Best strategies to create loyal customers for SaaS
The importance of customer loyalty can really be summed up in the cost difference between keeping and earning loyal customers: it costs 5x more to keep a customer than it does to gain a new one. If customer priority is not a focus, it’s going to cost you. For Saas companies, this is even more important because your bread and butter is MRR. MRR is your monthly recurring revenue, or how much subscribed customers bring in consistently month over month. Your whole profit model really relies on you keeping your customers engaged and subscribed to your paid plans month over month.
This is easier said than done. Customer loyalty is deeply rooted in building strong relationships and positive connotations and experiences which can be difficult to apply to a completely online forum.
Here are some ways top SaaS companies create loyal customers:
Include them in the evolution of your product or service:
As your product grows and changes, it’s important to keep customers in the loop on how you are updating and changing it to meet their needs. When customers see that your team is working hard to make improvements frequently and your product is not just stagnant, they are more engaged. Customers are loyal to teams that work hard for them. Communicating this effectively is necessary or customers will miss updates and improvements. Sending emails is not as effective as it used to be with open and click through rates for company emails so low. Communicating product changes and developments in context, within your product where users are most likely to engage is best. Beamer is great for this. Beamer is an in-app or site newsfeed that flawlessly blends into you interface where you can post announcements for new updates, features, news, etc. for you customers. Customers just have to click a “What’s New” tab or icon in your interface to open up the sidebar with chronological updates. You can add photos, videos, GIFs, links, etc. to make them more engaging. Customers can comment and share a reaction like a social feed for a bridge of communication with customers. Your team can segment Beamer updates so customers get the most relevant updates, increasing engagement. With updates so close and intuitive, customers never miss what improvements your team has made.
Have clear and consistent lines of communication:
Building strong relationships with customers start with solid communication. Online, it’s hard. You’re not face to face with customers so you need to be explicit and clear in setting up lines of communication with them so they know where and how to connect with you. The more “touch points” of communication the better. For example, some companies have blogs and forums, chatbots, support emails, hotlines, active social pages, dedicated agents for bigger customers, etc. It’s about finding which communication methods you can support and which work best for your customers. Some of the standards that are generally expected from customers are chatbots and email support. How you want to extend communication beyond that is dependant on audience and ability. You also want to make sure you establish clear channels of communication so it’s not confusing for customers as to where they can find information. For example, keep chat bots for sales and support only and use Beamer for company announcements.
Never have human connection too far:
With that being said about consistent and versatile communication, human connection is growing in importance for loyal customers. Make sure your sales and support process is automated and easy but still personal. For example, you can have email templates for direct outreach that are 95% completed but with custom fields to fill in with more personal details like a lead’s role, company name, company and industry details, etc.
Other ways include showing that your team is human and real by sharing team photos, quotes and content from team members, etc. through your blog and social helps create that personal connection as well. Buffer was very successful at this by being very real about the way their team works and what they were up to on their blog and social pages as the company has grown.
Reward your top customers:
This is a given but there are so many ways you can do this that help strengthen your relationships with loyal customers. Rewarding customers who are avid users of your product or service is important because they’re likely to become promoters of your product. For SaaS companies, NPS or Net Promoter Score is important because it lets you know how many of your customers are happy enough with your product to recommend it to other leads like them. Beamer is now offering an NPS tool to help you embed surveys and other ways to measure customer satisfaction right within your product. Peer to peer recommendations is extremely effective in building brand awareness and getting qualified leads. To generate more, rewarding your top customers is a must. Some ways you can reward subscription-based customers is through discounts, credits, early access to new features, priority / faster support and opportunities to upgrade to new subscription levels for less.
Offer options in pricing and features:
Another way to keep users on board is to have focus on value-based pricing so that customers can make your pricing work for them and their needs. Pricing for your customers is about how much they value what you offer and what price they assign to that as acceptable. Value-based pricing focuses on pricing around the qualities that make your product or service valuable over the rest of the market. It’s ideal for SaaS. Value-based pricing requires that you look at your features and competitive differences and that of competitors and price according to what customers are willing to pay for certain functionality and factors. For example, Hubspot’s pricing feel expensive but they know they customers value and can make exponentially more with their tools and features that have been crafted to solve many pain points. And so, people are willing to pay and are happy to do so. Another pricing strategy that makes customers feel they are getting what they value is pricing based on their growth and specific features. If you allow for incremental changes in pricing that grow with customers needs, they feel this is more tailored to them and will stay onboard. It also helps to allow customers to add different features to their plan “a la carte” without having to jump to bigger subscriptions with features they don’t need.
Intercom, for example, offers baseline pricing for each level which then grows based on users and “add-ons” for additional, individual features.
Be transparent as a company:
Customers expect to interact with companies like they’re real people. Being transparent with customers helps build trust and earns their loyalty. For example, if your team experiences problems or makes a mistake, say so outright in your communication with customers. Be transparent about the way you do business. Again, Buffer really broke ground when they decided to share both their remote work structure, their internal organization with all roles defined, and their salaries at each position with their customers. It’s not that it’s important but telling the story and keeping people up to date with what’s happening at your company, even the bad things, helps them feel like they are in the know and can trust your team.
Listen and deliver what they’re asking for before they ask:
Go above and beyond and deliver what customers are going to ask for. This means listening to customer pain points, watching where they experience friction, and being aware of their market and work processes outside of your product so you can continue to make a product that meets their needs, now and in the near future. Some ways of listening to customers are through direct feedback, through in-app surveys and ratings, scanning social for comments, and watching how customers interact with your product and what they use and don’t use. Beamer is a great way to see exactly how your customers feel about your product or service. When you make announcements via Beamer, users can add a reaction and in-content feedback as comments. This can help your team better understand what’s working and what’s not. Staying up to date on market news and changes for your target markets is important too so they you can ensure your solution shifts with demand. A big picture example, Netflix knew their product of DVD delivery was dying so they shifted to a streaming option ahead of the market. A smaller example: Hubspot knew there were plenty of emailing services out there, so they focused on sales personalization and automation and CRM and opened up integrations.
These are all ways to do one thing that really is the key to building customer loyalty: creating and maintaining a product that serves your customers pain points in the best way possible. If you have a focus on this and a personal touch from your team, customer loyalty becomes the effortless byproduct. For a great way to keep customers engaged, try Beamer today.