The #1 hack to retain your customers if you are a SaaS startup.

 Photo by  Freddy Marschall  on  Unsplash

In a loose sense, every SaaS startup was once just a shared spreadsheet.

ExpensifyZendeskQuipSalesloft.

So what really differentiates your startup from being just a spreadsheet without a soul is how you WIN and KEEP your customers.

Now, you might think since you are solving their business problem, you deserve to be their de facto startup choice. Naive and wrong. Want to know why?

Because this is 2018 and your startup is not the only one solving problems.

 This picture merely shows a slice of the options available for your buyer [Source: Bowery Capital]

This picture merely shows a slice of the options available for your buyer [Source: Bowery Capital]

Customers expect more than just your technology solution today.

They want to be greeted and treated with warmth.

Sam Walton famously said,

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everyone in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

The missing piece of strategy is most early-stage companies that managed to nail their problem and the market is… EMPATHY.

What is empathy & why should you care?

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The Oxford dictionary defines “empathy” as the ability to understand and share the feelings of anotherEmpathy allows you to understand another person’s situation, motives, and even their feelings and emotions.

In short, empathy enables your startup to deliver an excellent customer experience.

Genesys conducted a survey a couple years back that focused on what matters most to customers when interacting with companies. 40%, or more than double the responses that the second place answer received, said “better human service“.

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Especially in the free-trial era, there is a good chance you might take your SaaS customers lightly to focus more on other pressing tasks.

But research shows that it costs at least 6–7 times as much to acquire a new customer compared to the cost of retaining an existing customer. Churn reduced by even a small percentage greatly increases a company’s profitability over a period of time.

In this Harvard Business Review article on customer experience, the authors argue that even a routine service event where a customer has a product query could be used as an opportunity to demonstrate empathy and value.

The other places where you can show empathy in SaaS include:

a) Product/interface design

b) Your automated emails

c) Your 404 pages

d) Your entire customer journey on your website

e) Social media interactions

f) Feedback surveys

g) During times of crisis

h) Especially during times of crisis *

Even when the customer disagrees with you or is upset you don’t have a feature he/she is looking for, you can still leave with a positive impression.

Marsha Collier has a brilliant advice on this scenario:

Customer service can’t always deliver solutions, but it can always deliver empathy.

Contrary to the popular trend where more and more AI/automation is dominating the interactions customers have with companies, your startup can be a breath of fresh air. Paul Graham, the Y-Combinator startup guru has long been an advocate of the same. Do things that don’t scale. I think this advice extends to all companies, particularly SaaS startups because of the highly competitive landscape.

So, there we go, hope you’ll keep empathy close to your heart while you grow your SaaS startup.

PS: We are trying our best to ensure we practice what we preach as we build our product ClosingPage right from the login flow to the 404 page. If you are interested to join our early user group for free, please sign up at www.getclosingpage.com. Thank you so much and stay warm y’all!