Archive for the ‘Customer Insights’ Category

8 Barriers to SaaS Customer Engagement

Monday, August 8th, 2016

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What stops customers from engaging with your SaaS?

If you have potential customers who come to your website and show interest in your product but don’t actually make the leap from prospect to full-fledged customer, it may be due to one of the following reasons:

Here’s a list of best practices for crafting a strong call to action. Subscribe to receive this extra resource.

They Don’t Have the Financial Resources

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One of the main reasons people do not purchase from you is because they simply don’t have the money to do so.

Is your product priced out of their budget?

While I’m not a big fan of competing with other businesses on price, I do think that you should understand who your target customer is and know exactly how much they’re willing to spend. That way you can create a price list that makes sense for your market.

This is the reason multiple tiers are such a popular payment model for Saas.

Without a doubt, you should offer different prices to the different groups of customers you have. If you haven’t already, look for ways to do just that.

But please remember that price automatically communicates value. The higher the price, the more value people will associate with it. While you should always make your price fit within your target customer’s budget, don’t strive to be the lowest offer.

They Don’t Have the Time

Is your SaaS complicated to learn or in some way time consuming?

While your customers may be excited to use your product initially, they can quickly become overwhelmed if there are a lot of moving parts. Plus there’s simply not enough time to learn. Your customers—just like you—are strapped for time. For this reason, many a free trial goes wasted.

The best way to combat this is by making an onboarding process that guides the user at a steady pace. It may make sense to automatically involve the user in an email series that is dispensed over the course of the trial and shows how to use your product.

They Don’t Trust You

I hate to break it to you but sometimes people stop engaging because they just don’t trust you.

The good news is that you can use basic visual elements to develop trust.

For example let’s take a look at your website design:

  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Does it look good on mobile screens? (Most people are searching the Internet from their smartphones these days.)
  • Do you have social proof in the form of customer testimonials or logos of businesses that use your service?
  • Do you have easy access to frequently asked questions or a knowledge base?
  • Do you offer security certificates for credit card logos or even a 100% money back guarantee?

All of these things will help your customer trust you with their credit card.

Transparency also makes a difference. Some customers are interested to know where exactly the money goes when they pay you. The folks at Buffer have a completely transparent payment model. Buffer customers get to see exactly where their $10 per month goes. Check it out here: Buffer’s transparent pricing.

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Image Courtesy of Buffer

They Don’t Understand Your Product

Sometimes people simply do not understand how to use your product. They may think they know but once they get into the dashboard, they find themselves confused, bewildered, and maybe a little scared.

You don’t want that, they don’t want that, and luckily, there’s an easy solution out of that.

It’s called an email course.

I’m really surprised at the number of SaaS that do not offer an onboarding process via email.

I mentioned earlier that an onboarding email series can save time for your user. That’s the side benefit, but the main benefit is that it helps your user understand how to use your product to the fullest.

Don’t skip this step. It will help your customers feel empowered. It will also make them more likely to use your product when they know what the heck they’re actually doing.

They Don’t Know How You’re Different From Your Competition

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Maybe your customer gets your service, but what they don’t get is how you’re different or better than your chief competitor, Widgets R Us.

It’s your job to educate them.

Many smart SaaS create comparison pages right on their website. They may even create a separate mini site, such as www.comparingwidgets.com (I made that up just for this discussion) where they highlight the top brands, obviously skewing to their own brand as the best choice.

Of course you don’t want to do a hatchet job on your competition. It’s not about tearing down the competition, it’s explaining how you are unique and what you offer that your competitors may not.

They Don’t Know if Your Product Is Customizable

A lot of new customers want the option to customize your SaaS for their own business or purposes.

Adaptability is huge. Do you offer the ability to customize your service? If you do, make it a clear selling proposition on your landing page. Also make it a part of your onboarding process.

They Need to Test You Out

If you have a SaaS and you don’t offer a free trial you may be losing out. Come on, offer a free trial—all the cool kids are doing it.

Free trials help you introduce your service without risk. That lowers the barrier of entry for your customers.

Plus, it gives you something extra special: it gets people on your mailing list which you can then use to sell to them.

Demos are extremely important for any SaaS.

