5 customer service mistakes made by SaaS companies

Despite having the word “service” baked right into their category name, SaaS companies sometimes come up short in serving the customer rather than chasing the next sale.

In its 2015 Customer Experience ROI Study, Watermark Consulting makes the case that the ROI of great customer service, while potentially nebulous in the short-term, is unmistakable when analyzed over time.

[bctt tweet=”The ROI of great customer service is unmistakable when analyzed over time.”]

To quote the report: “The competitive opportunity implied by this study is compelling, because the reality today is that many sources of competitive differentiation can be fleeting. Product innovations can be mimicked, technology advances can be copied, and cost leadership is difficult to achieve let alone sustain. But a great customer experience, and the internal ecosystem supporting it, can deliver tremendous strategic and economic value to a business, in a way that’s difficult for competitors to replicate.”

Where do companies go wrong—and which red flags should you watch for when choosing a SaaS partner?



Segmentation often makes good, pragmatic sense, but it can also be a slippery slope; some businesses seem to have as many tiers as they have customers. This is a recipe for confusion on both ends, and may be symptomatic of an organization that’s looking to do as little as possible for non-Goliaths, even if it risks throwing those customers into the annual churn.


Lack of options

Companies used to be castles. To gain access, customers had to proceed in orderly fashion through a designated gate. Some SaaS companies still proceed in this fashion; “if you want us to dignify your question with a response, you must send us an email!” Service-oriented companies make it a point to meet their customers in the middle.

“The Leading companies leave nothing to chance,” says the Watermark study, drawing a line between Leaders and Laggards . “They understand the universe of touchpoints that comprise their customer experience and they manage each of them very intentionally.”

And it’s not just about channels and touchpoints. Think about customer service in terms of format, too. Some people like articles, some people prefer videos, some would rather hop on an interactive webinar or attend more immersive in-person training.


Lack of empowerment

The most important option may be giving customers tools to get the answers themselves, or to get answers from each other. We’ve seen great examples of members of our iMeet Central community educating and inspiring each other.

“Customers hate being forced to contact you for what I call Stupid Stuff™,” says High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service author Micah Solomon. “If it’s something customers are likely to ask about, either fix it so there’s no question to ask next time or make the answer easy to find without having to contact you.”


Mistaking the meaning of silence

A lack of tickets isn’t proof of a happy customer or a guaranteed renewal. “It’s our nature as businesspeople, especially when we’re busy, to assume that no news is good news,” writes Solomon. “…But with an SaaS or subscription model, no news is at best ambiguous news.”

And even happy customers aren’t necessarily customers who are deriving maximum value from their investment. Customer service shouldn’t always be reactive. Look to partner with teams that will proactively resolve issues, reward loyalty, and provide learning opportunities.


Hiring people who shouldn’t be talking to the public

Obvious, perhaps, but let’s not overlook the obvious! For all the new platforms, tools and metrics that are available to drive customer support and success, it’s still a people-powered business.

Speaking of which: if you’re interested in joining an award-winning team, we currently have an open position for a customer success manager!


Post by Adam McKibbin

Adam McKibbin is the content marketing manager for iMeet Central. His writing has been featured in Adweek, the Chicago Tribune and The Nation, and he’s produced content for some of the leading tech brands on the Fortune 500.