Software as a Service (SaaS) is a desirable business model, worth millions for the companies who have created solutions for home and the workplace. However, even for the most successful, customer engagement is a constant consideration.
There are two customer groups to consider: those you already have and those you want. Within your existing customers, there will be those with various levels of investment in your product.
To build customer engagement you need to treat everyone as valued. Do not be afraid that reminding customers you exist will also remind them to cancel a subscription. The changes you make to your business will be how you win those who are tempted to leave and those unsure if your SaaS model is right for them.
1. If a price increases, explain why
Preferably, a price increase should not affect customers who are already signed up to your service. If they can be spared the extra cost, even short-term, it shows that you value your clients. In the event of an increase needing to affect everyone, focus on the positives of your SaaS solutions.
This is a matter of marketing; You provide a well managed service but sometimes expenses rise beyond your control. Perhaps there is an improvement to data security, cloud services or you invested in human resources. You want customers to forgive the inconvenience because they see how it is necessary.
The features of a product must be properly sold to potential customers - that price increase may impact their budget more than you think. Many SaaS applications allow for businesses to run more efficiently and the long-term cost saving is what people need to know about.
2. Reward loyalty
If you cannot realistically exclude customers from a price rise, is there something else you could do to reward loyalty? If you offer a tiered pricing system, you may be able to offer existing customers the premium service at a reduced rate.
Your finances are calculated by how many subscribers are attached to each pricing tier. If your lowest tier attracts considerably more users, can you offer your highest system at a reduced rate to people who have paid into your business for over a year?
Offering reduced rates is not always possible, it may not be a simple matter of software licensing and traditional software which would be relatively inexpensive on your end. If providing the service costs you, thoroughly balance the numbers. An Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) business is more likely to feel the cost of offering more services, as running cloud computing and data centers adds up.
3. Add testimonials
The advantages of online reviews are often overlooked. They are all too easy to dismiss but research shows potential customers do read them. Research shows 91% of 18-34 year olds put as much faith into online reviews as they do when something is personally recommended to them.
Testimonials act as a more professional version. They are more structured than reviews and subject to your editing. Editing should not be used as a fix-all tool for when things are not complimentary enough but does allow you to be to-the-point.
Testimonials from recognizable businesses add credibility and desirability. You are clearly trustworthy and provide a high-quality service if a major company subscribes.
4. Keep customers updated on your business
You do not want to stay out of touch with your customer base because the loyal among them will feel undervalued. Those using your service need to know what will affect them. Are there changes coming? Provide your subscribers with that insider information.
You can build anticipation in the run-up to launch. Be wary not to overload people with information and spam their inboxes. If your service is computer software, add an information box reminding users of the upcoming updates.
5. Be personal
If we use email marketing as an example, this does not mean writing out every email specifically for each customer. However, there are ways to make your customer feel spoken to without doing so directly.
There are programs to add names to emails, instantly showing a customer they are recognized as a person not just a wallet. Beyond that, create a profile of what your typical customer is like. Structure language around them. You already know they need your service, does that give insight into their work and lifestyle?
Using names and the appropriate language is not something limited to emailing, it can feature in all communications and on your service. Your service itself should cater towards its users.
6. Understand your audience
Adding new features and subscriptions to your service may seem like the best idea for your business but consider everything thoroughly. Do your customers need or even want what you are going to offer them?
Whatever you want to do will cost money and finances may be reliant on the funds being reimbursed by subscriptions quickly. Investing badly in your own business will impact the customers you already have and the ones you are hoping to get.
A great idea is only great if it fills a gap. Customer surveys can establish if there is a demand for a new development.
7. Improve Your SEO
Customers still have to find you and you are likely to face competition from other SaaS vendors. Whether your service is web based or cloud based services, you should have a site which is easy to find on a web browser.
If you prefer to keep your website text-lite, Google Ads are an opportunity to reach specific audiences and demographics. However, this may not be a good solution for those who are concerned about their finances. Google Ads takes payment for clicks to your site even if it does not result in a conversion.
8. Offer a free trial
This is an option for enticing customers rather than appealing to existing ones. However, it would be short-sighted for most companies to not offer this option. It is so commonplace within the digital market that to not include it would be instantly off-putting.
How you operate your free trial depends on the customers you are trying to attract. If you are looking to sign up as many people as possible and offer a more affordable product, a free trial without adding a credit card may suit you better. If you offer a more expensive service, your target audience is more willing and expectant of spending money and a credit card payment is less likely to inhibit you.
9. Improve your customer service
We all know customer service is important but it is still often dismissed. Neglecting customer service does not only mean you are risking negative reviews but potentially increases to your revenue.
Studies have found that consumers are willing to spend more with companies who respond effectively. In the short-term this is not something to win over new customers but does work to improve the reputation of your business.
To improve your service, you can invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which uses data to optimize the customer experience.
Need help building a Software as a Service platform? We can help. We have previous examples of our work available to view.