The following is a guest blog post by Kayleigh Alexandra content writer for Micro Startups. Image credit: Max Pixel
The SaaS world is hotly competitive, and the intensity is only going up as time goes by and more businesses move away from the established software purchasing model. Unfortunately, a lot of companies tackle this level of competition using questionable and short-term tactics.
Instead of worrying about the customers they have, they reason that they’re just going to leave on a whim anyway, so it’s best to focus on bringing in new customers. They draw them in with limited-time offers and try to extract as much money as possible from them before they go.
But they don’t see that they’re reacting to a problem of their own creation, because customer loyalty isn’t an impossibility— you just need to know how to value your customers properly.
Here’s why more companies need to install customer success as their top operational priority:
What does customer success look like?
Customer success isn’t simply about making sales. It’s about taking care of each and every one of your customers in such a way that you maximize the likelihood that they will continue to use your service. As such, simply winning a new customer is only the very first step of a process that should ideally run for years and years.
The best customers are with you for a long journey. Credit here.
And it goes beyond good customer service because it demands activity. You can achieve a solid level of customer service through simply being empathetic when you receive a complaint, but what about the unhappy customers who never complain and simply opt to leave? If you don’t reach out to your customers to find out what more you can do, you’ll miss out on countless opportunities to turn losses into loyalty.
Why the churn must be stopped
When you don’t prioritize customer success, you face the churn: the frustrating cycle of seeing old customers consistently leaving and knowing that you need to keep bringing in new customers or face a crisis. But it isn’t just annoying and stressful to deal with— it’s nowhere near as lucrative as simply retaining the customers you have.
Customer churn is nowhere near as delicious as this kind. Credit here.
That’s because customer/business relationships mature and develop over time, and a customer you’ve had for five years is going to pay closer attention to your recommendations than one you just signed up last week. The latter might just be giving you a test run, but the former has clearly made up their mind that you’re the company for them. If you were pitching an expensive premium account, which one do you think would be more interested?
Seeing the customer as an investment
Because long-term customers become more valuable to you over time, you need to look at them much as you’d look at standard financial investments. It makes no sense to put money into a savings account and withdraw it following the first interest payment. Sure, you’ll have made a bit of money, but just a fraction of what you would have made had you left it to accumulate.
Like this, but with a lot more interest! Credit here.
That means having a thought-out plan for how you’ll keep your customers just as happy (or happier) five years from now as they are today. Over time, competitor offers will pop up to tempt them with free months and little gifts if they switch, and your built-up value proposition combined with your proactive reward efforts need to be strong enough to keep them where they are.
Proving yourself a reliable partner
Think about the customer/business relationship as a partnership. You need to pull your weight on a consistent basis, and the kind of flashy marketing showmanship that can bring in new customers won’t be enough. You need to prove your reliability but also remember to periodically take action to show your customers that they’re important to you.
If you want an example of how to get it right, look at the success of Shopify. They didn’t just give their users a way to create their own webstores— they offer them 24/7 support by email, live chat or phone as standard when most of their competitors only provide it for premium users, and reach out to their users for feedback and to feature them through their client podcasts. Take a look at their A+ BBB rating, which is very telling given their size.
If you put your customers first, you’ll get ahead. Credit here.
I imagine that a lot of companies don’t try to demonstrate this kind of customer-first approach because they don’t truly believe they can achieve it, but it isn’t that complicated. You just need to make sure that everyone in your company shares the right mentality, put in the work to make your service truly worthy of customer loyalty, and review your strategy every year.
In an era of detailed analytics, the business world has the ability and the understanding to take a more active approach to customer retention. By anticipating customer issues and properly prioritizing the relative value of your customers, you can address problems before they arise and make sure your efforts are going towards the right things.
About the Author: Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Here’s What the Perfect Onboarding Message Looks Like – If your onboarding process fails to accomplish its goals, you run the risk of seeing a significant drop in retention.
- The Ultimate Guide to a Career in Customer Service, Support and Success – Everything you need to know to get started building a career in a customer-facing role.
- Is Your Customer Engagement Really Customer-Centric? – Customer engagement can yield short-term or long-term rewards or penalties.