Customer-Centric SaaS Company: How to Balance Customer Needs and Business Goals
Finding the perfect balance between your customers’ needs and your business goals can be difficult. Too often, one either trumps the other – leaving one side feeling neglected and driving away potential customers.
Research from Gartner in 2021 suggests that 85% of consumers felt they weren’t receiving enough value for their money.
By following a customer-centric approach to doing business with deliberate intention, you can create a mutually beneficial connection that satisfies both sides.
2021 and beyond have started an era of demanding expectations from buyers, who are calling for brands to be more eco-friendly, socially conscious and purposeful. Above all, they want assurance that businesses will prioritize their experience – regardless of the cost.
In this blog post, learn how to become more customer-centric by uncovering what your customers need (and want!), putting customer service at the forefront of all marketing efforts, utilizing feedback loops for measuring results, and rethinking profitability metrics.
What Is a Customer-Centric SaaS Company?
A customer-centric SaaS company is one that puts the customer first and its operations second. This type of business focuses on understanding customer needs, developing services to meet those needs, and providing a consistent experience from the very first contact with potential customers across every stage of their journey as existing customers.
Customer-centric SaaS companies are driven to continuously collect feedback from customers and make proactive improvements in order to keep them happy and satisfied.
Customer satisfaction is a top priority for customer-centric SaaS companies, as they know the importance of leveraging a positive brand image that improves acquisition costs and drives long-term success.
Importance of Balancing Customer Needs and Business Goals in a SaaS Company
Achieving the right balance between customer needs and business goals is essential for any SaaS company.
If a company only focuses on one or the other, it runs the risk of alienating its customers – either by not fulfilling their needs or by charging too much for services rendered. This can lead to negative feedback, decreased customer loyalty, and decreased profitability.
On the other hand, when a customer-centric SaaS company strikes the right balance between customer needs and business goals, it can grow its customer base, increase customer loyalty, and be more profitable.
This balance allows for an ongoing flow of feedback from customers which can be used to drive product development and marketing strategies that focus on meeting customer needs.
Tips for Balancing Customer Needs and Business Goals in a SaaS Company
Here are some tips to help you balance customer needs and business goals when running a SaaS company:
1. Understanding Customer Needs in a SaaS Company
Understanding customers’ needs and figuring out what will satisfy them helps in achieving excellent service, better products, more business opportunities, and more satisfied customers.
A SaaS company that understands its customers has the potential to create long-term loyalty among them by:
Identifying customer needs and pain points
Identifying customer needs and pain points is one of the most important tasks of a customer-centric company, as it plays an integral role in future product development. To identify these needs and pain points, you can:
- leverage data collected from sales conversations, surveys, social media feedback, or support tickets.
- You may also employ tactics like A/B testing with new features to see if you are preferable among regular customers.
Collecting and analyzing customer feedback
You should collect customer feedback through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other methods to analyze what’s working well and what’s not. The analyses should come from both quantitative and qualitative sources in order to better understand customers’ preferences.
Gathering customer feedback helps you:
- find insights into how to make your tool more attractive
- identify opportunities for growth
- increase customer satisfaction
- decrease attrition rates
- develop long-term relationships with them
Creating user personas and customer journeys
By creating comprehensive persona and journey plans, you can drive engagement, deepen relationships, and target specific audiences with more effective messaging.
Building user personas in a SaaS context starts with gathering data that factors in the demographics you serve, their preferences when using the software, their behavior within it, as well as their pain points while using your product.
To get an idea of how buyer behavior may shape your ability to provide a great user experience, one only needs to look at the way people use social media nowadays. Recent research by GWI found that 24% of Gen-Z have decreased their time spent on social compared to last year.
Consequently, if your SaaS tool specifically caters to this demographic, you might need to be inventive and explore different ways to ensure that your software solution meets the expectations of these users.
Customer journey plans should map out how users navigate through your SaaS tool in an ideal experience and include any areas where there is a gap between what customers expect to happen when engaging with your company.
By creating detailed profiles for each of these users or groups of users, and mapping out their likes and pain points through customer journeys, you can ensure you are consistently delivering the best possible user experiences with every interaction.
As a case in point, in 2022, having a website and presence on social media and email marketing channels is no longer enough. Consumers expect convenience and relevance through various stages of their buying journey, with more touch-points than ever before.
In 2021, two-thirds of B2B buyers opted for either remote human interactions or digital self-service during the purchase process. This suggests that they were looking for convenience when making decisions independently or wanted to receive customized solutions offering them value-for-money investments.
Prioritizing customer needs
As a customer-centric SaaS company, it is imperative to prioritize customer needs. To do this effectively, it is important to:
- Create a plan and strategy based on customer feedback.
- Customer feedback should be gathered through surveys, social media, interviews, and other forms of communication.
