right actions and behavior patterns of clients allows quantification of the actual ‘value’ of the user to the business. Some important metrics to track are:
- Product Data Usage: Companies can analyze data on two levels: the individual user and aggregate data for the entire business. The individual account allows close documentation of individual ease of use and the latter gives a bird’s eye view of the usage of the business as a whole. Information about total number of active users is an aggregate metric that tells CSMs how close a particular business is to complete adoption.
- Feature Usage: Customers need immediate value realization or an ‘A-ha!’ moment to encourage product adoption and reduce churn. This is possible only when the right features are leveraged repeatedly. Keeping a check on key feature usage can reveal whether clients are reaping optimal benefits from the platform.
- Volume and Type of Support Tickets: The volume of support tickets tells SaaS companies exactly how user-friendly and intuitive clients find the software solution. The type of support tickets is indicative of friction areas in your product or service offerings. The time-to-resolution for support tickets is also a measurement of the quality of the support extended to struggling users.
To optimize these metrics, set usage milestones for your customers and work with them to help achieve these milestones with regular check-ins (even if only for 30 minutes). It could be as simple as just calling and asking “How can you and your team get started today?” Another nice way to incentivize increased usage is to celebrate usage achievements.
- Personalize Marketing to Boost Software Effectiveness: SaaS platforms need to capitalize on the trend of personalization in marketing. Your marketing strategy should provide users with laser-focused helpful content that can challenge customers to think in new ways. CSMs should understand a user’s struggles and triumphs and accordingly send personalized training videos, demonstrations, and other interactive media. When the customer approach is personalized, user-perceived value for their investment is heightened.
- Welcome Users into the Fold: Users who feel like they are a part of the family rarely think of changing vendors. Give them this feeling by keeping them “in the know”. Send newsletters with the latest company news and tips, give them access to behind the scenes highs and lows, and what’s up next! Customers feel privileged when they receive updates. A sense of exclusivity and community is an asset to adoption as it stimulates accountability in buyers.
- Offer Loyalty Rewards: Incentives work wonders to promote user loyalty. The trick is to encourage users to invest themselves in the SaaS platform to such an extent that they can’t contemplate a shift to an alternative provider. Bulk discounts, gifts and awards, and/or special industry mentions all trigger the human need for “more”. This customer love stimulates expectations which translates to product loyalty and evangelism.
After your customer is up and running, take them through an executive check-in to celebrate the ‘go-live’ and set new milestones and check-ins to ensure continued success. These simple steps will ensure customer engagement and years of customer loyalty.
Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong Customer Success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.