However, don’t let your trial linger too long. Depending on your service, 15 days offers enough time for your customers to sample your service.

They Don’t Know What to Do Next

If you have followed my advice, you’ve already inserted the trial user into an automated email course. When the trial is almost over, it’s time to show the users how to transition from trial to premium.

This is where a strong call to action makes the dream work. Be sure you that you guide them to their next step—don’t assume they’ll know what to do.

Speaking of which, don’t miss our downloadable resource on how to craft a compelling call to action that you can find below:

Here’s a list of best practices for crafting a strong call to action. Subscribe to receive this extra resource.

5 Strategies For Getting Customer Upgrades

Monday, June 13th, 2016

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Your SaaS probably spends a lot of time trying to get new sign-ups, right? Obviously getting people through the door is an important activity, but even more important is what happens once you have them there.

Do you have robust strategies for encouraging your customers to upgrade?

If you’re not getting the upgrades, you’re probably spending a lot of money to see people either exit, or linger on your freemium tier.

It makes sense to do what you can to boost the lifetime value of the customer and ensure you keep them around for longer. After all, it costs much more to acquire a new customer than to hang on to the old ones.

So what can you do? We’ve got a few strategies to help encourage those customer upgrades.

Find out what other SaaS are doing to get upgrades. Grab our tipsheet here.

#1. Master The “Soft Sell”

“Buy our product” hardly ever works unless you’re selling ice cream in a heatwave. This is where the “soft sell” comes in. If you’ve successfully got people signed up to your free trial or freemium tier, the next step is to ensure activation happens.

Activation means that they’ve started to use your software and to realize value from it. It means you’re being proactive about customer success and ensuring that new signups get through key milestones in order to see that all-important value.

Why? Because the soft sell means that customers know and love your product first, even before it’s time to upgrade.

Dropbox is often used as an example, mainly because they are a SaaS who do the soft sell so well. There is no immediate insistence for an upgrade, though most new users will quickly find that they need more space.

Instead, Dropbox has provided users with several ways to earn free space, including “take a tour of Dropbox” – a genius way to ensure new customers know where everything is and how it works.

One of the best ways to work on that soft sell is to ensure that new signups actually are using your product and know how to do so to achieve what they’re looking for. The idea is that you want to quickly become indispensable to them, so that upgrading is simply a natural next step for them.

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#2. Track Usage

When is the perfect time to ask users to upgrade? Of course the answer is going to vary between SaaS, but tracking usage will provide you with a better idea of the optimum time to ask.

Say your product has some kind of built-in limit (for example, Buffer allows ten scheduled social media posts on their free plan). If you are monitoring usage and note that the customer is reaching limits of your free trial or freemium plan, that would be a good time to trigger an email which asks for the upgrade.

You could also trigger emails based on usage – where features which are only available with an upgrade are the logical next step for the customer. Using Buffer again as an example, their analytics tracking is not available on the free or tier two (“Awesome”) plans. Yet for someone who is using them a lot to schedule social media posts for business, analytics may be the next most logical step to ensure they’re optimizing their social media posts.

Tracking usage is about being relevant to the customer. Sure, you could blanket email everyone who is sitting on a certain level and ask for an upgrade. But, segmenting your audience so that only highly relevant messages are sent is going to be much more effective.

#3. Improve Your Activation Funnel

This is about looking at your activation funnel holistically – are there any speed-bumps which need smoothing out? According to Intercom, 40 – 60% of users who sign up for a free trial with your SaaS will use the software once, then never come back. Ouch.

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Source: Intercom

Obviously, you’re never going to get the upgrade if people haven’t activated (AKA seen some value from your product) in the first place.

One method suggested by Kissmetrics to improve your activation funnel is to actually map out what your ideal customer flow looks like. This way, you can very quickly identify any signups who are off-track and reach out to offer assistance.

For example, here’s a flow Kissmetrics mentions for Airbrake:

  1. Signs up for Airbrake.
  2. Indicates which programming language they use.
  3. Installs and deploys a few lines of code in their app.
  4. Captures their first error.
  5. Marks their first error as resolved in their dashboard.