- Feedback should then be analyzed in order to determine the most important features and areas that require immediate attention.
- Listen for potential opportunities such as additional solutions customers may need or an improved understanding of their pain points and how to solve them.
- Once the customer’s needs are assessed, you can develop priorities that will enable you to deliver better outcomes for your customers in a timely fashion.
2. Aligning Business Goals with Customer Needs
By understanding your customer’s needs and preferences, you will be able to develop a clear strategy for the future of your SaaS tool. Here’s how to set your business goals with your customer’s needs in mind:
- Prioritize customer experience above all else. All goals should line up with creating a seamless and enjoyable user experience for every customer. A perfect example of a SaaS brand that excels at providing an engaging customer experience is Grammarly. Their weekly insights newsletter, which is sent to both premium and free users alike, supplies readers with actionable advice on writing style accuracy and offers helpful tips on becoming better communicators through writing. This has helped the brand grow into an indispensable service frequented by students, professionals, and creatives worldwide.
- You should strive to create technology that simplifies your customers’ lives as much as possible.
- You should set clear objectives with measurable metrics that you can strive to hit month after month.
Analyzing customer needs and pain points that align with business goals
By understanding and aligning business goals with customer needs, you can create a powerful strategy that will help you stay focused on producing quality tools while also maintaining an emphasis on customer experience. To do this, you need to
- Understand and analyze the needs of your customers, as well as the pain points they face. It should be accomplished by strategically gathering feedback from users, analyzing customer data and trends, creating customer surveys and studies, and consolidating customer interaction data gathered from support tickets.
- Develop a good picture of your user base and enable it to align its business goals with those of its customers – creating a stronger relationship that benefits both parties.
Developing a product roadmap that balances customer needs and business goals
Customer-centric SaaS companies can have a better strategic outlook by developing a product roadmap that balances customer needs and business goals. Customer needs should be paramount when constructing the roadmap as customer satisfaction is one of the most important objectives for success.
Business goals should also be an integral part of the roadmap, as they provide the engine for financial resources to carry out those customer-focused projects and activities.
By strategically linking customer needs with business goals, you can ensure that your product roadmap is not only tailored to meet customer demands, but also generates enough revenue to keep the company afloat.
Having a balance between customer needs and business goals provides healthy foundations for long-term success as it creates a win-win situation where customers get the products they need while simultaneously generating profits for the company.
Identifying key performance indicators to measure success
Customer-centric SaaS companies need to measure success in creative and meaningful ways. Identifying the right key performance indicators (KPIs) is an essential part of this.
KPIs should be viewed holistically; for instance, a combination of customer health indicators, product usage metrics, critical events, feature adoption rates, and other variables can provide powerful insights into how well the company is performing.
Additionally, measuring customer sentiments such as Net Promoter Scores and Customer Satisfaction Indexes can further demonstrate success or areas of needed improvement.
3. Implementing a Customer-Centric Culture
Implementing a customer-centric culture means tailoring every element of a business – ranging from how customers interact with the company, to how employees are trained and managed – to optimize their experiences.
To create a customer-centric culture, you need to:
- First focus on identifying which type of customer you are trying to serve and how you can best meet their needs.
- Create and promote a culture focused on meeting customer needs with effective communication and collaboration between all departments within the organization.
- Provide employees with resources that enable them to build relationships with customers, both in terms of understanding their needs as well as delivering a great customer experience.
- Customer feedback should be collected regularly and used to inform decisions that positively impact the customer experience.
Building cross-functional teams that focus on customer needs
Cross-functional teams that focus on customer needs are an important part of creating a customer-centric culture. This type of team is comprised of professionals from all areas in the organization, including product development, engineering, marketing, sales, and customer service.
This type of team enables customers to receive feedback and input from different departments who can work together to understand their needs and deliver better solutions. It also allows teams to identify areas of improvement in the customer experience and develop initiatives that can be implemented quickly without having to wait for approval from multiple departments – creating a smoother, faster process.
Finally, these cross-functional teams allow employees within an organization to work together more collaboratively, creating a more cohesive work environment that supports customer-centricity.
Cross-functional teams that specifically focus on customer needs should be:
- Made up of successful individuals from a variety of departments, including sales, marketing, and customer service.
- Empowered with the appropriate responsibilities and resources to independently create solutions for whatever needs their customers have and quickly implement them.
Communicating the importance of customer-centricity to all employees
Communicating the importance of customer-centricity to all employees is key to the success of any SaaS company. It should be expressed on a daily basis across all levels within the organization.
For instance, all new hires and existing staff should have regular training on customer service topics and lead by example when it comes to providing stellar services.
Additionally, company policies such as rewards and performance recognition should be structured with a customer-first focus, as creating a culture where customers always come first will ultimately benefit both parties.
