One thing that always works is being more customer-centric.  It’s something you can do right now, even with no extra leads, no more budget, no amazing VP of Sales.  You can do it with the team you already have.

And it works even better if you are going through a slightly tougher phase.

So even if other parts of your engine are struggling a bit, here are 14 basic things you can do right now to be more customer-centric:

  • Launching new features that matter every quarter — that they don’t have to pay more for. Your product continually gets better.
  • A named Customer Support Manager they can talk to. Not just bots, not just automation, or tickets. A real, live human being with an email address and a phone number that can help. The same one each time. Linda or Lou or Larry is there. To help.  Let them know who their CSM really is.  And that they can talk to them, anytime.
  • No material annual price increases on existing customers for the same exact edition. Inflation is a bit crazy right now, but your sales and marketing costs are amortized across Year 1 of every deal. Why does that mean a price raise in Year 2? It shouldn’t.  The customer gets cheaper to serve and service after Year 1.  At least, be careful raising prices to make up for a shortfall in new business.  That’s the wrong reason to raise prices.  Consider grandfathering existing customers as long as practical.   A bit more here:  When You Raise Prices More Than a Smidge … They At Least Look At Another Vendor
  • No rip-off contracts. If the customer can’t deploy you, that’s on you. You let them out of rip-off contracts.  You don’t want prisoners.  They do you no good.  A bit more here: What To Do When A Customer Wants to Cancel A Contract | SaaStr
  • Downgrades are fine, no drama. If you need less the next year, the next month, let customers know we are here for you. More here: A Pause is Better Than a Cancel. And A Downgrade is Not Churn. | SaaStr
  • Make sure every customer would be OK if they knew the price every other customer paid. If that’s the case, everyone got a fair deal. It’s OK to grandfather in early customers — everyone gets that.  But if some customers have unfair deals, crazy discounts, etc. that weren’t early customers … that creates more trouble than it’s worth.
  • Pilots are fine & even encouraged. Without drama. If you need a pilot to get comfortable, you get one. A bit more here: When Not to Offer a Free Trial. Answer: When Your App Simply Can’t Pull it Off. | SaaStr
  • Downtime is disclosed honestly and in real-time. It can be painful to share when your app is down, even just slow. But you owe it to your customers to be honest here.
  • New solutions to more of their problems. Raising prices for the same software isn’t cool. What is cool? Building new, fairly-priced solutions for customers that already trust you. If you already help me with support, maybe you can help me with outreach as well. Etc. Thank you.
  • No need to talk to an SDR if I don’t want to. Don’t qualify me out. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t in-bound.
  • Year 2, 3, 4 .. and 10 are earned. What are you doing to earn the renewal? Just because you may get it in SaaS fairly easily in many cases … did you earn it?
  • Customers can buy the way they want to and are used to. Monthly instead of Annual? So be it. Maybe for a higher cost, but so be it. 3 Years for a discount? Well, OK. There often have to be limits here. But wherever possible, allowing customers to pay and buy the way they are used to paying and buying takes a lot of friction out of the process.
  • Professional services that are awesome. Free though not always important. If your product benefits from professional services, having a truly A+ team really helps. Services don’t have to be free, especially in the enterprise. It’s more important they are awesome. A bit more here: Don’t Forget the Services Revenue | SaaStr
  • Support in minutes, not hours or days. If I need help, I should just get it. A human being should answer the chat. Should pick up the phone. Should respond to my email. Not in hours or days. But now. Your customers’ time does matter. Why do they need to wait? Yes, doing this right is hard.

At least, maybe take a look at this list.  See if you can quickly upgrade a few things you aren’t doing as well as you could.   Maybe even go down this list with your senior team.  It may inspire them to do a few radically more customer-centric things than you are doing right now.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic post)

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