Once you’ve mapped out what your ideal flow looks like, you can also easily identify if there is any particular step where people are falling off. This is where you will want to investigate why – is there something “difficult” about the way it’s set up? Smoothing the activation journey will boost your odds of the customer seeing value and wanting your upgrade.

#4. Pricing Model

Pricing is often a painstaking thought process for SaaS. You don’t want to go so low that you lower the perceived value of your product, but you don’t want to price your ideal customers out at the same time.

When it comes to getting upgrades, the key is to be able to intelligently align user experience with your pricing. What extra features are people willing to pay for? How significantly is their experienced improved by moving to a paid tier?

As Lincoln Murphy points out, pricing really needs to be heavily tied in with value. What your competitors charge may be a consideration, but it shouldn’t be your main consideration. Assuming that you’ve built something which uniquely solves a problem better than others, the value you deliver to customers should be the main pricing consideration.

#5. Features To Encourage Upgrades

Of course features are heavily tied with pricing and with the likelihood that the customer will upgrade. There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to upgrades and SaaS features:

  • You could give them full access to your product on a limited-time free trial. Do your best to ensure that customers fully utilize the free trial and understand and use the various features available to them. Your aim is to have become indispensable to them by the end of the trial so that they are compelled to upgrade.
  • You could limit core functionality at the freemium level. For example, Dropbox limits storage space and Buffer limits the number of social media accounts connected as well as the number of posts which can be scheduled at once. Again, the aim is to give customers enough of a taste of your product features that they simply must upgrade to get unlimited (or less limited) access.
  • You could keep some features specifically for tier upgrades. This is one to be careful about, because how will the customer understand the value of the withheld features? If you take this option, you’re going to need very clear, accessible education options to let customers know (emails, videos, etc.). You’re also going to need to have tested and clearly understood which feature upgrades will be of value to customers, otherwise people will simply remain on the next tier down.
Find out what other SaaS are doing to get upgrades. Grab our tipsheet here.

Final Thoughts

Getting the customer to upgrade is usually the ultimate goal of a SaaS. Hopefully, once they’ve upgraded, you have a devoted user and have increased average customer lifetime value.

There are a number of ways you could encourage customers to upgrade, but one of the critical steps is ensuring that they see value from your product first. People don’t tend to impulse buy a SaaS product – they need to see themselves achieving some kind of goals from them.

Look at your pricing model and features, improve your activation funnel, and track usage so that you can send timely, relevant offers. It is often the “soft sell” which will achieve the upgrade.

How To Position Your SaaS To Attract Clients

Monday, March 21st, 2016

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How well has your SaaS assumed a position?

Are you attracting the clients you’d like and developing your own, unique audience?

Positioning is something that is often overlooked by SaaS brands, yet it is one of the most significant activities for any kind of product marketing. If you want people to pay attention and make the move to sign up with you, staking out your own unique piece of SaaS-land in an increasingly crowded market is vital.

What can you do to position your SaaS for attracting more clients? We’ve got a few ideas.

Who is doing a good job of positioning their SaaS? Grab our free guide here!

What Is Positioning?

John Peltier puts the answer to this question nice and succinctly:

“Positioning refers to the tactics used to establish a place in the mind of your prospects about what your product is, and how it fits into the world of products they’re already familiar with.  To be heard, much less remembered, you need that place to be unique.”

Ryan Battles suggests that in SaaS, unique positioning can be identified in the answers to the following questions:

  • Who is this product for? Is it for me?
  • What does this product do?
  • Why is this product helpful?
  • Why should I pay X for it?
  • When would I use this product?
  • How is it different from product X?
  • Who else is using this product?

So positioning is about branding a concept that is bigger than simply marketing because whereas marketing is largely tactical, branding is philosophical and identifies who you really are.

We all know that the SaaS market is becoming increasingly crowded, so clearly marking your own territory is an important reason to get brand positioning right. As Scott Mackin says in this Kompyte piece:

Luckily, for most of your competitors ‘branding’ is what’s happening to their company while they’re too busy adding new features, raising money or “growth-hacking”.

Yep, a relatively scathing indication that most SaaS are not doing well with their positioning, so you’ve got a good chance if you put some focus on it.

