Customer retention is vital to the health of your business. In order to run a successful enterprise, you have to think in terms of customer growth and expansion.
The digital transformation of business has given customers more choices and greater freedom from long-term arrangements. To stay relevant, you need to embrace this new customer-centered economy and offer your customers a partnership invested in their growth and expansion.
The Path to Building a New Era of Customer Loyalty
The customer-centered economy forces us to shift the way we think about the flow of our business. Customers are not static, and their needs change as their business grow and expand. We have to create relationships built on the customer’s growth.
We’ve outlined six focus areas that will help you improve customer engagement and retention:
- Rapid onboarding
- Escalation preparation
- The right solution for the right customer
- Support across your enterprise
- Customer nurturing
- Have a customer-centered renewal strategy in place
#1. Rapid Onboarding
You’re on a journey with your customers. You achieve value by demonstrating that you’re the right partner to drive for value for your customers. Not to get too philosophical, but each journey begins with a first step, and in the SaaS domain, that means onboarding.
A rapid onboarding process is your first chance to impress. You can consider your customer to be in the onboarding phase right up until they start to gain value from your products and services. There are several onboarding best practices you can employ to shorten the training and learning time, including:
- Guiding the onboarding process for each of your customers to ensure they are progressing to a stage of adoption,
- Ensuring that adoption take places within 90 days of onboarding, and
- Monitoring engagement to ensure that the time a new client spends with your product is increasing from usage at the start of the onboarding process.
But, it’s crucial that your customers have a fundamental understanding of your product before you send them on their way. After all, you want them extract value out of the products and services you sold them.
#2. Prepare for Escalation
No matter how great your product or service is, customer escalations will happen at some point, so be prepared and respond proactively. The sooner you engage with the customer to resolve their concerns, the more easily you’ll regain their trust.
You can implement software that will help you manage escalations, and make sure your team is well trained in assisting unhappy customers. That means responding to customer phone calls, emails, or even comments on social media with empathy. Listen to your customer to learn why they’re unhappy. Remember, they spent money, had expectations, and felt their expectations were not met. As such, work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
While escalations may seem alarming, keep in mind that a customer who had a bad experience but received excellent service after escalation will likely be more loyal ultimately than a customer who never had a complaint to begin with. So, if you quickly and thoroughly address the customer’s concerns, you can use escalations as an opportunity to further your relationship with the client.
#3. The Right Solution for the Right Customer
Salespeople can become so focused on upselling that they sell the customer a solution that’s too big, has too many features, or costs more than the customer wanted to spend. Don’t let short-term gains divert your attention from the big picture; the value of developing a long-term relationship with a customer. By selling them the solution that’s right for them or refining the services they receive if they are on a subscription basis, you can transform them into a customer for life.
Help customers choose the right solution by considering their pain points. Once you understand their pain points, you can effectively explain how your product can solve the customer’s problems or be customized to fit their needs. So, focus on solutions over selling products. Customers will not only have higher satisfaction rates, but offering genuine help will go a long way in terms of growing loyalty.
#4. Support Across Your Enterprise
Every interaction your customer has with your team is an opportunity for conversation. There’s no interaction too small, no task too unimportant that it can’t be enhanced by detailed customer knowledge. You can make the most of these opportunities if every member of your team has access to data and is familiar with the customer, like which features are being used and how often, any survey and general feedback, helpdesk tickets, and overall behavior information.
You can begin to build your customer-centered team by sharing data across every level and proactively monitoring customer health changes. The best way to make your customer feel as though your business is built around their needs is to demonstrate at every turn that your entire enterprise completely understands theirs.
#5. Customer Nurturing
A customer-centered approach focuses on nurturing your customers towards long-term goals by using repeatable practices and scaling as their business grows. As Totango CEO Guy Nirpaz explains it, you want to farm rather than hunt.
This approach helps you foster customer passion, and it can be achieved through practical and proactive steps. Organize your customer data so you can get a visual representation of each segment’s health and usage, then use that information to make sure every customer continually gets the appropriate value from your product. By ensuring that your customers are always taken care of, you will create a nurturing environment that encourages customer loyalty.
#6. Have a Customer-Centered Renewal Strategy in Place
Customer renewal success is critical for SaaS enterprises. Your approach to customer renewal, however, shouldn’t be limited to the final days leading up to their anniversary. Instead, it should include actions that put the customer in the driver’s seat, for instance by soliciting feedback via a survey. This way, you can gather information about their likes and dislikes that you can use to encourage renewal.
You can limit exposure by constantly monitoring customer health signals and prioritizing your renewal processes around “no risk” and “at risk” categories. This way, your renewal reminders can be distributed in advance, giving your customers time to flag any potential issues or dissatisfaction. Your SaaS customers have greater fluidity than ever, so take the time to present them with avenues for grievance and solutions before they consider alternatives.
Building SaaS Customer Loyalty Focused on Mutual Growth
The dynamics of the SaaS marketplace have shifted in favor of the customer, as they are now used to the convenience of short-term arrangements and a subscription economy. Therefore, customer retention is less about building customer loyalty and more about demonstrating that you can act as a partner in your customer’s long-term growth. Show them you know their business, show them you can help them, and show them how you can power their expansion.
Totango is a leader in understanding and innovating within this new customer-centered economy. Our tools and advice can help you quickly onboard, effectively monitor, and continually serve your customers. Explore Spark, then request a demo to find out how we can help you build your business around your customer.
Image courtesy: VadimGuzhva.