When SaaS companies look at their metrics dashboards there are charts that show how many sales have been closed, how many potential customers are in the pipeline, and how many customers have recently cancelled. These are easily measureable signals, and this ease of measurement results in companies tending to focus on them above all else.
What’s missing with this focus on the numbers, though, is how happy existing customers are. This may seem like a small thing, but customer happiness is one of the most important things a business should be focused on. If a customer is happy and receiving a lot of value from your service, they’ll likely stick around; if a customer is unhappy and the value isn’t clear, they’ll likely leave.
If you take these two principles and chart them out, you end up with a couple of very predictable business outcomes:
|Happy Customer||Unhappy Customer|
|Clear Value||Growing Business||Stagnant Business|
|Questionable Value||Stagnant Business||Shrinking Business|
To make sure that you stay in the upper-left quadrant, there are a few simple tactics that every business can employ.
How to Make Sure Customers Are Happy
Keep Your Word
When you tell people that you’re going to do something for them, you’d be wise to follow through. This is true on both a personal and business level. The first step towards making sure your customers are happy is by not misleading them with half-truths. Whenever you communicate with your customers and promise them something, you need to follow through on delivering exactly what you promised.
A great example of this is your landing page. When customer first visit your website, they’re likely being greeted with a big, bold promise about how great your service is. Below that, there’s a good chance that you list out the core features and then provide a few testimonials. Not only do you need to make sure that everything you state is true, but you also need to deliver this value as soon after a customer creates an account as possible. If there’s even a whiff of a bait-and-switch, your customer’s happiness will tank.
Delight Your Customers
Every day is a day you can delight your customers. If you think about how your customers typically interact with other companies, it’s likely that they only talk when there’s a problem, when they need to change the status of their account, or when the company is trying to sell them something. The bar is set very low and even the smallest token of free kindness can generate enormous goodwill.
A great example of delighting customers is an open contest for something valuable. You can email a handful of your most dedicated customers and explain that there’s a conference that you have tickets to and that you want to know if they’re interested in them – explain that it’s ‘first come, first serve’ and wait for them to respond enthusiastically. This is a big-ticket example, but there are endless smaller examples like giving a month of free service when there’s a problem with their account. What’s important isn’t that it’s worth a lot of money, but that it’s generous.
Nothing breeds unhappiness and resentment as much as not being able to communicate. When a customer reaches out to discuss an urgent issue and doesn’t receive a response until four days later they’re going to be unhappy – no surprise there! What might surprise you are the long-term impacts that this kind of interaction can have on your customer relationship.
When communication breaks down once, it’s an example of something that shouldn’t be repeated. When communication breaks down consistently, it’s fertile soil for the type of unhappiness that leads to cancellations. If you don’t engage customers when they reach out, they will set their expectations incredibly low. Inevitably, when something goes wrong – as it always does – and even the low expectations aren’t met, your customers will head for the door.
Be Something They Can Count On
There’s so much in life that seems undependable, especially when it comes to what you should spend money on. There are hundreds of companies all promising similar things, and all too often they disappear without providing any real value. This transient business culture may make the occasional founder a quick buck, but if you’re trying to build a business that will stand the test of time you need to ensure people can depend on you.
When people visit your website, they need to be greeted with the same value day after day. When they contact you, they need to know that they’ll get a response. Whenever your service will be down for maintenance, they should know about it ahead of time. These are small steps you can take that will build up trust over time until you reach the point where people know intuitively that they can rely on you regardless of whatever else is happening with their businesses.
You may have started your company a few months ago and seen some immediate success. You reached Product-Market Fit and customers were excited to sign up. Since then, however, you’ve rested on your laurels and let the recurring revenue keep your company afloat with very little effort on your part. There isn’t anything wrong with this on a personal level, but that stagnation will quickly make your customers dissatisfied and unhappy.
This is because even though customers signed up for one big promise, they implicitly expected that you’d be providing more value over time. To deliver this extra value, you need to be updating your services on a constant basis and experimenting with new features. These changes make your service feel more alive and keep your customers excited about the future of working with you.
When you don’t have the chance to interact with customers face-to-face because they’re on the other side of the world, it can be incredibly difficult to know whether or not they’re happy and what you can do about it. However, if your customers are unhappy, they’re at risk of cancellation and you need to do something about it. Fortunately, the simple tactics we outlined above to make sure customers are happy can work for any company.
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