Elements of Brand Positioning

Professor David Jobber has identified in his text “Principles and Practices of Marketing” six foundational elements of brand positioning. These are shown in the diagram below, taken from Staffs UK:

brand-positioning

In a crowded SaaS market, it’s about finding that unique space and creating your own category where you are the big fish.

[tweetthis]Brand positioning can be broken into 6 key components: how is your SaaS doing?[/tweetthis]

Why Are You Here?

No, we’re not talking about the deep contemplations of life, though it is about the deeper purpose of your SaaS. In a world where SaaS is now fairly mainstream, why does yours exist?

For most SaaS, you can easily point to a good handful of close competitors who offer a similar product, possibly even with similar pricing, so why are you here too? Importantly, why should your customer choose you over any of your close competitors?

If you’re another “me two” in a sea of “me three’s,” you’ve got a battle on your hands from the start. How are you solving a unique problem in a unique way that is better than the rest? Your brand heritage will play a big part in answering this question.

The “Why” question should also be answered in your value proposition—a short statement (usually ten words or less) that captures the overall value of your SaaS for customers. This should be prominent and memorable; for example, check out Evernote:

evernote

What’s Your Brand Personality?

If given multiple similar choices, people will tend to gravitate toward one that has a voice or personality that they resonate with. This means that bland and boring is unlikely to grow your SaaS.

AVC puts this well when they talk about “minimum viable personality”; their illustration is especially relevant to any SaaS competing in a crowded category:

brand-personality

Slack is a good example of brand voice in a SaaS category where there are a number of competitors. They’ve created an app that draws people in by having a slightly quirky, offbeat humor, kind of like the office joker you might find in a physical work environment. Every time you log into Slack, your “robot friend” offers you some random piece of advice or pithy observation.

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What Are Your Values?

Values are another key basis of brand positioning and can be a way in which you are unique among your competitors. Your values should be sacred to your company in that they form the basis of everything that you do. They are lived out every day.

AVC further points out that values are part of having a “minimum viable personality.” They suggest that you answer these three questions for your business:

  1. How will you change your customer’s life? (This is part of your “why,” too.)
  2. What do you stand for?
  3. Who or what do you hate?

Answering these questions establishes a basis for values and voice (and even gives you an enemy).

What About Brand Reflection?

Brand reflection is how your brand relates to the self-identity of your customers. How do they feel as users of your product? How do they perceive themselves or feel that others perceive them?

Apple is a great example in technology. The Apple brand reflection tends to be one of personal enhancement, connectedness, tech-savvy and a kind of creative-cool. Owning Apple products often tends to be perceived with some level of prestige.

This is reflected in their brand assets (another basis for positioning), with clean imagery, simple copy and contemporary fonts and color schemes.

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In general, your brand reflection should bring up positive feelings for the client. By using your service, they are only going with the best, or they will be seen as the most savvy.

Your Brand Domain

Brand domain is simply where you compete in the market. Who are your target customers? If you haven’t done a detailed analysis yet identifying your target clients, you probably missed SaaS 101, because doing so allows your messaging to be much more targeted and appropriate.

Segment your target market and develop very clear customer personas, including demographic, psychographic or geographic information. Yes, this has been talked about a lot in the last couple of years, particularly with reference to content marketing, but it is still an opportunity for you to do a better job of it than competitors.

Some will have done a good job of narrowing their target market, some will still be just a bit too broad, while others haven’t narrowed their personas at all. The significance of this is in how you will build a real connection with customers so that your brand feels like a natural fit to them. The deeper you can dig to produce an accurate persona, the easier it is to find the stories and messages that will appeal to them.

Who is doing a good job of positioning their SaaS? Grab our free guide here.

Final Thoughts

How your SaaS is positioned should be something that you work on, not just before you launch, but consistently throughout every phase of your business.

Positioning is what makes you stand out. It’s the difference between being the person who ran for president and won, and that guy who came second (who was he again?). The idea is that you want to occupy your own piece of territory that is clearly marked out from others.

Positioning well means working on the fundamental elements of personality, reflection, heritage, values, domain and assets. Everything you do should have consistent messaging that is reflective of those things.

Carve out your own unique space and you will soon find yourself with your own unique customers.

