It’s tough being a small business, as any founder will tell you. Even more so when you’re a small SaaS business listed on the ASX and relying on a lot of public money.

As the development of technological infrastructure gallops along, it’s no surprise that we have seen a boom in small tech companies offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) models.

SaaS is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is hosted by another party.

But there is one element to life as a SaaS business that experts reckon is under-appreciated, and that’s a little something called ‘customer success’.

“Customer success really isn’t a new concept, but it’s a relatively new function that’s followed SaaS’ massive global growth over the past decade,” Darren Chait, COO and co-founder of SaaS tool Hugo, said recently.

“As software vendors have switched from only having to think about their customer up until point of sale and then contract renewal years later, to the current SaaS model, which is sustained by continuous customer engagement, customers now have the ultimate flexibility when it comes to software.”

Amelia Hayson, co-founder of Success Society (a 1200 member body specifically set up to drive increased focus on customer success within SaaS companies), said companies needed to look beyond the sale.

“Customer success is about people and people are driven by two motivators – their needs and their experiences. In meeting these drivers, a SaaS business can create loyal customers, who continue to use their product, despite the barriers to cancelling subscriptions being virtually non-existent. In a competitive market, it is no longer sufficient for the customer experience to just be smooth and simple – it should WOW,” Hayson said.

“SaaS businesses are reliant on the ability to retain customers through renewal, while avoiding churn. What gives an edge over the competition is the knowledge that, while churn is inevitable, it can be balanced out.

“To set themselves apart, I would encourage businesses to look at customer success as so much more than a standalone function — it enables sales, empowers marketing and informs product.”

 

This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.