One of the major threats in a $200 billion SaaS industry is customer churn. To put a number, the average monthly SaaS churn is 3% to 8%. This roughly translates to 32-50% of annual churn.

This makes customer-centricity critical for SaaS. 

SaaS businesses must shift their focus from customer acquisition to customer experience. This will not just give them a competitive edge but also drive growth in ways aggressive sales tactics wouldn’t.

The next step is strategizing and driving actionable tasks that translate to customer-centricity. And here is where you’d need to think of the company culture. Your SaaS firm would need a deep-rooted cultural transformation across the entire organization. It begins with the SaaS executives showcasing a genuine commitment with a customer-focused vision.

In this piece, we’ll cover a few strategies to embed customer-centricity into your company’s DNA. The long-term goal is to nurture customer loyalty, increase lifetime value (LTV), and position your SaaS business as a customer-first brand.

But first, we’ll need to understand what a customer-centric culture would mean for a SaaS business.

What Is a Customer-Centric Culture in a SaaS Business?

Customer-centric SaaS businesses consistently work towards offering customer satisfaction, experiences, and success. This culture permeates every department, whether marketing, sales, support, or product development.

The focus is meeting customer needs and prioritizing feedback to make key product or service-related decisions.

This approach boosts customer loyalty, fosters customer relationships that retain them, and ultimately moves the SaaS brand toward sustainable growth. Here are a few major characteristics of a customer-centric culture in a SaaS culture:

  • Deep customer understanding: Key decision makers would think beyond the basic demographics and ideal customer profiles. Instead, they’d focus on grasping customer pain points, goals, and how your product fits into their workflow.
  • Customer feedback drives strategic decisions: Robust feedback mechanisms take center stage for product or service-based improvements. Different departments would use insights to improve products and support, enhancing the overall customer experience (CX).
  • Cross-departmental alignment: Customer success must not be siloed. This means you’ll have the sales, marketing, product, accounting, and support teams actively optimizing the customer journey at their respective touchpoints. 

For instance — 

  • Marketers should tailor content to match customer demands.
  • A great sales development rep (SDR) should be able to gauge the need for CPQ tools to customize quotations for each customer.
  • The accounting team can leverage SaaS billing software for automated billing, dunning, and subscription management.
  • The support team can escalate issues and reduce ticket closure time to enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Tracking the right metrics: When embedding a customer-centric culture, the focus is not just on acquisition-based metrics. Instead, SaaS firms need to track retention metrics, such as upselling success, Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer lifetime value (CLTV), churn rate, etc.

Embed Customer Insights into Every Decision

There are two ways how you’d see a SaaS organization function:

  • Deciding what to do and then rolling it through the customer. Next, they’d anticipate reaction or response (success or failure) to make changes accordingly.
  • Customer feedback is consistently fed and incorporated when making key decisions.

So, creating a customer-centric culture requires creating a loop where users’ feedback directly influences the decision-making process. This shows that your strategies are in line with customers’ needs. 

But make sure you keep this loop omnipresent — from product development to marketing strategies.

Here’s how to ensure the customer’s voice is always in the room:

Robust feedback channels

Surveys are starters, but you’d need a range of feedback tools and regular touchpoints with customer success teams to get valuable feedback. Also, it’s not unusual for SaaS firms to set up customer advisory boards for high-value clients, providing every possible way for customers to share their thoughts.

Centralize and analyze customers’ feedback

Customer feedback will provide invaluable data. Hence, you’d need a system to gather feedback from all channels, categorize it, and identify trends. Tools like Medallia, Qualtrics CustomerXM, Salesforce Service Cloud, etc., can help gather and manage customer feedback. 

Again, providing access to such tools across different departments ensures that all key findings are shared for unified decisions.

Example of using the feedback

If you are running a project management tool and customer feedback indicates that many users need help with onboarding, the product development and marketing teams should revise and communicate the onboarding flow, respectively. 

