What customers expect from SaaS companies in 2020
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a huge rise is SaaS companies- with a lot of potential for entrepreneurs to make big money with the allure of virtually no product cost. But as any “boom” story will tell you, just as quickly as the opportunities appear, so does the competition …followed by greater customer expectations.
What customers expect from SaaS companies has shifted dramatically as the way we work, interact, and sell online has also dramatically changed.
What do SaaS companies need to be aware of to meet the customers expectations in 2020? We’ve laid it out.
Gone are the days of developing a software product, releasing it, and simply working on sales and maybe a few bugs. SaaS has become much more competitive than it was even just a few years ago. With more players in the market, there are more options for your customers to jump to readily if your product fails to continue to solve their problems. Additionally, customers’ problems are constantly evolving as well. There are new pain points emerging for your different target customers constantly as their own processes change. This all happens quickly. SaaS products are expected to continually evolve to meet customers needs and SaaS companies are expected to be aware of what the necessary changes are. Customers will quickly begin to look for alternatives and abandon a product if it becomes less beneficial and they feel the product will not evolve.
Listening and communication:
How do SaaS companies know how to evolve? They listen and communicate. Customers expect both. Customers today are actually very willing to be in touch with companies and voice their opinions. Which is great for SaaS companies who need to stay on step ahead in terms of keeping their product valuable and relevant. Customers expect that there are opportunities to share feedback and there is two-way communication – meaning their opinions and suggestions are acknowledged. A company that seems too distant from its users seems out of touch and stagnant. Ways companies can incorporate better communication and feedback collection is through feedback tools that work easily into in-app communication or regular forms of communication like live chat or even push notifications. Beamer provides this. With Beamer, SaaS teams can collect in-app feedback as well as send out push notifications. Additionally, teams can analyze how customers react to updates and gather data on all these forms of listening and feedback on the backend easily.
The future of communicating with customers rests in engaging with them through every possible channel: phone, e-mail, chat, Web, and social networks. Customers are discussing a company’s products and brand in real time. Companies need to join the conversation.
Marc Benioff, Founder and co-CEO of Salesforce
Customers want to see more features that meet their needs appearing on a regular basis. The more they have to leave your product to use other features that should be intuitive, the more likely they are to abandon your product for one that has those features built in or integrated with another tool that does. This requires SaaS companies to analyze what features are most important, incorporate new ones, add integrations frequently, and kill old ones on a constant basis. This also means introducing and ensuring the success of features with customers. Great feature announcements and onboarding is necessary. When you’re constantly adding new features and integrations to keep up and customers don’t know, it’s of no use. In the same way, if you introduce new features but don’t teach customers how to use them, they will no incorporate them and they will not see any value in them. Having a lot of documentation for new features and content around supporting customer success really helps with this. Blog posts about new features, a help center, a resource center for best practices with your product are all great ways to help keep customers engaged and also keeping up with your product. Read more about improving SaaS engagement with product changes.
Beamer is a better way to make new features and update announcements than blogs or a help center. Beamer is a changelog and newsfeed that sits within your app that opens when users click a “What’s New” tab or icon in your interface. Your newsfeed is the perfect place to share new feature updates. You can add photos, videos, GIFs, and links to further documentation and content to your updates. This is much more engaging and users can see how a feature works right away. The best part is it is in your app already so it is more in context than in an email where users will likely read your subject line about your new feature and never take further action. Beamer ensures higher feature engagement and product success.
Despite an overall greater trust in technology, users have a lot of distrust and uncertainty with SaaS companies in particular because of hot issues like data collection, breaches, security, etc. This is particularly true for SaaS companies because businesses rely on security of their tools to ensure the security of customer data a lot of the time. It’s becoming increasingly important that SaaS companies to be quite transparent about how they work, changes to their policy, access to legal and privacy information, and how to company plans to progress or change in related ways. Facebook infamously blew this issue wide open and now after sweeping changes like GDPR have been made to international law, there are heavier expectations on companies. Companies need to be aware of how they handle customers’ and customers’ customers data and be transparent and compliant with that. Curious about data privacy and GDRP compliance for SaaS? Read our quick guide.
Personalization and flexibility:
Users expect solutions beyond just “out-of-the-box” solutions. Previous feature and pricing plan systems no longer fit what a lot of users want from SaaS companies. They want personalized and flexible options that fit their needs and nothing more. Users don’t like paying for features they don’t need or paying for new brackets of resources they won’t use. A lot of companies are allowing to users to go more of an a la carte route in terms of pricing for both users, resources (like storage space, etc.), and specific features. For example, Intercom allows customers to pay as their users increase per month and pay for specific features. Every user gets a customized plan instead of having to choose from a standard package which may not meet what they need at the time. They also expect personalization of your product itself, especially for B2B SaaS. Many companies use several different SaaS tools that are front facing to their customers and they want the experience to be branded and seamless. Users expect to be able to integrate and white label your product a lot of the time and don’t want your branding to interfere with their own user experience – even internally. White labeling and other personalization options are becoming more and more expected.
Intercom sells “add-ons” separately from already flexible pricing.
Even though so much of the sales and sign up process for SaaS happens completely without human interaction, it doesn’t mean that customers don’t want and expect customer service. So many companies tried to go the “automated” route with just about everything that users come in contact with. Now customers just want to be able to reach a real person and know that there are resources and a team who can help them when they need it. Many companies are offering live chat and a help hotline which users are starting to expect from services. Typically, the more they rely on your product, the more support is important to them. Gone are the days of tickets taking weeks to reply to via email. Users no longer consider that acceptable as your product is an integral part of their success.
However, customer service can be really hard for smaller teams to tackle. Small teams normally wear a lot of hats and can’t dedicate hours to a 24 hour customer support system – very few larger companies even can. There are a few ways however to solve this and make sure your customers still feel like they get a valuable level of service. For a “live chat” solution, using a chat with AI-automated answers that direct customers to FAQ docs and pre-answered responses can help save you and customers plenty of time. Having a handy resource and help center on your site with simple, easy to navigate topics and FAQs answered with visual elements like GIFs and videos to give your users more of a “live” explanation is a lot better than a ton of documentation. You can also use your Beamer feed to analyze comments and reactions on updates and your team can respond for two way communication that makes users feel that you are there to help.
As every year with SaaS, 2020 is likely to bring greater competition, faster moving taste and changes, and bigger expectations. The SaaS companies that read them right and respond appropriately will be noticed ahead of competitors and thrive far ahead with less effort. Delivering value always wins. Want to meet and exceed customer expectations and boost engagement? Try Beamer on your site today.