2023 Guide to SaaS Customer Success: Best Practices Revealed

Denis Shatalin
Founder of SaaS Camp
We all know customer experience is super important for any SaaS Product. B2B users need a pleasant buying experience to choose your SaaS solution. But we shouldn’t forget about customer success.

Sure attracting new customers is great, but what does it say about your SaaS solution when you’re not retaining your existing users? It ultimately decreases your product value, and you don’t want that as a SaaS startup.

McKinsey & Company found that 92% of SaaS startups crumble into non-existence within a few years, even with initial growth rates of up to 60%. This unfortunate statistic is due to SaaS startups forgetting that they need to nurture their users even after bringing them in.

Of course, when you’re just beginning your SaaS business journey, these are details that can fall through the cracks. Fortunately, as a certified SaaS coach, I can help keep you on track. Today we’re going to look at how best you can develop your SaaS customer success strategy.

What is SaaS Customer Success?

Customer success is a long-term and proactive strategy to help your SaaS company maximize sustainable proven value by helping your users solve their problems. Of course, your product exists because it’s offering a solution, but it shouldn’t stop there. Customer success comes from offering continuous user support, open consultancy, and encouragement.

Think of it as your customer relationship. By prioritizing overall experience value instead of momentary satisfaction, you win in the eyes of your customers. You want a customer success strategy in place at the beginning of your SaaS journey to set you apart from other SaaS solutions in your field.

It really works too. Once HubSpot began monitoring its customer success, it could retain 33% of its customers who were unhappy, reducing churn. And you can just imagine how much recurring revenue that added to their business.

SaaS companies don’t realize they’re at an advantage compared to other businesses. You’re in a unique position because you can monitor when and how your product is being used. You’ll know the exact moment when it’s not functioning for certain customers, so you’re able to implement customer success into your overall business plan.

Customer Success vs. Customer Support / Account Management

It’s a common mistake to think customer success is interchangeable with customer support or account management. But it’s not. The main difference is that customer success is proactive and long-term, while customer support is responsive and short-term. Essentially, customer support is always called to action, while customer success is always available.

Customer support generally helps individual customers when they’re facing a specific issue. It offers momentary customer satisfaction without cultivating a full-on relationship. With customer success, all customers will benefit because it’s not a response to problems but a strategy that ensures customers stay happy long-term.

Account management focuses on cross-selling and upselling the product to grow user business. Although useful, it’s not on the same level as customer success. Customers don’t get exactly what they want out of it because they feel like they’re more of a commodity than deserving of real help.
Ultimately, customer success has a deeper relationship with the customer because it’s not only available when things go bad, but when things are good too.

Why Customer Success is so important for early-stage SaaS businesses

1. Prioritizes customer relationships

Believe it or not, as a SaaS business, your customer relationship is important for your product to gain the success it deserves. If your customers are continuously getting the support they need and are successful using your product, they’re not likely to churn.
Ultimately, a solid customer success strategy for your SaaS business helps to maximize your customer lifetime value. A one-year subscription can easily turn into two, three, and beyond.

2. Strengthens customer loyalty & customer advocacy

When customers feel as though your product is solving their problems while offering ongoing support so that they grow with you, they’re more likely to refer you to others. Even better when they change jobs, for example, and suggest your SaaS solution to new businesses that wouldn’t have discovered your solution.

3. Increases the value of your product

A great customer success strategy helps your customers get the best value from your product, and in turn, pushes your adoption rates higher. This also has the added benefit of encouraging positive word-of-mouth and organic customer advocacy, which gains you high-quality SaaS leads and new customers for your SaaS product.

Perhaps you’re at a point where you’ve constantly been putting in the effort, but you feel as though your customers aren’t seeing your true value. Luckily, I can help! By participating in my SaaS Camp, you can benefit by increasing your revenue three times in less than three months! The best part? You won’t need paid advertising.

SaaS Customer Success: Five Best Practices

Now that you understand how different customer success is from customer support and why your startup needs to prioritize it, let’s take a look at what you can do to achieve a solid customer success strategy.

1. Prioritize customer success from the beginning

When you’re planning to prioritize customer success from the start, you want to ensure that you’ve established the personas of your ideal buyers. Why is this important? Well, for you to be able to deliver optimum value with your SaaS product by helping your customers with their pain points you actually need to make sure your customers will match with your solution.

To avoid customer dissatisfaction later on, develop your buyer personas first. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know how to offer top-tier service to separate yourself from your competitors.

Not sure how to emphasize customer success from the beginning? No worries, let’s look at a great example of a SaaS company that got this right: Zapier.
Zapier shares their customer stories in detail, showcasing how their SaaS solution has helped them solve their problems and achieve their goals. The fact that the customer stories are covered in depth shows their dedication to really getting to know their customers and their needs from the start.

Such a genuine strategy really helps them stand out and boosts their credibility. This encourages new customers to choose their solution over their competitors.

2. Continuously collect customer insights

How else are you going to grow with your customers and consistently meet their needs if you don’t hear from them after they are onboard? Collecting customer insights helps you track your progress as well as how you can keep improving.

There are a few ways you can collect customer insights to view how well your customer success strategy is working:

  • Administer surveys directly through your SaaS product or via email
  • Engage with your customers on social media
  • When you establish your company more, host events
  • Share some of the insights you’ve collected with your customers to see if they have any additional needs or feedback

Some tools that can help you collect your insights are:

3. Develop a smooth onboarding process for your customers

If you want to ensure you keep up with your customers and reduce your churn rate, you need to be mindful of having a hassle-free onboarding process for your customers. It should signal to your customers straight away that their personal experience matters to you.

HelpCrunch knew how to simplify customer onboarding by offering a live chat and helpdesk service. The company is consistent in their response times so customers feel supported from the beginning and throughout. They also ensure not to bombard customers with too much information or emails so that the help they receive stays relevant and valuable.
You can provide your customers with helpful information by automating messages and implementing smart pop-ups to elevate your onboarding process.

Of course, there’s no harm in looking at some other tools. So a few ones to consider are:

4. Don’t neglect customers that are offboarding

As a startup, it’s easy to think that as soon as you start to scale with successful growth strategies, the few customers that do offboard aren’t relevant to your overall customer success plan. On the contrary! You may actually be doing yourself a disservice by neglecting those customers.

When a customer offboards, it’s your chance to get some insights on what didn’t work for them. Doing this can help you decrease future SaaS churn rates and maybe even get customers to return if they notice their offboarding feedback was implemented.

5. Stay on top of your customer data

Your customer success plan is supposed to remain consistent, so staying on top of your customer data is essential. Fortunately, with the tools available today, this is something you can achieve quite easily.

Here are my top picks of customer success management tools that you can implement in your strategy:

Using any of these tools, you’ll be able to stay on track with your customer success strategy and analyze any of your key performance indicators.

Establish your value with a solid SaaS customer success plan

As an early-stage SaaS company, your customer success strategy is what’s going to set you apart from your competitors. You need to prioritize customer retention from the beginning. Your customers will see that they’re valued for the long term and not just to boost your revenue.

Of course, developing the right tactics tailored to your business may not be simple at the start. So, you may need a SaaS coach to help! I’ve helped startup SaaS businesses scale their revenue by three times in under three months via my SaaS camp by helping them establish a personalized growth strategy.

You can achieve the same for your business too! Feel free to sign up for some free tips and see how they can help you scale.
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✋ Hey, it's Denis! Thanks for reading :) If you want my help with your startup, the quickest way to reach me is at denis@saascamp.com. I upload my best content on YouTube. Let's connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.