Understanding Customer Experience: Practical Tips for SaaS Businesses
Customer experience has become a buzzword in the SaaS industry in the past decade. Companies have increasingly realized that without becoming customer-centric, it is difficult to sustain in the competitive world. Every company is trying their best to come up with the best customer-centric strategies to leverage the benefits from their customers.
But with rising competition in the market and so many options for the customers to choose from, how to grow your business? What extra can you give to the customers so that they choose you over your competitors? These are few of the questions that company leaders are constantly baffling with. And to answer this, customer experience plays a vital role in a modern SaaS organization.
Customer experience has now become the differentiating factor in a modern company. Your product and service are no doubt your core offerings to the customers. They define the “what” of your company. But customer experience defines the “how” part of your brand. How do you conduct your business? How do you make your customers feel? And how do you interact with your customers at each touchpoint? These are few of the areas where customer experience pervades in an organization. So, let’s understand this deeply starting with its definition.
What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is defined by the experience of your customer while interacting with your brand at every touchpoint. These interactions can be right from the beginning like your advertisement campaign, to finally using your product. Customer experience basically defines the psychological state of a customer while they interact with your company.
It captures the emotional element of the customer which plays an essential part for them in making perceptions about your brand. Customers having a positive sentiment about your brand tend to remain loyal and become your repeat customers. Whereas customers with negative sentiments have even more detrimental effects. They not only stop buying from you but also influence others from doing business with you.
Hence, it is not just good to have a customer experience program in your organization. It is a necessity. In a survey at Oracle they found that consumer electronics and technology suffered a potential loss of around 25% because of not having a consistent and relevant customer experience.
Customer Experience in Practice
So how does customer experience play out in an organization which has successfully implemented this strategy? The outcome of that is that their customers love them. Customers are more willing to stay loyal to your brand when they love the way you make them feel.
Every customer must feel privileged while doing business with you. And when you implement CX in every business unit, the overall good experience creates outstanding results in customer retention.
These are few areas where customer experience reflects in practice.
A. Relationship management
Relationship management, when it comes to customer experience, doesn’t remain a responsibility of just a relationship manager. It becomes an overall responsibility of the entire organization to treat customer well. When a customer raises a service issue, the customer rep must have a keen eye on every detail a customer provides. They must be empathetic and a good listener so that they can connect well with the customer.
This is where the role of a strategic communication leader is so crucial. They help to communicate business objectives to employees and educate them to treat their customers well, as well as checking their motivation with pulse surveys.
Customers should not feel that they are talking to an external vendor to get their issues resolved, be it while interacting with a relationship manager, customer success manager or customer service executive. They should feel your customer success manager as someone like their business partner whose sole interest is in helping them succeed.
B. Consistent brand experience
Keeping a consistent brand experience across all channels is one of the widely used CX strategies. Nowadays, you cannot rely solely on your website to interact digitally with your customer. You need to have a presence on social media, channel partners, mobile apps, marketing affiliates, etc., to cover the customers holistically.
But no matter which channel your customer chooses to interact, they should have a consistent experience of your brand. The logo, the color theme, the message, the byline, images, etc. all should have a clear message that represents your brand. And, regardless of the channel used, you should personalize your communication.
The process through which they want to do transactions like purchase, or service calls, must be properly streamlined. Any process that causes unnecessary efforts must be eliminated right from the beginning.
C. Collecting customer feedback
You can never design an outstanding customer experience program until you listen to your customers. Customer feedback plays a vital role in knowing what gaps need to be filled while serving the customers.
It also gives a chance for the customers to vent out any disappointments they have with your brand. It is far better than leaving them on their own to share their feedback in public like social media channels. According to a study, 35% of customers having a bad experience post negative comments about the company on social media. This is quite a dangerous situation to be in.
But if you want to improve upon your business, customer feedback can be very crucial. Some feedback metrics that are commonly used are:
Net promoter score allows you to know how likely a customer would recommend your brand to others. On a scale from 1 to 10, customers respond with what they feel best represents their choice. 10 being most likely and 1 being least likely. A good thing is you don’t need to involve your customer support agents in feedback collection – use automated email campaigns or NPS chatbot.
Customer satisfaction score is often collected after a recent transaction customer had with your brand. It can be a purchase transaction, subscription renewal, or a service call. This often fluctuates but is a good indicator of any improvement needed to generate consistently positive feedback.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer effort score is a measure of effort a customer needs to spend on getting their task done by your brand. It can be anything from resolving a technical issue, finding the self-help article, or finding the product details on your website. The easier you get their jobs done, the better experience you produce for them.
Customer Experience for SaaS – Wrapping Up
Customer experience is not a new concept. It has existed since the very beginning. However, with the advent of technology it has only evolved into a new form. You have to think far beyond the physical interactions you are having with your customers. Customer Success of your SaaS customers is no doubt vital, that is, the customer should definitely achieve their desired result from your product. But how you are helping them achieve is equally important.
The reason they choose you over your competitors must always be justified through outstanding experience you give to them. The design and performance of your product is also an important factor. Simply because the customer would finally be spending most time with your product. Hence product experience is also an important form of customer experience when it comes to digital products.
No matter which industry you come from, how tech-savvy your customers are, a great customer experience is a competitive advantage you can always have.