Software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses have become increasingly popular over the past decade. The success of these business models depends largely on high user retention and low churn rates.
With a relentless focus on user engagement, you can maximise retention by helping customers see the value in your product both quickly and over time.
Let’s take a look at four ways to improve SaaS engagement for your end users.The success of SaaS business model depends on user retention and churn rates—and user engagement is often key to both of them. Click To Tweet
#1. Share New Features
The transition from software licenses to software-as-a-service has transformed the software industry. Rather than trying to sell customers on upgrades, software-as-a-service business models charge an ongoing subscription that includes any updates. Customers don’t have to worry about complex upgrades and companies benefit from recurring revenue.
Of course, subscriptions create a different set of expectations among customers since they’re constantly paying for access. While a software license doesn’t require any ongoing marketing, since the customer already paid upfront, software-as-a-service businesses must constantly justify the value of a subscription to customers over time to avoid attrition.
New feature announcements are one of the best ways to engage with customers. In addition to demonstrating ongoing improvement, new features often improve the user experience and increase the usage and stickiness. By incorporating features into each 2-3 week release cycle, you can keep a constant flow of improvements in the pipeline to engage customers.
Automate Release Notes Notifications – Source: ARN
In addition to these big announcements, Automated Release Notes for Jira can help you automatically convert everyday release notes into customer notifications. These lists of ongoing changes with each release cycle demonstrate that your business is making constant improvements by both introducing features and fixing bugs.
#2. Add Value with Content Marketing
Most customer churn occurs between the time that a customer signs up and the time that they achieve their first success with the product. Oftentimes, a customer signs up with the best intentions to use the service to improve their lives but becomes overwhelmed or lazy when it comes to actually putting the product to use.
A great onboarding process and ongoing customer success outreach can help bridge the gap between those two milestones and help customers see the value in your product. But even after an initial success, the customer may take time to fully embrace the product and incorporate it into their day-to-day workflows.
Content marketing is a great way to provide customers with value while encouraging them to use your product. For instance, you may produce content that targets specific customer problems (by segment) and includes a tutorial on how to use your product to solve those problems with step-by-step instructions.
In addition to adding value to existing customers, content marketing can help bring in new customers through search engine queries. Targeting customer problems with genuinely helpful content is a great way to build rapport with potential customers and ultimately steer them towards using your product to solve them.
#3. Ask for Feedback with Incentive
Customer feedback is an essential component of any software-as-a-service business. In fact, it might be the most important component! By soliciting feedback, customers feel that they have an input in the future direction of the platform and you can be confident that you’re developing features that customers actually need rather than what you think they need.
Feature voting has become one of the most popular ways to solicit customer feedback. Through an open Trello board or other platform (such as our app Roadmap portal for Jira service desk), you can enable customers to vote on features that they’d like to see implemented in your product. These votes and comments form a tight knit community and tell you where the product direction should be headed.
Automated Release Notes’ Feature Voting Platform – Source: ARN
Closed beta programs are another way to solicit feedback and incentivise customers. For example, you may invite your best and longest-term customers to become beta testers for staging applications before they go public. They can provide valuable feedback in exchange for a say in the future direction of the product and early access to new features.
These efforts encourage customers to use the product on a more regular basis and result in better data to drive your own decision-making. If a customer recently canceled, you can provide them an incentive in exchange for honest feedback. Such as a free month of access in exchange for completing a survey about why they canceled.
#4. Nail the Onboarding Process
Onboarding is the cornerstone of customer success. With an effective onboarding strategy, you can help customers that just signed up to experience their first success using the product. This can dramatically impact the likelihood that they will stick around. It’s one of the most important things that you can do to improve SaaS engagement.
The three most popular onboarding strategies are:
- In-App tutorials provide an introduction to a software-as-a-service product through the creation of a sample project or workflow. The goal is to introduce the customer to everything they need to know at the onset to avoid any confusion.
- Email sequences can help encourage customers to take steps each day towards their goals. For instance, you may introduce new features every day or two for the first two weeks. Just to familiarise customers with the product.
- Training sessions are helpful for complex or high-priced products. If a dedicated representative is out of the question, training webinars are a great way to help. They educate a bunch of customers at the same time.
In addition to onboarding, you should be sure to provide ongoing support. The best way to do this is to set up event-driven emails that fire after periods of inactivity. Or having customer success representatives reach out on a consistent basis to answer any questions. These efforts can pay big dividends in terms of lowering customer churn and increasing usage.
The Bottom Line
Oftentimes, maximising user engagement is the best way to reduce churn rate. The four strategies outlined above can help you improve SaaS engagement and minimise the churn rate.
If you’re interested in automating release notes to keep users engaged, try Automated Release Notes for Jira. It takes your Jira issues and automatically converts them into release notes for stakeholders, developers and customers alike.
All in all, increasing SaaS engagement is easier said than done. But with bit of a discipline & effort, it is definitely doable.