Top 7 Ways To Create An Awesome Customer Experience In SaaS
When you’re running a SaaS business, growth isn’t just about acquiring more and more customers. More importantly, long-term sustainable growth is only possible if you focus on customer retention and providing an excellent customer experience for your users.
After all, customer experience is the key to customer loyalty and even turning your current customers into advocates who bring in new referrals.
But what is customer experience in SaaS? And how can you improve it?
In this article, we will be discussing the different customer experience strategies that you can implement in your SaaS business to provide an exceptional customer experience for every user.
What Is Customer Experience In SaaS?
Customer experience is your customer’s overall perception of your brand and product before, during, and after consuming or using it.
However, for SaaS businesses, we know that customers don’t literally “consume” your product. Instead, customer experience in SaaS is defined by how you make your customer feel when they interact with your product and other services you provide.
Why Do SaaS Businesses Need To Focus On Customer Experience?
Customer experience can make or break your SaaS business. A customer who has a great experience with your product will remain loyal and is likely to recommend it to others, which will fuel your growth further.
On the other hand, poor customer experience will result in customer churn and negative reviews. It can also lead to an overall decrease in customer satisfaction over time as they become disappointed with your SaaS product and hear that others feel the same way.
What’s more, negative word-of-mouth can also damage your reputation and scare away potential customers.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a guessing game. With the right strategies, you can improve user experience and make sure that more of your customers stick around for the long haul.
So let’s talk about the best ways to create an awesome customer experience for SaaS businesses.
1) Provide A Great SaaS Product
User experience starts with the product itself. If your SaaS product is not up to par, then all customer experience strategies in the world won’t save you.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that your product meets each customer’s expectations. This means that you should optimize your user interface, features, and performance to ensure a smooth customer experience.
How do you make sure that you are providing a great SaaS product?
Test It Regularly
Regular testing is the best way to ensure that your SaaS platform is functioning properly and meeting customers’ expectations.
You should test for bugs, glitches, and even the ease of use of your product.
Make It Scalable
One of the most important qualities of a SaaS product today (especially in the B2B space), is scalability.
Ideally, your customers’ businesses would grow with the help of your SaaS product. And as their companies grow, so will their needs.
That’s why your customers should be able to expand their use of your SaaS solution as needed. Consider how you can make it easy for them to scale up their usage and add more user seats as they grow.
Keep Introducing New Features
At the rate that the tech and software industry is innovating today, customer expectations and needs are constantly changing. Whatever feature or technology is new today may be obsolete in a few years.
That’s why your SaaS product should be constantly evolving with new features and updates to keep up with trends and ever-changing demands from your customers.
Not only will this help you stay ahead of the competition, but it also shows that you genuinely care about providing the best SaaS solution to your customers.
Ensure Data Security & Privacy
A customer’s data security and privacy should always be a priority for your SaaS business. Make sure that you are using the latest security protocols to protect customer data from hackers or malicious actors.
2) Create A Customer Journey Map
As we mentioned earlier, customer experience encompasses every interaction between your customer and your SaaS business. That includes all interactions you’ve had before buying your SaaS product and while they are subscribed to it.
A SaaS customer journey map can help you visualize and manage the customer journey. It can help you identify what touchpoints and interactions you need your customer to have at each step of the way.
Here’s how you can map your customer journey:
Establish Key Stages Of The Customer Journey
The user journey typically follows every customer touchpoint and interaction from before they have even considered buying your SaaS product up to the time that they are gladly recommending it to others.
It usually has the following key stages:
- Awareness: The earliest stage is when the potential customer becomes aware of their pain point. They may not necessarily be thinking about your SaaS product yet or may not even know that it exists. But they know they have a pain point that needs to be addressed.
- Consideration: At this stage, your customer is aware that they need a SaaS solution to address their pain point. They are considering and researching different solutions, including your SaaS product.
- Purchase: This is the stage where the customer decides to purchase your SaaS solution.
- Onboarding: At this stage, your customer goes through a setup and tutorial process to learn the basics of how to use your SaaS platform.
- Adoption: This is the stage where your customer starts using your SaaS product on a regular basis and experiencing its value. Your goal at this stage is to help your customer make the most out of your SaaS product.
- Customer Retention: The customer experience should be seamless and enjoyable at this stage so that they stick around for the long haul.
- Expansion: If you have more advanced plans or other add-on products, you may also upsell or cross-sell your customers at this stage.
- Advocacy: At the end of the customer journey, your customer could be a happy customer — so happy that they are recommending it to their friends and colleagues.
Identify Touchpoints For Each Stage
For each stage of the customer journey, you should identify touchpoints where customer experience can be improved.
A customer touchpoint is any platform where your customer can have an interaction with your brand, your team members, or your SaaS product.
For the pre-purchase stages of the SaaS customer journey, touchpoints include any marketing or sales channel you use for lead generation and lead nurturing.
These may include the following:
- Search engine results
- Content marketing (blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other types of content)
- Your website
- Live chat widgets on your website
- Social media posts and ads
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
- Recommendations from your existing customers
- User reviews
- Product demos
For the post-purchase stages of the customer journey, touchpoints include services that your SaaS business provides for your current customers.
