Cultivating and Building Long-Lasting Relationships in the SaaS Economy


5 min read
26 May

In this interview, Nir Kalish, Senior Director of Customer Success at Anodot shares the importance of providing a well-rounded and excellent customer experience from start to finish. Nir believes that “relationships are the future of business”.

“Whether you’re fixing negative business incidents or trying to do more of what works, I always believed that if you put the customers first and treat them well, it will come back and pay you in spades”.


Customer Success: The art and science of “people experience”

When I think of CS as an institution, Nir says, “it is compared to a mirror where it shows (or displays) the exact image (organizations DNA) that stands before the mirror glass (customer’s end-to-end experience)”.

In other words, organizations DNA (reflect the customer’s sentiments, opinions, aspirations, personal motivations, business needs, and challenges), and how organizations deal with each challenge (and leverage opportunities at the same time).

CS reflects organizational accountability towards customer’s end-to-end experience (or customer’s journey)

It stands to a reason that the key to (business) success is helping (or enabling) customers find success (on the product or service they’ve subscribed) and helping them realized the value of the partnerships.

This paradox is quite difficult to understand, but from the customer’s viewpoint, the companies that get this right are the only ones that will win their business and trust. For that reason, organizations must have clear-cut strategies on how to solve the pain (or business needs) that need solving.

Predicting success (especially in the B2B world) remains in valuing customer experiences in diverse and dynamic contexts. It can only achieve “IF” they're getting what they’re paying for and setting the proper expectations on how the solution fits on the overall business goals.

Having a good relationship (with the customers) organization can enhance customer satisfaction, improve sales and retention and strengthen employee satisfaction.

There are 3 (three) aspects of customer satisfaction and how business can quantify it.

This is why CS becomes an integral part of the business operation, not just for survival and growth but to discover new outcomes CSMs can deliver (or bring to the table). It is no longer enough to sell software, it is mandatory to facilitate value realization early on.

Improving service satisfaction metrics

The main role of customer success is bridging customer needs and business capability. Often times, customers are not sure of what their specific objectives are.

By clarifying their goals upfront or helping them direct their focus (w/ their preferred outcome), CSMs can steer them towards the solution that is most beneficial and advantageous.

In the SaaS world, the way business keeps customers have evolved from solving problems to building lasting relationships. They now take a longer-term view of the relationship and endeavor to provide as much value from the product or service as soon as the relationship starts.

There are different methods which can help organizations understand how satisfied customers were (with the product or how successful are they with the partnership). These are through the following metrics:

  1. CSAT
  2. NPS
  3. Active users (daily, weekly, monthly)
  4. New users adoption
  5. Churn by reason’s type, renewals and upsells (by upsell reason such as organic, new departments etc)
  6. Customers feedback
  7. Weekly risk/health score
  8. Package usage
  9. Marketing goodies (reference, conferences, design partners, videos, G2croud etc.)

Along with measuring customer satisfaction, it is with high importance to handle customer complaints and how each feedback should be dealt with. CSMs should follow-up with the customers and keep in touch with them regularly to see if things improve (or where the issues stand).

Putting a systematic way of gathering customer’s feedback is paramount. Feedback (loop) can start on the tool/s (in-app) where customers can input their opinion or feedback.

Also, an organization needs to ensure that each of this feedback is recorded (in the CRM) and shared across the organization. Having an open access and full understanding of these interactions will be helpful (for CSMs). In complicated cases, triage with the CS team, the product/RnD or marketing have found useful.

“You can’t improve your service satisfaction metrics if the customer’s feedback hasn’t given the same priority”. Measuring customer satisfaction is no longer a hygienic practice. It’s becoming a commitment and brand promise to begin with.

Measuring customer satisfaction is no longer a hygienic practice, it’s becoming a commitment and brand promise to begin with.

Once you have a clear grasp of these feedback, you can make changes to improve each metric and enhance the overall metrics of your company.

Business framework that foster success

Once the organization identified which metrics drive certain business impacts and behaviors, it’s time to implement some rules on succeeding business goals (or objectives). From the process improvement and innovation standpoints, Nir suggested few critical points to think through:

This business framework fosters agreement on how each other team should work together, communicate with urgency, and plan to succeed, hold meetings with clarity, and communicate effectively. 

Similarly, it gives the organization a “personal touch” on how they want their people to perform and achieve business goals. What you expect them to always be doing and what not to never do.

Bottom line – a close and trusted relationship gives businesses numerous opportunities to learn how customers interact with their product/platform, and help them reach customers through multiple touch points.

This business framework fosters agreement on how each other team should work together, communicate with urgency, and plan to succeed, hold meetings with clarity, and communicate effectively

Engage customers at the critical journey points

“If you earn your customer’s trust, it needs to be kept. It is hard work.”

It all comes back to the idea of “mutual and genuine relationship”. When a company does business lives easier, invariably, customers are no longer paying for the product, they are paying for their outcomes.

When a company does business lives easier, invariably, customers are no longer paying for the product, they are paying for their outcomes.

How we communicate with our customers is critical. It is a balanced approach how to serve your top 80% versus the remaining 20%. It is important to sit down (with the customers) and identify which areas or business KPIs need to focus on.

Aligning with those - with the stories - are pivotal in developing and cultivating business relationships. Remember, every day, (as CSM) our job is to find out and ensure customers are successful. 

The evolution of the customer needs must show every on touch points customers have and through with the business.

The evolution of the customer needs must show on every touch point customers have and through with the business.

“Likewise, feedback from the customer’s is a gift”. I liken their feedbacks to a stock market - it is a long investment and investing with the customers is for a lifetime. You’d have hiccups, however, if you’re listening to your customer, and using those feedbacks constructively, it can be an advantage and can be used in different ways like - improving the product or creating intuitive customer journeys.

Simply put, engaging customers at every phase of conversations does three things: align with customer needs, grow with customers, and be predictable (both for customers and the organization).


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