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3 Ways SaaS Companies Can Minimize Churn through Better CX

By Shianna Noetscher, Head of CX at LOMA

Although inflation has eased, prices are still high, the job market looks to be cooling, and American consumer confidence in the economy is waning. Companies across a wide variety of markets are facing tremendous pressure to compete and overcome these headwinds.

SaaS firms are under pressure to improve their value proposition to companies, especially considering the high rate of customer churn in the sector. Subpar customer experiences are a common cause of churn, with 52% of customers across industries switching to a competitor after just one negative experience. SaaS companies often deliver lackluster customer experiences when they fail to align their sales and CX teams and coordinate onboarding, resulting in lost customers.

As someone who’s architected SaaS customer journeys for various multi-unit franchise clients and other organizations, I’ve seen firsthand the many touch points it takes for SaaS companies to protect bottom-line growth by excelling on CX. There are three key touchpoints where SaaS companies can enhance CX — before prospects become customers, during the onboarding process, and throughout the customer relationship.

1. Place industry experts at the fore of your sales team

The way potential customers are treated during the sales process plays a big role in their overall experience with a company. However, many SaaS companies start the sales process with a generic demo from a sales representative who doesn't take into account the specifics of the customer's business or industry. This can make it seem like the customer's priorities or concerns are being ignored.

To provide a better sales experience, it's important to have industry experts engage with potential customers. Sales calls should be more than just a sales pitch. Experts who understand the customer's business goals and pain points should be brought in to ask meaningful questions about their strategy.

Customers should feel like they're interacting with empathetic guides and leave the sales call with a deeper understanding of their own industry. Look for experts within the industry who have firsthand experience with the problems your software solves. For example, if your software is targeted at multi-unit franchises, bring in franchising experts to your sales team.

After the sale is made, the period between the completion of sales and the completion of onboarding is the most critical phase of the customer experience. SaaS companies must tap into the customer's excitement and keep it going to ensure a smooth onboarding process.

2. Make CX seamless from onboarding to full adoption

Seamless CX continues with onboarding. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. Nearly half of corporate software implementations fail due to bungled onboarding. Poor onboarding usually results from miscommunication, a lack of coordination between the leadership who purchased the solution and team members tasked with using the software, and the SaaS company’s failure to overcome this disconnect. The onboarding process needs to be programmatic and, most of all, must reduce this friction.

Let’s say you’re working with a multi-unit brand. Closely consider their perspective: A multi-location brand faces a host of daily operational challenges with constrained resources and needs to navigate between corporate and franchisees. The onus is on the SaaS company to take on the heavy lifting for platform implementation. This SaaS company must tailor their platform to its clients — especially clients with siloed data or outdated tech infrastructures. At the same time, the onboarding process must reduce the amount of unnecessary calls or other touchpoints.

Onboarding missteps can be costly and lead to customer churn. Inadequate training hinders product adoption, CX, retention, and renewal.

3. Avoid being just another “vendor”

SaaS companies that are forward-thinking do not just appear in their customer’s life to make a sale and onboard, only to disappear afterwards. Companies that behave this way and fail to attend to their customers’ needs can seem disposable, particularly in times of economic uncertainty.

CX-centered SaaS companies instead involve themselves strategically in their customers’ businesses: They focus on unlocking success and saving time, post-sale and post-onboarding. SaaS companies tend to view CX as nothing more than reactive customer service. This is a common mistake. Some companies seem to think that the only time they should engage with customers is when they report product bugs. However, this approach limits their ability to solve problems dynamically, which is a crucial aspect of their value proposition.

Maintain a consultative dialogue from the outset to define your customer’s journey, outline their desired outcomes, establish expectations, and create a joint accountability plan. Say you’re working with a multi-location restaurant brand. During your meetings, set deadlines for onboarding completion for each location, dial in on locations' objectives with the solution, and identify the results the brand expects. Regularly touching base with your customer about these areas keeps the process smooth and limits hiccups.

Additionally, a truly proactive approach to CX involves more than regular consultative meetings (not to say that these meetings aren’t important — they’re vital). CX-centered SaaS companies offer key analytics, reporting, and insights to the businesses they work with. And these SaaS companies do so through their software in an intuitive and impactful way.

By leveraging industry experts for the initial sale, streamlining your onboarding process, and serving as a proactive partner post-sale, your SaaS company will reduce churn, generate referrals, create new revenue, and build long-lasting relationships with your customers. That’s more than worth the time and money it will cost to build a robust customer experience.

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