Connecting with your customers. The right way.

Personalizing experiences, for the sake of our customers

So, why the big fuss around customer experiences? Why are they so important? Yes, we do know that they are important, but why can’t the product matter? Is it that important the way in which a show makes you feel as opposed to the manner in which it is created? Surely that cannot be the case. Well, hate to break it to you, but it is. It really is. If a $5 pair of shoes makes you feel like you are the king of the world, then you can forget branding, design and everything else. The customer has spoken. Well, in all fairness, in this rather unfortunate example, the price might have spoken a bit as well. Nonetheless, the point here is simple. It is no longer about what the customer has to choose from, but rather what the customer wants. And that’s what he gets. Always.

Now you need to remember that because it is the lesson of the century. Do you know what happens to companies that learn this lesson? They survive. But to those that master the class? They thrive in the online market.

Do your homework, learn your lessons and just like the bigger names in the industry, get creative. Use the information and knowledge you gather in creative, out of the ordinary manners and allow your customers to feel spoiled and really taken care of. Make them feel special. You are allowed a wand, remember? Well, in this case, technology’s your wand, so make the most of it.

Let’s see what SaaS and customer experience share as common ground and if there is something out there that we could use to our advantage.

Personalizing SaaS experiences

You see, there is nothing like an automated search in a vast entertainment network that brings forward options you can actually appreciate. Maybe that’s why Netflix is so popular.

Allowing your customers to personalize their experience might be a bit of an adventure for your coding experts, but it is certainly worth all the trouble in the world. In 2002, a Harvard Study1 informed readers of the power of asking feedback over the perception of customers. A long time ago, true, but still so valid. Customers want to be asked about how they feel about the product/service they are using. It really emphasizes the idea that the product was actually made for them, for their usage, for their comfort. Even though in the end the feedback you receive isn’t exactly one you can use, it still makes a powerful impression. And we are but of a world made of impressions. So, why not use them in your advantage?

However, a word of notice, you might want to act with caution, as you do with everything else. Asking for feedback does not mean actually receiving an answer and you don’t want to push anyone’s buttons to get an answer that in the end might prove to be useless.

Think of your product/service, think of what you can do to customize it a bit and if possible, when making improvements, consider the feedback received from your customers.

Small changes go a long way

When running a SaaS business your platform is everything. It is everything for your customers as well. Making radical changes is not necessarily the best way to approach improvements. As a developer, it is your right and your responsibility to improve your service, to constantly bring forward new features, to make sure that your customers shouldn’t find alternative software better than yours. Still, these improvements shouldn’t come all at once and they shouldn’t be huge. Your customers should notice them, of course, but they should also have enough time to get used to them.

If you go about the improvement issue in a balanced manner, with enough patience and dedication, offering your subscribers sufficient time to cope with the tweaks you made, in time you could have an entirely new interface and your subscribers would be fine with it.

Now, in order to maintain a strong relationship with your customers, you can send them emails about the changes you’ve made. However, put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you got at least one email from a service you are subscribed, saying they’ve changed this and that, elements that don’t make such a difference now, but they might in time? Plus some of them might not even affect you directly. Wouldn’t you feel annoyed about having your inbox full all the time?

Inform your customers when making a radical change or send a monthly email message with an overview of what has changed.

Friends can help

Let’s talk a bit about customer service. After all, this is the place where direct contact with your subscriber appears and this is where big tests take place. In other words, if you cannot handle things accordingly here, you could actually lose a subscriber.

You might be contacted to solve issues which are not your fault. And these are usually handled fast and easy. But what happens when a subscriber reports a problem that is actually your fault? Do you tell your customer sorry? What happened if you are going through a rough time, after making a few changes and unseen issues start appearing? Are you going to apologize every single time?

If you do it once, it’s ok, but if it becomes part of your everyday customer service speech, then you have a problem on your hands. It is difficult for a subscriber to understand that you are going through a batch of changes that might not have the impact you were hoping for. He simply sees you apologizing and automatically thinks that you don’t know what you are doing.

In your discussions with subscribers, try to maintain a balanced attitude, and take the time to explain what the problem is. Offer your apologies when there is a serious issue, but try not to overdo it.

In all your communications with your customers, enforce the idea that they matter the most, that their well-being is your primary concern and that you are there to offer support in all situations.

Proper integrations

What most software developers fail to understand is that the world didn’t start nor will it finish with their product. Your subscribers want software that can easily integrate with other apps, even if you might have similar services. At one point in the eCommerce industry, it was considered that creating an umbrella system and adding your own apps similar to those existing in the market was a good idea. Subscribers, on the other hand, didn’t see things as such.

From one point on, as a subscriber, you get used to a system and comfort might prevent you from switching to a new one. This happens with a lot of apps on the market. Take the following example. You have developed a work platform where freelancers can create most of their projects. Unfortunately, they have to use your apps and some of them might not compare to similar ones that are already highly popular on the market, especially among freelancers. So, the question that follows is this. Are you going to say yes to simple integrations or force your subscribers to give up on you when realizing that they just cannot do with your apps?

The truth is that dedicated apps go a long way and instead of chasing two rabbits at the same time and catching none, you might as well focus on what you do best and accept that some subscribers prefer other apps in certain aspects. Offer them the possibility to integrate their favorite apps easily, without bumping into all sorts of sticky situations. It’s just simpler this way.

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