These could include:
- Your onboarding program
- In-app tutorials
- Knowledge base
- Customer support conversations
- Customer success
- In-app notifications
- Community platforms
By understanding the customer journey and identifying the customer touchpoints in each stage, you think of ways to optimize the customer experience for each touchpoint and interaction.
This will help ensure that your customer has a smooth, enjoyable experience with your SaaS product throughout their entire journey.
3) Provide Top-Notch Customer Support
For the rest of these strategies for improving your customer experience, let’s focus on some key touchpoints from the customer journey and how you can make the most out of them.
One of the most common interactions that your company will have with your users is probably the customer support conversations you will have.
This is where customers will come to get their questions answered or troubleshoot any issues that they might be having with your SaaS product.
It’s important to ensure that customer support concerns are handled quickly and courteously, as this reflects on your customer’s overall experience with your SaaS product.
How do you make that happen? Here are a few ideas:
Build A Comprehensive Knowledge Base
Providing excellent technical support doesn’t necessarily need a conversation between your customer and the support team. In fact, it’s better if your customer can get help even without reaching out to your customer service team.
And one of the best ways to do that is to have a comprehensive knowledge base that includes self-help articles, FAQs, video tutorials, and other helpful resources.
This way, your customer can find the answers to their questions without having to wait for your support team.
Provide Multiple Customer Support Channels
In addition to having a robust help center, you should also provide multiple channels of communication for customers who do need to talk to a customer support rep.
Giving them the option to use a support channel that they prefer can go a long way in making their experience with your SaaS product as pleasant as possible.
But what channels are there anyway?
Live chat is great for responding to your customers’ concerns in real-time. What’s more, with the right tools, you can even set up chatbots to automate customer support conversations and make it more efficient.
Email is also an important customer service tool, as it allows customers to get in touch with your customer support team at their own convenience. Plus, it’s great for providing detailed answers that are too long for a live chat conversation.
Phone support should also be offered if possible, especially if you’re catering to large enterprises.
Invest In A Decent Helpdesk Platform
No customer service strategy is complete without the right helpdesk platform to manage customer support conversations.
With the right tools, customer service teams can track customer inquiries, assign tickets to specific customer support reps, and even prioritize issues based on their urgency.
This ensures that customer inquiries are handled quickly and efficiently, allowing your customer success team to focus on providing the best possible customer experience for each customer.
4) Have A Proactive Customer Success Strategy
In addition to support conversations, customer success is another key aspect of the SaaS customer experience.
Customer success teams are responsible for ensuring that customers get value out of your SaaS product and helping them achieve their goals with its help.
To ensure a delightful customer experience, you need to have a proactive customer success strategy in place.
Here’s how you can do that:
Know Your Customer’s Goals Early On
Before you start helping a customer, you first have to know HOW you can help them in the first place. You need to understand what they hope to achieve with your SaaS product.
Understanding your customer’s goals early on will enable your customer success team to create personalized milestones and develop tailored strategies that meet their needs.
Lead Customers To Activation Events
An activation event is a customer engagement or behavior that indicates that they have experienced the value of your SaaS product.
This can vary from one SaaS solution to another.
For example, a social media management solution’s activation event could be when a user creates their first scheduled post and/or generates a report on their social media engagement. While a project management platform’s activation event could be when a user creates their first task or completes their first project.
You need to identify the activation events for your SaaS product and prioritize those that align with their goals. Once identified, your customer success manager should help customers achieve these activations as quickly as possible.
Track Customer Behavior & Offer Personalized Help
Tracking customer behavior over time can help you understand what features they are using (and not using) to reach their objectives.
This, in turn, can help your customer success team craft personalized strategies to help them achieve their goals and get the most out of your product.
For example, let’s say you have a customer relationship management (CRM) platform and one of your customers’ goals is to increase their conversion rates. But then you notice that they are not maximizing your platform’s notifications and alerts features, which can help them prevent any of their leads from falling through the cracks.
So your customer success manager can reach out to them and help them make the most out of these features that may prove essential in reaching their goals.
5) Gather Customer Feedback Regularly
At the end of the day, customer experience boils down to how your customer feels about using your SaaS product.
So, you need to consistently collect customer feedback in order to measure customer satisfaction and identify any potential issues that may be hindering their experience.
Below are some ways you can gather customer feedback:
Send Out Feedback Forms
The most direct and upfront way to get customer feedback is simply asking your customers for it.
You can send customer surveys regularly and ask for detailed feedback about their experience with your SaaS product.
Make sure to ask about what they love and don’t love about your SaaS solution. This will help you know what’s working (and what isn’t). You can go even deeper and ask them how your SaaS product has been helpful (or unhelpful) in achieving their goals.
What’s more, you can also ask them what features or capabilities they wish your SaaS platform had. This can guide you in building features and updates that truly meet customer needs and expectations.
Keep An Eye On User Review Sites
Another way to collect customer feedback is by monitoring SaaS review sites like G2 and Capterra.
