This post is based on an article titled “To Succeed, SaaS Companies Must Move Fast Without Breaking Things,” which was originally published by Zuora on July 6, 2018.
Last month, we were honored to contribute a guest post to the blog of Zuora, an enterprise software provider that enables any company to launch and manage a subscription based business.
Our article examined the recent rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies.
“…the success of the SaaS model might seem like it was a foregone conclusion. But, as Harvard Business Review explained last year, some early SaaS implementations were greeted with significant skepticism … The tide turned, however, over the next few years as providers and customers alike came to see the benefits of SaaS. And as perceptions changed, so did bottom-line results.”
We also explored one of the core elements that sets SaaS companies apart from traditional license or on-premise software providers — speed — which presents a unique mix of advantages and challenges.
“It’s an obvious customer benefit to be able to ship bug fixes and new features more quickly. But the flip side is that customers now expect product updates to happen at the speed of light. In order to meet these expectations, SaaS design and development teams must move fast.
“And this need for speed is not limited to product updates. The nature of a subscription model is that customers pay regularly (often monthly) for your service. And each time they make a payment, it presents a natural opportunity for them to reflect upon their satisfaction with your company and product.
“That means speedy customer support (to resolve product issues and billing questions) and customer success (proactive efforts to help customers get as much benefit as possible from your product) are more critical than ever.”
The clear importance and potential benefits of speed sometimes tempt companies to “move fast and break things,” in the words of Facebook’s early motto.
But the consequences of “breaking things” (such as in the form of software bugs and downtime) often present an unacceptable risk for SaaS companies with paid customers, especially those with products or services used by large enterprises.
So what’s a SaaS provider to do?
The answer lies in making efficient and effective use of your data.
Effectively harnessing a SaaS company’s data is particularly important for customer support and success agents who are on the front lines interacting with existing users on a daily basis.
How do we know this to be true? We went straight to the CS source:
“A recent research study conducted by Squelch and Dimensional Research of more than 300 customer support agents found that an overwhelming majority (97 percent) want to provide a superior customer experience and feel they could do so with a better support system.
“Half reported having to weed through too much irrelevant information when providing customer support and almost 70 percent make their own cheat sheets, bypassing corporate systems to help themselves help customers, according to the study.”
But there’s no need to despair. Companies like Squelch are offering help to these customer heroes in the form of customer experience optimization solutions.
As we noted in our guest post, “By ensuring that customer support and success agents can easily access the right information at the right time, subscription-based software providers can move fast without breaking things and get one step closer to becoming a truly successful SaaS company.”