The sales cycle is more demanding than ever – customer expectations are “through the roof” and they aren’t afraid to leave at a moment’s notice. This is especially the case in the software business, where software is increasingly shifting to the cloud. And because life-time customer value is so valuable, you can’t afford a decrease in customer retention. To prevent decreases, you must produce long-lasting benefit to your customers.
Once you’ve passed the critical on-boarding phase, investments in training customers on the software’s capabilities and functionalities will, not only increase renewals, but will also pay off down the line in referrals, upselling and cross-selling. Here is a list of 7 proven strategies to ensure customer retention:
1. Would You Like a Little Value with That Product?
Customers do not only want their products to be functional and easy to use, they also want their software experience to be enriching. Living in an era of customization and personalization, consumers want and expect software to be personalized and tailored to their needs.
Personalizing the SaaS experience with context-related content and customizable options creates software that goes beyond simply providing functionality, but ensures that the consumer will attach to your product and become lifelong users and ambassadors for your brand.
2. Building a Customer Success Team
The benefits of a good customer success team are often not realized for months after the initial subscription was completed. Customer success teams are a significant investment, both with financial and human capital, and are often developed at the expense of other departments. Because of this, the customer success team is often seen as a superfluous and insignificant addition to the company. On the contrary, however, a solid customer success team can ensure that customers who implement the software early will be retained later and hopefully over time, become more valuable to the company.
3. Customer Targeting
Demographics are an essential aspect of SaaS, and focusing efforts on the wrong customer demographic will set you back. A large part of customer success is the ability to pinpoint, as specifically as possible, who your customer is and where to find them. Having said that, I know that conducting to market research in order to guide targeting efforts does not typically fall within the purview of CS managers, but it’s worth making it a priority.
4. Automated Support 24/7
As much as organizations tout the importance of people and process over technology, it is impossible to deliver a winning customer service experience without technology. Online support is available from a variety of sources and the use of these can help eliminate confusion and frustration when operating software. For example, WalkMe is a great tool to prevent attrition and churn, and can build long-term user value.
5. Measuring Customer Satisfaction
70-95% of revenues are generated by up-selling and subscription renewals. As a result, it is imperative to ensure that customers are satisfied well after the initial sale takes place. Since customer satisfaction is not always exclusively related to the actual use of a product, finding other ways to quantify satisfaction can ensure retention. Such indicators may include timely bill payments, engagement with the online community, and referrals.
6. Customized Service
High-paying accounts must be treated with a personalized strategy that is proactive and consultative. Medium-sized accounts usually respond best to data-driven intervention, where there may be use problems that have to be addressed. In smaller accounts, automation is the best strategy. Ensure that you are spending time only where it is needed and where it has the biggest impact on customer success and profitability.
7. Damage Control
According to Gartner analysts, over the last 10 years, trust in big business has been rapidly declining. Customers have become more willing to complain, more willing to switch suppliers, and more likely to share their experiences with others. Although counterintuitive, the harder a company tries to retain unsatisfied customers, the worse off the company will likely be. The harder you make it for an unhappy customer to leave, the more frustrated they may become and the more likely they will dislike your product or service and possibly communicate that dislike to others.
Although it is at the heart of a company’s success, the concept of Customer Success is a fairly new idea. Recognizing its importance and implementing these strategies will help ensure increased success and future profitability.