At the very least, on these sites, you can immediately view customer feedback while waiting for your users’ responses to your feedback forms.
Most of these review sites enable users to cite specific pros and cons about their customer experience. So you can quickly uncover what makes your customers frustrated and how you can improve it.
Measure Survey-Based Metrics
Some SaaS retention metrics involve sending out a survey or questionnaire to your customers and using their responses to calculate whatever metric you’re measuring.
But more importantly, you can also add follow-up questions to these surveys. This gives you a good opportunity to ask more specific questions and get customer feedback in more detail.
Speaking of metrics, let’s move on to our next point of conversation.
6) Measure Customer Experience With The Right Metrics
The thing about customer experience is that it can be subjective. Different customers have different expectations and standards for your SaaS product. So it can be hard to measure customer experience objectively.
However, there are still some metrics that can give you an idea of both general and individual customer experience.
Let’s go through them one by one.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score
As we mentioned earlier, there are SaaS customer retention metrics that involve sending out surveys or a questionnaire to your customer base.
One of them is the customer satisfaction score (or CSAT score). With it, you ask your customer something along the lines of “How would you rate your satisfaction with our SaaS product?”
Then your customer could answer on a scale of 1 to 5, with the following corresponding equivalents:
5 – Extremely Satisfied
4 – Somewhat Satisfied
3 – Neither Satisfied Nor Disappointed
2 – Somewhat Disappointed
1 – Extremely Disappointed
You can then calculate your CSAT score by taking the total number of respondents who answered with a 4 or 5 (those who are satisfied) and dividing it by the total number of respondents.
For example, if you had 100 customer feedback responses and 50 of them answered with either a 4 or 5, your CSAT score would be 50%.
You can also contextualize your CSAT score based on the touchpoint you’re measuring.
For example, you’re trying to see how you’re doing in terms of customer support. You could ask your customer “How would you rate your satisfaction with the service you just received?” after each support conversation.
Then CSAT scores you would calculate from these ratings would only indicate customer satisfaction with your customer support.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Another metric that you can use is the net promoter score or NPS. It can help you measure customer loyalty and advocacy among your user base.
The NPS question goes like this “How likely are you to recommend our SaaS product to a friend or colleague?”
Your customer could respond on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Very Unlikely” and 10 being “Very Likely.”
Then you would need to group your respondents into three:
- Promoters: Those who answered with a 9 or 10.
- Passives: Those who answered with a 7 or 8.
- Detractors: Those who answered 6 or below.
To calculate your overall NPS rating, subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.
For example, if 50% of your customer feedback responses were Promoters, 40% were Passives and 10% were Detractors, then your NPS would be 40.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
The customer effort score (CES) is a metric that helps you measure how easy it is for your customers to use your SaaS product.
Like the previous two metrics, this involves asking your customers a question. For this one, it’s something like “How easy is it for you to use our SaaS product?”
The scale usually ranges from 1 to 7, but you can be flexible and creative with it. You can even use emojis if you want. But you would need to assign corresponding numerical values to each emoji.
To calculate your CES, simply get the average of all customer responses.
CES is also a popular metric for measuring customer support performance. In this case, the question would be “How easy was it for you to handle this issue?”
7) Build A Community With Your Customers
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, people stuck at home during lockdown were looking for ways to stay connected.
And one of the ways they did that is by joining online communities centered around common interests, values, and hobbies. But even when the restrictions were lifted, these online communities are still thriving.
You can apply this same concept to customer experience in SaaS.
Having a SaaS community where your customers can interact and engage with one another will make them feel more connected to your SaaS product and excited about its future. This leads to growth both in customer loyalty and brand advocacy:
So let’s talk about how you can make the most out of your online community:
Start Conversations With Thought-Provoking Content
You can spark conversations by creating and sharing content that encourages customer engagement.
Whether this is a blog post, video, or podcast episode, make sure it resonates with your community members and gets them talking about it.
Create A Safe Space For Discussions
A clear sign of a good customer experience (within an online community setting) is when your customers feel comfortable enough to express their thoughts and opinions without any fear of judgment or criticism.
So you need to make sure that your online community is a safe space for doing so. That means enforcing clear rules and guidelines for how community members should interact with each other.
Give Customers Opportunities To Influence Company Decisions
One of the most powerful ways to foster customer loyalty and advocacy is to give your customers a sense of ownership of your SaaS company.
You can do that by asking for their input on some decisions you need to make. This could be something as simple as minor tweaks in your website design to something as big as the next major feature you’re going to roll out.
And when the decision comes to fruition, they can confidently say “I helped make that happen.”
This would give them a sense of ownership of your business, which can easily translate to customer loyalty and advocacy.
Final Thoughts About Customer Experience In SaaS
Customer experience in SaaS requires a holistic approach that involves different strategies.
But it all starts with having a high-quality SaaS product. Once you have that down, you need to map your customer journey and identify all the touchpoints that your customers will have with your SaaS company.
Only then can you zoom in and work on each of these touchpoints.
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