The 7 Deadly Sins of SaaS Marketing – Anger
Sin number three is anger. Users are bound to complain, even about small issues. Appreciate them for it and leverage them for opportunities for improvement based on their feedback. Build mechanisms to listen to them and respond to their needs. You can’t change your product to suit every person, but if there is a system in place to allow them to participate in a shared prioritization of product improvement, you’ll turn critics into advocates. And just as importantly, you’ll start making product decisions and internal considerations based on that customer input.
Cope with Criticism
When you are only receiving negative, frustrated feedback from the handful of users trying your product at the initial stages, it can be hard not to take criticism personally.
The number one rule: NEVER ignore customer feedback, no matter how bad.
These complainers provide the best opportunity, as they give free insight into how you can best improve your product, grow your business, and expand your user base.
If you don’t know how your customers are feeling, there will be no way for you to better your product and business. With the feedback you gain the most important data–what your customers’ are thinking. What do they love? What new features would be great to add for better and broader customer usage? Where do your users get stuck?
Once you realize that feedback is essential to your business succeeding, you need to build a system to listen to them and respond to their needs.
If you listen to your complainers, address the problems they’ve encountered, are smart enough to follow up with them and thank them for pointing out the issue–and, better yet, share how you will address the problem for users like them, you’ll turn critics to supporters. Users love personal feedback and interaction, knowing they are heard, and being made into a priority. We have all heard the general, “I can understand your frustration” when trying to ask a customer service representative for support. Of course, you can understand, problems are frustrating!
What users will appreciate most is personalization, showing that the business cares about the customer enough to invest time in improving the user’s experience and the quality of their product. Businesses that want to improve, and are never satisfied with the status quo, are all the more appealing to customers that will return to your product again and again. Your other end goal in improving your product and business through feedback is changing your complainers’ minds–shifting them from haters to loyalists. Loyal customers are the customers most crucial to the success of a SaaS business. Not only will they contribute more to your business, and for a longer period of time, they require drastically fewer resources to maintain. It costs a whopping 5x to 25x more money to acquire new customers than to maintain the support of your loyalists. These loyalists will become your best friends, buying 90% more often and spending 67% more per transaction than new visitors. Returning customers not only provide a consistent feedback stream and revenue base, but they will also make your business grow.
The Perks of Customer Commentary
There are several ways to gather customer feedback, and each, of course, has pros and cons. First, you have to decide what questions will be most beneficial and informative to ask your users. Think about your goals.
One important goal should be understanding your business’ trends in customer satisfaction. First, ask what is making your customers happy or frustrated–as soon as possible, ideally just after they start using the product. The sooner they are alerted to the importance of their feedback and insight, the quicker your users will grow to trust and build loyalty to your brand. Knowing their voice is heard makes a user feel included, seen, and more willing to invest in the development of your brand. Once you have this initial feedback, you can then systematically check in with your users to see how this satisfaction is shifting over time, to show you both patterns and trends in your users’ experience.
The most common methods to obtain these insights are with Net Promoter Scores, Customer Satisfaction Scores, Customer Effort Scores, and Social Media Posts.
Net Promoter Scores are used to measure the lucrative and all-important loyalty index of your customers. The higher the score, the more loyal your customers are to your brand. A quick survey, which rates customers’ willingness to refer your business to a friend with the numbers one through ten, will provide you a metric to measure your biggest promoters compared to your biggest detractors. With a high NPS score, you have the potential to grow your business twice as fast as your competitors with low NPS.
NPS is also a great tool to highlight customer demographics. You can focus on your promoters, and see where you are gaining the most fans to target these groups with marketing campaigns and promotions. Similarly, you can analyze your detractors, and set up solutions specific to helping these users.
A key to increasing feedback response rates for surveys such as NPS is simplicity of the question, and how long the question will take the user to answer. The fewer the questions the better–one being ideal. Centering the question on something objective–such as an intention to refer friends to your business–rather than something qualitative–their emotions or satisfaction with the product–provides an easier, more calculable means to measure customer loyalty.
You need to make customers know their feedback is useful and appreciated, or they won’t provide important feedback at all! Make sure their feedback is also responded to efficiently, as 81% of customers are willing to provide feedback if given a fast response.
Building Brand Loyalty
Word-of-mouth marketing is more effective at gaining new customers than content and advertising. So having a loyal customer base to share their love for your business with their friends will only create more loyal fans for you. Loyal customers not only spend more with you, they believe the value they gain from your business is more important than a lower price or even a better product from another brand.
Customer Satisfaction surveys offer great insight into customer experience, and how well your customer service creates solutions to address their needs. But this data, which is often as simple as a five-star scale rating, does not provide as much tangible information for how to improve your product or business more broadly.
Customer Effort Scores use questions to measure the ease of user experience for customers. The feedback from these surveys can have an enormous impact, as 96% of users that view companies as requiring high effort don’t return, compared to the 9% of departing users who report low required effort. In terms of referrals, you can expect the complainers to soar if your score shows high effort–with 81% of users saying they would leave a negative referral for an effort-heavy product. Yet 94% of customers reporting low effort said they would repurchase, and 88% said they would increase their spending with the business. The easier and simpler your website the better, and feedback can help you optimize that!
You can also explore your social media feedback, which might be the most polarized. If a user takes the time to post about your business on their account, it’s probably to either refer you to their friends or scare their friends away from using your product. This is where the fans and haters really duel, and these public responses have a serious impact on your online business reputation. Making sure to address the complainers on these sites as best as possible can prevent future user loss and promote customer growth. Another benefit to the social media form of feedback is that these insights are unprompted and unfiltered–they provide a view into how users might talk about the product with their friends and family, outside the context of a specific survey or open-ended question.
It’s vital to continue to follow up with the same questions you ask your users consistently, in order to chart changes over time and analyze changes.
Loyal customers will always grow a business faster than expensive ad campaigns or elaborate online marketing. If you don’t have customer feedback, you won’t know what makes customers satisfied (CSAT). Without CSAT, you can’t create customer loyalty, which should be your top priority in feedback optimization.
Your customer’s opinions not only help grow your product and brand loyalty, but they also matter to all of your business’ teams as insight for improvement. Don’t ever ignore feedback, especially the words of the haters and the complainers. They may very well hold the best opportunity to build your business, build loyalty, and address problems that are steering customers away from you. You want to take this anger, and channel it into love and trust. Let your haters help you glow-up, changing your detractor complainers into promoter loyalists, and watch your business soar.