Why Investing In Customer Success Will Boost Your Bottom Line

Monday, March 7th, 2016

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In the last few years, “customer success” has been a term often discussed in relation to SaaS. With so much competition in the SaaS space, the idea is that if your customers aren’t successful, your SaaS is at risk of not lasting long…

So what is customer success and what can your SaaS be doing about it? Let’s take a look…

What Is Customer Success?

“The foundation of Customer Success is based on increasing customer adoption of your product, driving retention and mitigating churn. Said another way, Customer Success is about getting customers to use your product with a smile on their faces.” Bluenose

Lincoln Murphy has described customer success as something that should be the driving purpose behind your SaaS. If not, what is the point really? That second ‘s’ in the term SaaS implies that service is a given—customer success is an important piece of that service.

Put simply, customer success happens when your customers achieve the outcomes they were looking for through their interactions with your SaaS. This means that customer success is not “one size fits all”; it will very much depend on the goals of the individual client.

The Difference Between Customer Success & Customer Happiness

Customer happiness is more about sentiment than success. It is definitely possible to have a customer who is happy overall, but is not achieving success with their own desired outcomes. As Lincoln Murphy further points out, sometimes your most successful customers are in fact your most demanding, and these ones never seem to be happy.

[tweetthis]Customer happiness measures are more about sentiment than customer success.[/tweetthis]

The Difference Between Customer Success & Customer Support

Many SaaS are implementing teams for customer success, but what is the difference between this and customer support? The answer lies in the timing of the interaction with the customer; customer support exists in reactive mode where they are taking action because the customer has contacted them with a problem. Their job is to resolve these problems as quickly as possible.

Customer success teams have a more proactive role. Their role is about fostering engagement between themselves and the client, and the client and the product. They want to ensure that the customer derives meaningful value from the product. This means there is more longevity in the relationship between customer success and the customers.

Why Is Customer Success Important?

In short, without customer success, you are very unlikely to have a successful SaaS. The goals of the customer will vary, but your SaaS is always selling something predicated on the idea that your service will somehow make something that they do easier, more complete or more something.

At a base level, the customer should be achieving those “more somethings,” but there are other things that affect overall success too. Each interaction the customer has with your SaaS needs to add to the equation that results in their desired outcomes. So if they can achieve some outcome, but the interface on the software was difficult or they had an unpleasant customer service experience, then their outcome will be less than what they desired.

Do you want to encourage upsells or cross-sells in your SaaS? As Bluenose states, customer success is often at the tip of the spear when looking to land that vital business and grow your revenue per customer. If you can’t meet their desired outcomes at the entry level, why would they feel encouraged to upgrade?

So, customer success is important because it is about not only decreasing churn, but creating an environment which increases your revenue per customer.

How do you measure customer success strategies? Grab our free tips here.

Customer Success Strategy

Customer success strategy always needs to start with a clear view of your customer personas. Who are your target customers? What do they do? What are their challenges? What are their goals?

When you have built a clear picture of who your customers are, you will have a better idea of their desired outcomes for using your SaaS. (If you want to really learn more about their desired outcomes, just ask them. Most will be happy to tell you what they’re looking for).

Customer Success Milestones

Customer success milestones are about the steps involved for the customer to achieve their desired outcome/s from using your product. If you know what those outcomes are, you are able to map out a journey in terms of success milestones the customer must reach to get there.

As Lincoln Murphy says, success milestones can be both product- and customer-centric, and it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

Product or functional milestones tend to be centered around the desires of your business, and occur inside the product. These could be things like signing up for a free trial, using certain features of the product, and signing up for the first tier paid option.

Customer-centric milestones may include some of those product milestones where they make use of the features, but they also include events that lead to the customer achieving their desired outcomes. For example, if you sell software to set up an ecommerce store, “make first sale” could be a customer-centric milestone which happens after they have been through the steps, using your features to set up their store.

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Source: Sixteen Ventures

Gaps

Can you identify any gaps that potentially exist between the customer achieving their desired outcome and the milestones they need to hit to get there? How you overcome these gaps can be a key point of difference between you and your competitors.

In short, if a customer has used features of your product (for example, they have initiated a cart abandonment email sequence using your software), what happens if they don’t see a result from doing so? Could the gap lie in the content of the emails they are sending out?