With proper communication and reinforcement, all employees can learn to understand the true value of putting their customers first and help build an effective Customer-Centric SaaS Company.
Rewarding customer-centric behavior
Customer satisfaction should be a top priority as it leads to repeat business, builds relationships, and improves your brand reputation. Rewarding customer-centric behavior is an excellent way to reinforce the importance of this attitude.
Employees who go above and beyond in providing exceptional customer service should be recognized with non-financial rewards such as extra vacation time, flexible hours, special events or tickets, or even public recognition in front of their peers. For example, you could have team members present case studies on customer success stories at staff meetings to highlight their achievements and encourage others to follow suit.
Ultimately, celebrating customer-centric behavior can help ensure that every interaction you have with your customers reflects your mission to provide highly personalized and meaningful experiences. McKinsey reports that an astonishing 71% of consumers in 2021 anticipate personalization from businesses. When companies fail to deliver, up to 76% of customers become disenchanted.
Overcoming Challenges in Balancing Customer Needs and Business Goals
Customer-centric SaaS companies can have a tough time finding the perfect balance between customer needs and business goals. Below are a few of the challenges that you may face:
Managing conflicting priorities
Customer-centric SaaS companies strive to provide customers with the best user experience and service. To achieve this balance between customer needs and business goals, it’s often necessary to manage multiple conflicting priorities at once.
To make sure each project is successful, it is important to:
- Prioritize which objectives should be met first when dealing with multiple competing priorities, then adjust how resources are allocated accordingly.
- Create a more flexible timeline that allows for some negotiation in the amount of time spent on particular tasks and objectives.
- Maintain a culture of open communication among all involved stakeholders within your company. This will allow everyone to better understand why their goals are important and how their actions contribute to the success of your company as a whole.
Balancing short-term gains with long-term customer satisfaction
For a customer-centric SaaS company, there must be a balance of short-term gains while maintaining customer satisfaction over the long term.
Transitioning customer needs into business goals can be difficult and require careful consideration to ensure success in the future. Here are some tips:
- Establish trust between your customers and your company by keeping promises and delivering on expectations.
- Develop a customer feedback loop to better understand their needs while also gathering data that can inform future decisions.
- Focus on providing the highest quality of service to build relationships with customers that last and foster growth for both the company and its clients.
- Understand and actively respond to your customers’ wants to ensure that your customers feel valued and stay engaged over time. A great example is Spotify, which provided timely, relevant updates to its customers during its recent blackout on Twitter and assisted those having difficulty logging into their accounts.
Adapting to changing customer needs and market trends
In order to achieve success as a customer-centric SaaS company, it is essential to continuously adapt and meet changing customer needs and market trends.
This requires a careful balance between understanding your customer’s requirements and sustaining the underlying business goals that drive the sustainability of the SaaS company.
To find this equilibrium, you should:
- Strive to focus on consistent communication with customers, gathering data about their needs through feedback opportunities such as focus groups or online surveys.
- Conduct market trend analysis. This will provide valuable insights that can be used to ensure the solutions provided are timely and relevant.
- Constantly test and develop new improvements in existing solutions or features to help instill an element of trust in customers while also providing them with unique advantages over competitors.
Ultimate Meal Plans is a great example of how customer-centric SaaS companies can stay up-to-date with changing customer requirements.
Following the pandemic, they noticed a 23% surge in online grocery shopping and responded by introducing instantaneous online grocery checkout and delivery support to their app.
Moreover, in recent years, there has been an upswing in the importance of data privacy for consumers.
A 2020 PEW study revealed that 52% of Americans have refrained from using certain products or services due to privacy concerns. This trend has also seen apps such as Telegram benefit from increased use, most likely due to their user privacy and customization features.
Navigating budget constraints
Customer-centric SaaS companies often encounter difficulties when it comes to meeting customer needs and balancing business goals, especially under budget constraints.
One key to achieving success in navigating these waters is to prioritize customer satisfaction first.
This should be done by assessing each request they make on the basis of their priority and budget viability, before setting a strategy with clear costs, timelines, and expectations.
Once this has been done, teams must come together with marketing and communication strategies that meet customer needs while also keeping track of costs.
By assessing current resources in comparison to potential returns and customers’ evolving demands, you can identify areas of savings while meeting customers’ demands as well as proceeding with initiatives that will best fulfill business objectives.
A well-rounded approach to customer needs and business goals is essential for successful SaaS companies.
You should actively pursue creative ways to create meaningful connections with customers while keeping in mind your own bottom line. You should also use good marketing techniques to showcase your services, encourage feedback from customers, and set clear expectations for both customers and employees.
Establishing standards for customer service that meet or exceed industry standards can solidify credibility and provide an important foundation for sustained growth. Visit our blog for more tips on growing your SaaS business.