The Art of Service: Why SaaS Companies Should Prioritize the Human Touch

By: Matt Klepac, CEO of Vertify

According to a survey performed by PwC, two thirds of consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of the customer experience. Three quarters say they want more human interaction in future, not less. This international survey by PwC surveyed over 15,000 consumers across 12 countries. When it comes to Software as a Service (SaaS), the spotlight often shines brightly on the product itself. The features, functionality, and innovation of the software take center stage, and rightfully so – after all, it’s the primary reason customers invest in these solutions. However, in the pursuit of perfecting the product and ensuring seamless delivery, SaaS companies can sometimes overlook the crucial element that binds it all together: exceptional service.

And according to the survey, this human touch is needed and desired. 

Let’s draw a parallel with the world of gastronomy, where renowned five-star restaurants like Azurmendi, Le Bernardin, and Mirazur set the standard not only for delectable cuisine but also for impeccable service. In these establishments, the dining experience is elevated to an art form, where the service itself becomes a product of paramount importance. SaaS companies could – and should – learn from the age old art of gastronomy and the service within.

The SaaS Customer Service Paradox

SaaS companies, in their relentless pursuit of cutting-edge features and unparalleled functionality, can (and, in my humble opinion, have) inadvertently created a paradox. SaaS solutions often show a relentless pursuit of scaling their customer counts through new and improved product offerings, yet they lose human contact in the process. While the product is undeniably the heart of their offering, the absence of a human touch layer can diminish the overall customer experience. And in some cases, the human service layer exists, but these SaaS companies are simply not investing in this layer which becomes glaringly obvious to the customer. 

The fact is, if you’re a SaaS company that cares about the customer and your customers’ experience but you are struggling with churn or very low customer satisfaction scores, the solution may very well be to invest in the human element and not another widget. Striking a balance between growing your customer base as you grow your ability to give your customers great service is key. 

In our business of customer data integration, we know better than most just how challenging data integration can be for mid-market and enterprise customers. The fact is, data never takes the happy path. Therefore, we have learned through both success and failure that when data takes a wrong turn, it is critical to have an established human layer to ensure our customers achieve the outcomes necessary to enable growth and trust within their business processes. 

Lessons From Culinary Excellence

Imagine stepping into a five-star restaurant renowned for its gastronomic delights. As you savor each meticulously crafted dish, it’s not just the flavors that captivate you – it’s the seamless orchestration of service. Attentive staff, personalized recommendations, and a genuine desire to exceed your expectations contribute to a dining experience that transcends mere sustenance. It’s the hot towel, the details of the place settings, and the waitstaff who anticipate your every need that are true and meaningful differentiators. 

Similarly, SaaS companies should recognize that customer interactions extend beyond the digital realm. A human element layer, akin to the waitstaff at a fine dining establishment, can elevate the overall perception of the product and foster long-lasting relationships. But, this human layer cannot consist of only a customer success team that schedules quarterly or annual QBRs. This is where CS orgs at SaaS companies are getting it wrong. If the human layer exists within your SaaS company, it is time to analyze it and put it up against the best of the best in the culinary world. 

The Human Touch in SaaS Customer Service

  • Personalized Onboarding: Just as a sommelier guides you through a curated wine list, SaaS companies should offer personalized onboarding experiences. Tailoring the introduction of the product to the specific needs of each client ensures a smoother transition and sets the stage for a positive journey. This is the place where expectations are set and everyone is aligned to common goals and outcomes. This is the first taste of the wine, and thus, your future experience will be measured off of this engagement for months to come. 
  • Responsive Support Teams: Much like the attentive waitstaff at a top-tier restaurant, responsive and empathetic support teams are the backbone of SaaS customer service. Swift issue resolution and proactive communication demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Anticipation of Needs: Exceptional service anticipates the customer’s needs before they even arise. In the SaaS world, this means providing intuitive interfaces, anticipating potential pain points, and continuously refining the user experience. Service that exceeds the customer’s expectations brings challenges to the customer before they even know they exist, but they don’t just drop the challenge in their lap like a crisp, clean napkin. No, they deliver the challenge and accompany it with the solution or a set of solutions that drive desired outcomes.

86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Winning SaaS Retention

Investing in the human service component in SaaS businesses plays a crucial role in mitigating churn, contributing to customer retention and long-term satisfaction. In addition to personalized onboarding, responsive support, and the art of anticipating needs, here are several ways in which the human touch can positively impact customer churn:

Proactive Communication
  • Mitigating Churn: Regular communication, beyond issue resolution, helps keep customers informed about updates, improvements, and best practices. Proactive engagement prevents customers from feeling neglected and potentially seeking alternatives.
  • Human Element: Human service teams can proactively reach out to customers, offering insights, tips, and personalized recommendations. Layering in the ability for customers to become “Certified” on your technology empowers them to do more with your tech while also advancing their career. This not only adds value but also showcases a genuine interest in the customer’s success.
Customer Education and Training
  • Mitigating Churn: Educated customers are more likely to fully utilize the features and capabilities of the SaaS product. Providing ongoing training and resources helps customers maximize the value they derive from the software, reducing the likelihood of churn due to underutilization.
  • Human Element: People can facilitate training sessions, create educational content, and offer guidance based on a deep understanding of the customer’s specific use case. This personalized approach enhances the educational experience. I would encourage these people to utilize AI and other automation training tools to facilitate their training, but there is no substitute for a conversation with a kind and confident human.

A TSIA study found that 68% of customers report using products more after training, while 56% use more product features than they would if untrained.

The Recipe for SaaS Success

In the culinary world, the synergy between exceptional food and impeccable service defines a five-star dining experience. Similarly, SaaS companies can carve their path to success by balancing product excellence with a commitment to the human touch.

Just as a world-class restaurant strives to leave a lasting impression on its patrons, SaaS companies should aim to create an indelible mark through memorable customer interactions. In a landscape where innovation is the norm, it’s the fusion of cutting-edge technology and unparalleled service that sets industry leaders apart.

While the allure of a groundbreaking product is undeniable, the true magic happens when SaaS companies embrace the notion that service is not just a complement to the product – it’s a product in itself. Just as a sumptuous meal is enhanced by impeccable service, the SaaS journey becomes extraordinary when the human touch is woven into the very fabric of the customer experience. 

I am going to leave you with this in the hopes that it makes you think and drives you towards investing in selfless service for your SaaS customer base. Your customers’ perception of how your company treats them is a critical area for you to invest in. Perceptions affect behaviors, and listening is a service. Today, build memories and feelings to drive customer loyalty through both the human element and the products you deploy.

About Vertify

Vertify offers a broad suite of automated data integration solutions, complete with data cleaning tools and automated multidirectional integration between platforms, including multiple CRM integrations at scale. Vertify is a people-first organization that leads by listening while delivering the system of record for revenue operations professionals across the globe. Get started today, and see Vertify in action!