Education is often the best way to mitigate any gaps in the customer success journey. So a big part of your customer success strategy should lie in not only helping the client to use your product, but to understand any best practices for doing so.

If we follow on with the cart abandonment email sequence example, you should then be putting out content that clearly explains how to create an email sequence that will get opened and get results. What types of subject lines should people use? What should they include in the email? Is timing an issue?

Besides putting out content, part of assisting customers to reach their goals could be in getting on the phone to check in on them and just ask if there’s anything they need help with. It may not be doable to call every customer, but if you can at least talk to a fair sample, you should be able to get good feedback which you can use to improve the content you put out and improve the customer journey.

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Source: Sixteen Ventures

Your Bottom Line

Every SaaS is concerned about churn. Most also want ways of increasing the revenue per customer that comes into the business, so that churn can be mitigated in ways other than achieving higher growth.

It costs money to obtain a new customer so it’s simply not sustainable to rely on bringing in new customers as your only strategy. Customer success helps by engaging the customer long before leaving may have crossed their mind. It promotes their good feelings and good will towards your company and encourages them to make the logical step to upgrade.

Besides keeping your current customers, investing in customer success can help your growth because those successful customers then refer their friends. Many big players online will say they get 80% of their new customers from their old ones.

It will take some investment on your part. You need to either add customer success to the duties of current team members or hire on people with the express duties of a customer success team. You may also need to invest in content creation that helps to bridge any gaps between your product and the success of the customer.

In the end though, you need your customers to be successful if your SaaS is also to succeed, so an investment in customer success can be an invaluable boost to your bottom line.

How do you measure customer success strategies? Grab our free tips here.

Final Thoughts

Customer success is about ensuring that your SaaS customers achieve their desired outcomes from your SaaS, and understanding that these will be as different as the differing personas of your clients.

To put a successful strategy in place, you need to clearly know who your customers are, know their goals and help them to get past any gaps that exist between implementing your product and achieving their goals.

With customer success at the heart of your business, you can reduce churn, increase the uptake of upgrades and boost your bottom line.

Know The Warning Signs That You’re Losing The Customer (And What To Do About It)

Monday, January 25th, 2016

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One of the best things about SaaS business models is the ability to predict monthly income with reasonable accuracy. Subscription software businesses are great for producing reliable income without storing inventory or purchasing stock, but it’s up to you to ensure those subscriptions remain reliable.

Churn is the big SaaS killer, and if you don’t proactively look for and manage signs that a customer is about to leave, you are missing valuable opportunities to keep churn to a minimum.

What should you be monitoring? Here are some of the common warning signs, and what to do about them:

Changes In Pattern Of Use

Clients who log in like clockwork and display regular patterns of use aren’t likely to leave. It is when their levels of activity drop off that alarm bells should be sounding.

As Intercom points out; “Activity churn is where the rubber hits the road. Typical Churn stats use account cancellations as a measurement but cancellation is only ever a trailing indicator. It’s the last thing that happens.”

Customers don’t usually stop using your app all of a sudden and cancel their accounts – there tends to be a decrease in activity over time, which leads to the “danger zone” before cancellation.

activity-churn

Image source: Intercom

When a customer realizes they’re paying monthly subscription fees without getting use from the product, cancellation is highly likely.

Develop an effective complaints process; get our free guide here

What to do about it

User activity is something you should be monitoring so that you can intervene early and try to re-engage them. You could call customers if you have the capacity, but one of the easiest strategies is to send out a series of re-engagement emails.

The idea is to demonstrate to those customers why your product will provide them with value that they need. Different calls to action will appeal to different customers, so you may want to try segmenting your audience based on the emails they show interest in. This way you can take a targeted approach to offering further education or incentives.

You should also examine the steps you have in place already to keep people engaged. Do you need to communicate more regularly? Could you be producing more educational materials, FAQs or even a content library? Give your clients every opportunity to remain engaged in the first place.

[tweetthis]Churn is the last thing happens: monitor activity levels first and be proactive about engagement.[/tweetthis]

Payment Method Is Expiring

Credit card expiry is a very common reason for SaaS churn. On average, credit cards expire every three years, which means that around 2.8% of your customers will have an expiring credit card this year.

