We live in a time where startups offering new and unique services are cropping up all over the place. A satisfied user is becoming more and more of a rarity, what with so many options out there. Add to that, with the importance placed on user acquisition we forget to focus on our existing customers. You see, one in hand is worth almost seven in the bush. Acquiring a user could cost you seven times more than what’s required to retain a user. While it’s always important to grow your customer base, it shouldn’t be at the cost of losing your present users. Especially if you’re in the process of building your SaaS product, it is essential to keep your loyal users happy.
We call it churn rate, also known as cancellation rate, it is the percentage of your customers or subscribers who leave or choose to discontinue your services in a certain amount of time. Ideally, you should be boasting of a 0% churn rate which would mean you’re doing a beautiful job of maintaining your market share and your customers are loyal to your brand. Often, the reality isn't kind. Although this section comes with a fancy title, it boils down to “how to bring your churn rate closer to 0%”.
CIOs are aggressively adopting SaaS products
The solution is not to give up on the idea of building a SaaS product to spend more time and energy in maintaining your market share. If you want to remain relevant in today’s world, it's imperative you keep reimagining your business to ensure you’re not the next local taxi service or hotel caught unaware by your equivalent of Uber or Airbnb. Today, even the traditional non-tech companies have started to imbibe a software company frame of mind. There’s a reason Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is eating into our infrastructure. Previously, companies had to handle all of it. Purchase, build and maintain their IT infrastructures which proved to be a costly affair. SaaS gives you an alternative. Today you can plug in and subscribe to services built on shared infrastructure thanks to the Internet. No wonder, Software-as-a-service is becoming the standard mode of software delivery. Even so, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) aren’t taking advantage of the service as much as they should. The reason SaaS is such a favorite is the flexibility its subscription model offers you and the ease with which it lets you scale, maintain and deploy applications than your typical on-premise software.
Respect the human element
In today’s world, customer service should be taken to another level. Remember, customer satisfaction is the enemy of customer delight. It isn’t enough that your clients are satisfied, you have to make them happy. Cultivate a relationship with your users. Relationships will prove to be unquantifiable, but a valuable aspect of your business. A company that understands the importance of this touchy, feely side of service and gives due importance to it, will be able to build relationships with their customers organically. For this, you have think of your company as more than a product manufacturer. You have to transform your company into a service provider.
If you do not establish this connection with your users, you are merely another, impersonal vendor of which there are many in the market. In other words, you are replaceable with cheaper options, which means while you build your SaaS product the chances of losing your market share are higher. Nevertheless, if you build a relationship, it becomes a lot harder for your clients to replace you.
How to bring your churn rate closer to 0%?
Tell your existing customers you’re building a SaaS product
Get them as excited about the outcome as you are. Talk to them about the advantages it’ll bring them. Use teasers and keep them in the loop. Almost like they’re part of the process.
Share your vision with your customers
Software-as-a-Service, here the service is layered upon the software, bringing your user's a lot more value. Remind them of the benefits SaaS is going to allow them. There’ll be less of a need to purchase new software, reinstall programs and learn new systems. The service layer SaaS provides could tutor your clients through all the technology changes and upgrades.
Ask some customers to be Beta testers
What could be better than real-time field testing of your product? Here, the value of your service will come into play again. If you’ve moulded your product into an area of service, you can get feedback from your clients on the product you’re developing. But random and not well-thought-out user surveys could prove detrimental, too.
Share development milestones with customers
This is the best way to keep them in the loop and make them invested in the work you’re doing. The more emotionally involved and excited you get them, the more reason they’ll have to stick around.
Customers haven’t forgotten to use your product. They’ve lost interest in it. Do what you have to, to keep them invested, motivate them. Personalize your engagement with your users.
Customers into Advocates
People love great service, and you’ll find them extremely loyal to great service. Service is what will help you maintain your market share. The aim should be to go beyond customer satisfaction to customer advocacy. Small things will go a long way, communicate with your customers, address their problems immediately, and inculcate a personal touch where possible. Primarily, you must strive to make each touching point an engaging and impressive experience for your users.
Customer satisfaction isn’t enough
Remember, it’s more than what features the product you’re selling comes with, it’s also what service you provide along with it. The level of your service must be good enough to convert the most difficult customer into your most aggressive advocate.
I understand it’s not easy. Anyone who has experience in the service industry will tell you, pleasing a customer is an exhausting task, but when you hit it right on the head, it does pay off. Happy and informed customers are one of the best marketers a company can invest in and are better than any Salesperson you employ. Investment is the key word here. Don’t mistake this form of advertising to be free. It’ll cost you in labor, effort and time.
Your product is still the platform on which your service rests. So of course, the quality of your product is important, but what gives this product life, gives it value and longevity is the relationship it can establish with your customers. Bottom line, it’s about how good your service is.