5 January 2020

The Equalture Story (9): How ‘SaaS with a face’ became our Customer Success Strategy

The Equalture Story. A series of stories to give you a look behind the scenes of our company. Milestones. Failures. Lessons we’ve learned. Just the honest story about a SaaS startup trying to conquer the world.

In our 9th story: How our Customer Success Manager Tim is developing Customer Success and our ‘SaaS with a face’-strategy.

A recap of the start

In 2019 we started up Customer Success. Starting up in a startup is always a challenge, probably you can imagine. There are so many things to do, to think about and events that need immediate action. The first challenge was to structure the way of working and to determine priorities, preferred measurements, onboarding processes, needed data and possible automation. Within Customer Success you always need to have one essential thought in your mind when implementing new processes; is this going to make customers happy?

In the first months of being the Customer Success Manager we already implemented automated workflows and emails for the onboarding and post-onboarding process. You can read my first Equalture Story focused on Customer Success here.

Our Customer Success Strategy: SaaS with a face

After implementing the first quick wins in the summer and fall, we finally had some time at the end of this year to clarify our CS strategy. And we agreed on this strategy extremely fast: We want to be SaaS with a face.

SaaS with a face? Yes, SaaS with a face! We firmly believe in the value of having a personal relationship with our users. It also allows us to proactively adjust processes and functionalities because we’re able to ask for valuable feedback in any stage of the customer lifecycle. For example, based on our customer feedback we implemented product tours and tutorials, guiding new users through dashboard functionalities as a major part of the onboarding process. We re-organised our support framework of articles, made videos explaining key features such as our assessments and the matching profile and we built features to be able to let customers walk through the onboarding more independent. An example of this is the launch of the team benchmark feature, a feature that helps customers benchmark their current team in order to determine the profile of the next best-fit hire. Before, this was a major, time-intensive activity of Customer Success. 

So while we’re working very hard to automate our Customer Success practices, we don’t do this to keep the CS team as small as possible. We do this so that we can ensure personal contact with every single customer. We don’t want to be the typical SaaS company where it feels like you’re chatting with robots. People should always be able to see a friendly face. That’s why we call ourselves SaaS with a face.

How we started measuring Customer Success

Alright, so we now that we had the most important key aspects up and running and finalised our strategy, the next challenge was measuring Customer Success.

The goal of Customer Success is to reduce churn to a minimal level. This sounds a bit negative, but we can only achieve this if we guarantee one simple thing: customer happiness. There are multiple measures on happiness, where it’s also commonly replaced by terms such as loyalty (attitudinal or relational), relationship quality, satisfaction or even (brand) love. To have validated outcomes of any metric, we needed to understand the constructs and how they differ from each other. 

First, we wanted to find out how satisfied customers are regarding the entire product. In order to have a representative outcome on customer satisfaction (CSAT) we needed to make sure that a user has at least experienced our product once. In our case, this means that a client has setup the dashboard, created the first job and received the first application on this job via Equalture. After being able to measure customer satisfaction we could start measuring customer happiness, which is a combination of both engagement and satisfaction.

Finally, we could start measuring loyalty. The NPS is meant to measure loyalty. It’s a simple and elegant question where users need to define their ‘ability and opportunity to engage in positive word-of-mouth’. It’s seen as a relative measure to predict company growth and provides us with the opportunity to map advocates (to engage in positive word-of-mouth) and to solve issues to reduce potential churn. In general, loyalty is most significant to measure after a customer has multiple encounters (where satisfaction generally only needs one encounter) with our product and service. Promoters (scores of 9 and 10) will be asked for a referral, while everyone lower than a 9 will be asked for feedback in order to increase their NPS measure in the next round of measuring.

Customer Success in 2020: From bigger picture to detailed plan

Now that 2019 is over we can focus on improving Customer Success in 2020. Big plans ahead, where we’ll have more data to ultimately increase customer happiness.

After starting up at a startup, where the focus was mainly on structuring the bigger picture, we are now more and more able to go into detail. If you combine this with a significant continuous growth of the customer base we can conclude that we simply need to expand our CS team and establish a stronger focus on automation, along with relevant content creation ánd a friendly face, where we can. So, on the short term we’re going to design a proper designed Customer Success Goal Setting Map now we have more clarity how this team wants to develop, we’re going to implement the measurements and tools to measure KPIs such as CSAT, customer happiness and NPS and we’re going to focus on further automation while strengthening our SaaS with a face attitude. Also, the future will bring us more data on product usage and individual employee performance allowing us to measure all important aspects more precisely in order to ensure the most important thing; customer happiness. 

So that’s our plan for 2020: rocking our Customer Success practices to make our clients the happiest ones on earth!

You can contact me through the live chat if you have any tips, comments or questions! I will make a new blog in about three months, so we can see which parts of the Customer Success setup were a success and what to improve.

Cheers, Tim