SaaS Providers Need To Understand The Importance Of Great CX
Software as a Service (SaaS) is one area of cloud-based services that have prospered throughout the Covid pandemic and doesn’t look set to stop anytime soon. The way that companies, and even individual teams, use software has dramatically changed and migrated to the cloud in recent years. With SaaS tools so ubiquitous, what roles does CX have to play in the success of SaaS brands?
Gartner estimated total global SaaS revenues at $105 billion last year. That’s $20 billion more than the prediction they made in 2019. By next year, SaaS revenue is expected to be around $141 billion. The Covid pandemic may have given SaaS a boost, but this growth is predicted to continue.
What’s driving this growth acceleration in SaaS? There are many factors, but Deloitte believes three key factors can summarise it:
• Subscription Model: By paying for software only as it is used – rather than buying ‘copies’ of software, costs can be more tightly controlled.
• Evolution of Cloud: From concerns about cloud-based systems being less secure compared to those inside an office with a strong firewall, many executives are now revising their view and understanding that distributing business processes and software can actually be a more secure position for their company.
• Reduced Expenses: Leading on from the first point, SaaS does not require the upfront capital expenditure that traditional software needs. You only pay for what you use. When finished, or if you reduce the number of users, then you just stop paying for those licenses. It’s like renting a car when you need it, rather than buying a car and leaving it idle 90% of the time in your garage.
I believe that the analysts may have even underestimated the projected growth of SaaS in the next year or two. Every company that faced major challenges getting their employees to securely work from home during the Covid lockdowns will want to find a better way to ensure all their business tools can be accessed from anywhere. This will apply for all tools, from email and word processing to more specialised systems. Adopting SaaS naturally increases business resilience and flexibility.
The growth in SaaS will also change how many professional industries function. Look at accounting for just one example. Every major player, including Intuit, Sage, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, now offers their professional accounting systems on a SaaS basis. Highly complex business software, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is now almost always delivered using SaaS.
This has allowed many companies to deploy systems such as Salesforce CRM – using a traditional software model, where the hardware, software, and customisation would all need to be paid for up front, would only work for companies with very deep pockets. The fixed nature of these traditional software systems also means that users often find that the customisation doesn’t work until deployment. With SaaS, changes can be applied quickly and seamlessly. Everyone gets upgraded without any need to change the service used by each individual customer.
I believe that as both cloud and SaaS are becoming more accepted in professional areas, such as accounting, these software companies will need to focus much more on the customer experience as an area of differentiation. Back when you had to make a big budget decision about buying Sage or Oracle the comparison could focus on features and value offered by each system.
Now that each system can easily be upgraded when a rival launches a new feature there is less focus on this as a differentiator. The experience that the user has and how well supported they are will now be far more in the spotlight.
All SaaS software brands are offering a very easy pay-as-you-go model and it’s easy for them to upgrade any features their rivals launch, but this feeling of being supported is not automatic. It requires planning and an anticipation of how the customer will experience that SaaS product. Customer satisfaction with a SaaS product is now a critical measure of success.
Clever SaaS brands will understand this. The smartest will also see how satisfied customers can be used to build referrals – what’s a better way to get new business than to build a network of advocates amongst your existing customers?
But this can’t be achieved without a focus on the experience each customer has when using your SaaS system. Make it easy and you can keep that customer subscribing for years. Make it difficult and an alternative software system is just a click away.
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