The rise of SaaS and cloud-based applications has levelled the technological playing field for businesses, and even individuals. Thanks to SaaS, small businesses now have the same access to cutting-edge tools as big corporations. Solutions are affordable, require no hardware investment, and do not need an IT department to implement. However, the subscription model, and consequent lack of long-term financial investment, also makes it easy for users to jump ship. How can you prevent users from abandoning your SaaS solution? Simply put, they must be invested. They must depend on your software so much that doing without it would detrimentally affect their ability to run their business. Here are four ways to do this.
- Set realistic expectations. Before a prospect is even an official customer, be realistic about achievable results, and the time and effort it will take the prospect to see a return on his or her investment. Over-promising just to make the sale will cost you with increased churn rates and higher customer acquisition costs down the road. Here’s where an effective content marketing strategy fits in. Use your content as a way to set expectations and let prospective customers and trial users know exactly what they’re getting with your software or solution. In fact, HubSpot lists “not leveraging your content” as one of its top five reasons people don’t sign up after a SaaS free trial Tweet. If users don’t understand your solution, it’s not very likely to match their expectation. The more accurate their expectations are going in, the less likely you are to lose them later.
- Communicate regularly during the on-boarding process. To prevent abandonment, customers must see value. Don’t assume value is automatically there because they chose to purchase or sign up for a free trial. Delegating the on-boarding process to over-worked or under-trained entry-level employees is a big mistake. Think of your on-boarding staff as mentors. Make it easy for customers to communicate via different vehicles, respond quickly to emails, send out satisfaction surveys, reach out on social media, or get creative by adding “feedback bars” or other methods of getting help right within the software. Did you know 40 percent of customers in general switch to a competitor simply because of better customer service? Get it right from the first interaction.
- Know yourself and your competitors. Technology is ever changing. Competition is fierce, and it’s easy for customers to simply move on to the next big thing. Don’t become a victim to the next disruptive technology. First, know your weaknesses. Ask for feedback and take customer suggestions seriously. Don’t resist change. Denying that change is needed will cause certain death. Ask yourself, “Who are my biggest competitors?” Learn about them. What does their product offer that yours does not? Stay up-to-date about what’s going on in your sector. Stay cutting-edge. Let your customers know you are constantly improving to make their experience better, so there’s no need to look elsewhere for the next technological advancement.
- Know why customers cancel. Create an outgoing customer survey. Simple questions will give you great insight Tweet. For example, if outgoing customers consistently say they cancelled because they “did not use the product enough to justify the cost,” you’ve learned one of two things must be true. First, you might need to improve the product to add more value. Second, you might have a valuable product, but you are not doing a good job of helping the customer understand how to get value out of it.
“Look for ways of increasing the stickiness of your product or service, making it painful for customers to leave you,” recommended Forbes contributing writer and author George Deeb Tweet. Whether it’s increased functionality, data capabilities, the analytics you offer or how well your product integrates with other systems, find out what it is about your product that makes your customers feel they can’t live without it. Focus on those aspects. Then deepen them, refine them, and continually strive to make them better.
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