Business survival hinges on your team connecting with customers. Strive to build relationships to bridge your SaaS brand’s values with your target audience.
Research by McKinsey shows just how important customer service is, not just during routine company<>customer interactions, but during ‘moment of truth’ interactions. These are the lost credit cards, cancelled flights, lost data, etc.
Fail during these times when emotions are high for the customer and you’ll lose them. Succeed during these experiences and you’ll have a better chance at retaining them for life. This is why companies cannot leave out the importance of frontline employees having a high emotional intelligence.
The customer experience is one of the pivotal factors that differentiates you from the competition.
“Customer engagement is no longer a series of one-off experiences—it’s an ongoing dialogue. Companies need to be good listeners in the digital age, and that requires a new set of skills,” states Wendy Lea, CEO of Get Satisfaction.
Move your engagement rates upward. Check out these five harsh truths.
1. No Real-Time Customer Support
Reports show that 60% of consumers “want companies to improve access to their support channels by implementing live chat, social media, and communities.”
Customers want help now, not later. And by not offering real-time support, you dismiss the need to get their concerns addressed.
For most SaaS companies, customer support is a resource-intensive department. Team members spend lots of time answering questions on the phone and responding to emails.
However, your business must think differently about customer support. Use it as an engagement tool to understand your customers’ behaviors. Then, connect those behaviors to business goals.
“Knowledge from customer support can also help out sales and marketing teams with their goals. Not only does great customer service keep current customers loyal, it can also inspire word of mouth. This is why companies with very happy customers tend to grow quickly and exponentially,” writes Ash Read, co-founder of PostReach.
And your real-time customer support doesn’t have to be available 24/7. Nike sets specific days and time for its live chat.
Smaller teams also may want to invest in chatbots. Bots can quickly answer consumers’ requests, like: Where can I buy product X? or Do you have any promotions?
Start engaging by providing outstanding customer support. Earn your customer’s attention.
2. Missing In-App Product Tutorials
Education is essential in the SaaS industry. It’s important to train your customers how to use your products effectively.
Continually teach consumers how to reap benefits from your products. Ongoing instruction will keep them engaged.
Examine your product usage data and customer support tickets. Learn how your consumers normally use your product. And discover new ways to bring more value to them.
Most customers get stuck using your product the same way. Teach them a shortcut. Or show buyers how to save time.
Be mindful of how you teach your customers. In-app product tutorials are one of the best formats to execute.
The user doesn’t have to leave your application to learn. Plus, the person can actually apply their knowledge as they learn.
CoSchedule offers training lessons within its software. The videos are easy to access and don’t distract the user.
People learn differently. So, make sure your team creates multiple forms of educational content.
“Learning experiences can be presented in a number of ways, leveraging mixed media, video, social sharing such as galleries and discussions and even subject-matter expert feedback. Not only do brands benefit from this, but the consumer does as well,” says Barry Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Thought Industries.
Educate to engage. Train your customers with in-app product tutorials.
3. Flawed Email Marketing Campaigns
Your team is 6 times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than a tweet.
Email is an effective tool to connect with consumers. You receive direct contact.
SaaS consumers expect brand interaction. They want to hear about the latest products, promotions, and success stories.
But the main challenge with your emails is customization. You’re failing to deliver the right message to the right audience.
Research unveils that 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement. It enhances the experience for the consumer.
Buffer sends its customers anniversary emails. These messages remind buyers how long they’ve been a customer with the company.
Segment your email list. This may involve catering to specific locations, job functions, past purchases, or product usage.
Maria Talley, former marketing manager for VIEO Design, offers the following advice:
“Segment and personalize your email lists to better serve each segment’s value: you can divide contacts by industry, company, product interest and targeted message. Your goal is to engage and build relationships with customer individually.”
Also, tweak what you’re saying in your emails. Speak the customer’s language by using familiar terms. Your communication should be relevant to their desires.
Upgrade your email marketing campaigns. Personalization is your key to engagement success.
4. No Brand Culture to Follow
Customer-focused brands are 60% more profitable compared to companies that neglect their customers.
In order for your engagement rates to soar, you must give consumers something to engage with. You need to create a SaaS brand culture worth people’s time and energy.
For instance, American professional football is more than a sport. It’s a tradition filled with enthusiastic fans who religiously watch games every week. People host parties and buy their favorite team jerseys.
Give your customers an opportunity to be part of your brand’s story. Share your values and mission.
In addition, demonstrate your culture by conducting webinars, inviting customers to live events, or even hosting holiday contests.
Below is an example from SEMrush. The brand brings customers together via Twitter chats. It’s educational and nudges people to interact with the business.
— SEMrush (@semrush) September 21, 2016
Ongoing interactions also bolster your credibility. Consumers know that your brand values their interests.
“The best way to build credibility is to offer up a story. Customers want to know how your product or service is going to make sense for them, and the easiest way to do this is to inject their needs into your brand’s story,” states Will Caldwell, co-founder and CEO of Dizzle.
Build an impressive brand culture. It will help strengthen your customer engagement.
5. Lack of Product-Market Fit
So, you tried all of the above. And your team still can’t get any engagement traction.
It may be time to evaluate your product-market fit. Do people possess a strong desire for your product?
Matt Howard, managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, expresses some words of wisdom:
“You can make an unsuitable product fit the market, but you can never make the market fit an unsuitable product. This is why large companies spend millions of R&D dollars on extensive market analysis, using methodologies ranging from surveys and online analytics platforms to analyst meetings and focus groups.”
Dan Olsen, author of The Lean Product Playbook, created a framework to help teams achieve product-market fit. In the diagram below, Olsen suggests five components that must exist: UX, Feature Set, Value Proposition, Underserved Needs, and Target Customer.
Through an iterative process, you’ll learn if and how your product should be adjusted. Moreover, your team will know how and where to allocate resources.
Work with your team to assess your engagement levels. Figure out which metrics matter most, like daily active users or usage frequency. Then, uncover what’s hindering your current customers from achieving the goal.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Listening to your customers will help you solve issues faster.
Go back to the drawing board. Analyze your product-market fit.
Knowing Your Brand’s Truths
Customer engagement plays an integral role in your business. Creating authentic relationships with consumers helps your bottom line.
Offer customers real-time support to answer their questions. Integrate product tutorials within your SaaS application. And send personalized email marketing campaigns.
Face the truth. Boost your customer engagement rates.
About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.