Customer success is an emerging business phenomenon driven by the rapid adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) business applications. We discussed SaaS and the impact it has on achieving customer success at the Pulse 2016 conference in Oakland, California in May. Over 3,000 people globally representing many of the world’s top enterprises and rising startups attended.
As part of the “Nailing the Upsell: How to Execute Expansion Opportunities” session, I, two other panelists and one moderator shared how to realize the full potential of customer bases and to develop strategies and processes that scale and deliver tangible revenue improvements. Philip John, director of customer success at Gainsight, Eric Hutts, vice president of strategic accounts at HOSTING Cloud Computing Services, and Sylive Woolf, director of client service at ClearCompany, and I spoke on how to identify and execute expansion opportunities.
SaaS lowers business costs, reduces IT complexity and frees internal resources for other tasks. These powerful benefits have created tremendous SaaS industry growth, which Gartner expects to reach $201 billion by 2019.
For software companies, however, SaaS has created significant business model challenges. Businesses must work hard to ensure customers renew their services.
Since customers no longer need to make significant upfront investments in applications, and because they can more easily cancel an application service if they aren’t satisfied, customer success and service renewals are as important for SaaS enterprises as selling new accounts. In fact, increasing customer retention rates by only 5 percent can increase profits, in some cases, up to 95 percent.
How do we achieve the high customer success levels that boost retention rates? Some of the strategies discussed at Pulse 2016 include:
- Regularly seeking customer feedback, and effectively responding and adapting to customer suggestions
- Reducing the need for labor-intensive customer support by offering simple self-help documentation and tools
- Aligning your teams and organization toward meeting your customers’ desired outcome
- Investing in an easy-to-use customer success automation platform
What does customer success mean to you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Photo by: Gainsight