Not only do credit cards expire, but there are a number of other reasons that a payment might not be processed. Some of these include fraud alerts, billing address changes, balance limits and the remarkable 30% of failed transactions that are simply due to a computer error.

What to do about it

You can’t predict every possible credit card issue, but you can be prepared for them. Credit card expiry is best dealt with prior to the card actually expiring and the transaction being declined. This is where a dunning and pre-dunning service such as Stunning is your best friend.

Taking care of credit card payment issues is actually simple if you have a system in place. A service which takes care of pre-dunning and dunning will send out emails based on any number of events of your choosing. For example, the expiry of a trial period, reminders to update billing information ahead of card expiry, and dunning emails when a transaction has been declined.

We like this kind of system because it is automated and doesn’t require a huge amount of effort from the SaaS once it is all set up. You could actively monitor your payment system yourself, but that would take away from time spent building engagement and growing your business.

Whatever method you choose, being proactive about credit card issues is a quick win. If you stay on top of this, you should see an impact on churn rates.

Negative Sentiment

Sometimes customers leave without saying a word, but many others practically put up a billboard announcing why they are leaving. If you’re seeing complaints come in, negative comments on social media or even queries as to why your SaaS doesn’t do something that the customer initially thought you did, then you need to take action to address the feedback.

Negative sentiment may not even be expressed directly; you might notice that a client has visited your cancellation page, possibly indicating that they’re looking at leaving. Another warning sign is that they’re downloading or deleting data where you have a storage system.

A business that doesn’t listen to customers doesn’t tend to be one which stays in business, so you need an effective complaints process which lets customers know they are being heard.

Develop an effective complaints process – get our free guide here

What to do about it

A happy customer derives clear value from you and helps grow your business. We’ve tackled simple ways to keep your customers happy before, including finding ways to delight your customers and encourage communication with you.

If your product is great and does what it’s meant to do, negative sentiment is often a result of poor communication or a perception that the customer is not listened to. For this reason, you should always look for feedback and show that you listen to your customers.

Satisfaction surveys are proactive and allow you to keep a finger on the pulse before receiving complaints. People do tend to be suffering from “survey fatigue” though, so we recommend that you keep them straightforward and don’t overuse them. Be open with clients and show that your surveys are worth their effort. You could do this by communicating any changes that you are making “as a result of your feedback.”

Your onboarding process plays an important role in whether customers stick around. You should be setting expectations right from the beginning and showing clients exactly how to get value from your app. This is a vital part of the communication piece, as failing to meet expectations is a common complaint.

If a customer has visited your cancellation page, consider reaching out to them directly. It could have been an accident (especially if their usage is normal), but if it was an indication that they’re interested in cancelling, now might be the time to seek feedback. The same goes if they’ve been downloading or deleting data. It may just be that they’re backing up important files or deleting obsolete ones, but it could be that they’re preparing to leave.

Another important strategy is to use software to monitor events and sentiments which indicate that the customer is unhappy. This is specifically why we built Retained, so that SaaS can monitor insights which indicate how likely a customer is to churn.

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Your Own Processes Are Cumbersome

We all like things that are easy. How easy are your processes for your customers? This directly relates to the feedback you should be asking for from the last section, but you should also know where any of your sticking points are before asking customers about them.

What to do about it

UX testing is one thing, but you should also be a user yourself. Look for any of the typical things that your customer needs to do (functions of your app, updating payment or account details, asking a question…), be aware of any cumbersome processes and rectify them early.

Getting help is a big one in this regard. Customers don’t want to have to repeat themselves to multiple people or wait an excessive amount of time for a response. You should also look out for anything that is not easy to find. Your processes should be as intuitive as possible, and customers should not need to spend a long time clicking around.

Don’t Leave Anything To Chance…

Reducing SaaS churn involves knowing the warning signs that you are about to lose the customer and proactively managing them.

Monitor customer activity and look for ways to keep them engaged. Stay on top of payments and show customers that you are prepared to listen to and act on feedback.

While growth activities traditionally take up a lot of time in any SaaS, retention strategies should be just as important. It’s much easier to hang on to current customers than bring in new ones.