Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is still driving strong growth in the tech sector, with growth rates projected to reach 20%, according to Forrester analysts. An increasing share of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are SaaS-based, and it’s easy to see why SaaS is a popular choice for CRM. One key driver is that outsourcing IT and infrastructure maintenance to the SaaS provider saves companies a lot of money.
But companies should be careful that they don’t mistake the technology for the relationship; even in the SaaS age, the personal touch still matters. For too many businesses, technology tools that offer a great way to manage data, augment customer communication and plan strategies turn into methods for hiding from customers or clients and avoiding personal interactions with the people they serve. This leads to lost opportunities for improving products and letting employees shine during customer interactions.
As more and more companies automate products and service delivery, personalized customer service is a way to differentiate themselves from competitors. Relationships – built via good old-fashioned conversations and in-person collaboration – allow customer service and product development professionals to spot new opportunities for innovation and partner with clients and customers to help them become more successful.
The key to maximizing the value of the personal touch is to make sure employees understand the brand and give them the power and time to embody it in their own ways. For example, a SaaS solution that helps client companies manage customer contacts at a call center or retail establishment can be a wonderful tool, but it can be even better when the SaaS provider takes the time to visit the client onsite and see for themselves how the client uses the technology on a daily basis.
That level of interaction not only strengthens interpersonal relationships – and consequently makes the relationship between the two companies stronger – it can lead to exciting new product features and solution development. During an onsite visit, the SaaS rep has an opportunity to create a strategic alliance, working closely with the customer to fully understand what the client is trying to do for customers, and then help boost success at a higher level.
Helping the client find success may involve providing support when a problem arises. It might entail spotting a fresh new application for an existing technology. It will certainly require a great product. But it will also necessitate a great relationship – and contrary to popular belief, there’s really not an app for that.
Founder, President & CEO of SPLICE Software, Tara Kelly (@tktechnow), has a passion for enabling clients to engage in a meaningful, Data Driven DialogTM with their customers. As a serial entrepreneur who has developed three companies, Tara's expertise is multi-dimensional but ... View Full Bio