This includes providing more in-app tutorials and proactively offering onboarding assistance from the customer success team.

Strive for Customer Success, Not Just Support

Reactive support just works on resolving immediate issues. But that’s not how you keep your customers first. To truly embrace the customer-centric culture in your SaaS organization, focus on customer success, where you anticipate and solve problems even before they occur. This ensures that your customers get the maximum value from your product. 

A proactive strategy can elevate the customer experience, fostering stronger, longer-lasting relationships. This requires shifting the focus from merely resolving issues to empowering customers to achieve their goals, transforming the essence of customer interaction from transactional to transformative.

Here’s how to achieve it.

Proactive problem solving

Anticipate potential issues or questions and address them before they become obstacles for the customer. To effectively implement such a stance, you must create a comprehensive knowledge base and send preemptive guidance emails based on usage patterns. 

We have all known marketing teams that use pipeline forecasting to study buyer patterns, prioritize leads, and validate marketing strategies. Similarly, let your product development and support team use predictive analytics to identify and solve problems before they escalate. This helps you stay ahead for a smoother, more satisfying customer experience.

It’s all about monitoring usage patterns and identifying customers who may be underutilizing features or hitting roadblocks. Let your support teams connect with them and address those issues to prevent dissatisfaction before it boils over.

Tailored onboarding plans

One-size-fits-all onboarding rarely works. Hence, different support levels or customized onboarding should be provided based on customer needs and plan tiers. 

For this, ensure customers have all the necessary resources and knowledge to use your product. Offering personalized onboarding sessions and training materials can significantly reduce initial friction since 80% of apps experience churn within the first 90 days of sign-up.

Example of how to turn your customer service into customer success

Imagine running a SaaS analytics platform, and your customer has not engaged with certain advanced features. 

Here, customer success actions involve — 

  • Populating knowledge base to help them leverage the existing advanced features.
  • Proactively offering a training session to help them unlock the platform’s full potential.

Personalize the Customer Experience

Have you ever wondered how many ads we see everyday?

Well, it is estimated to be anything between 6,000 to 10,000 ads. Every. Single. Day.

So, how will you stand out in the rut and improve your communication with your customers?

The answer is — personalization.

A customer-centric culture in your SaaS business is about enhancing customer experience at every touchpoint. So, communication is no different, either.

Personalization is appreciated by 69% of customers if you effectively use the data they share. You’d need to balance this personalization since their privacy is crucial, and customers should feel valued, not violated.

Here are some ways to drive personalization.

Use customer data insights

Identify opportunities to personalize your communication for product recommendations and services. You’ll analyze their customer behavior, purchase history, and engagement patterns for this.

Leverage CRM software, marketing automation platforms, and analytics tools to aggregate and analyze customer data. It includes customer behavior on the website, their purchase history, and engagement with previous communications. 

Integrate insights from these analyses and segment your audience to customize recommendations and communications content that meet the interests of different customer groups.

Implement dynamic content

Use technology to dynamically adjust the content that customers see on your website through emails, social media (possible through geo-targeting social posts), or within your product.

Much of this content is based on users’ past interactions, preferences, and behavior. For example, one set of users may see a certain feature announcement depending on the size of their organization or industry.

Example of using personalization through email marketing

You can send loyal customers a birthday discount or provide targeted content recommendations via email based on their past engagement patterns. 

Here, you’d consider metrics like open rates, click rates, etc. 

Over to You

Building a customer-centric culture in a SaaS company requires dedication and a long-term perspective. All the aforementioned ways can help you get started in the right direction, where you can nurture and empower a customer-first philosophy. 

This means incorporating customer-first feedback into every decision and training your employees with a focus on customer success. Ultimately, this will have you prioritizing personalization and fostering a culture of continuous improvement that sets your SaaS brand apart amidst an increasingly competitive market.

However, customer-centricity boosts satisfaction and drives loyalty and advocacy. Such business growth will ultimately turn customers into brand advocates where they find common ground for mutual success.