Being a SaaS evangelist – sometimes it's easy to get caught up in a software-centric view of the world. Every now and then it's good to be reminded that one of the premier differentiators between SaaS and it's installed forbears is the service part of the offering.
One vendor that seems well attuned to the second "S" as much as the first is Saasu. Saasu is an Australian vendor of a SaaS accounting offering. In a recent post on his corporate blog, Saasu CEO Marc Lehman gave his view on why businesses should over-service their customers. I'll paraphrase his five points and give my perspective on what he says.
1. The net has had a huge leverage effect on the power of word of mouth
Marc realises as well as anyone that ones customers can become ones virtual sales-force. In the past the saying went that a happy customer tells no one while a disgruntled customer will tell 10 people. These rules have been shifted by the sheer mass and instantaneousness of the net resulting in a pleased customer often telling potentially many thousands of people of their experience. Similarly a disgruntled customer will likely do the same.
2. Service is a Sales Channel
Sales is primarily about ensuring that your company is responsive to the wants and needs of your customers. High levels of service allow for the conversations where the customer experience can be truly assessed and acted upon.
3. If business is about problem solving where do your find out what problems exist?
There is huge value to be gained through the extended conversations that occur with customers. Customers generally know your product as well as you do, but lack the blinkered vision that is often the result of nurturing a product to execution. These conversations form the basis for product development and industry intelligence gathering and shouldn't be undervalued.
4. Keeping it fresh
Continual contact keeps your business relationships alive. Much like calling a relative every now and then. People love to be loved. People are more likely to think of you and your products or services when you keep in contact at that next point of referral that comes along.
5. Just because you should
At the end of the day you're in business for more reasons than just to make money. Providing good service for your customers is good for them and good for your Karma