News & Updates

Successful SaaS Adoption Takes a Human Touch

By R. J. Stangle / February 15, 2016

Blog Humanelement

In order for businesses to enthusiastically adopt service providers’ SaaS offerings, the right amount of human assistance is required at multiple points along their journey to the cloud.

As demand for cloud services increases among small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), more and more service providers are launching cloud application marketplaces to meet this growing trend.

It makes sense. SMBs typically don’t have the time, resources or expertise to find and evaluate all the business applications that could help their businesses grow.

Through a cloud marketplace, a service provider could do that job for them, providing a simple one-stop-shop for the SMB to find, buy and manage all of their essential business apps, while offering a convenient way to pay for what they use as part of their existing monthly bill.

However, in order to maximize the retail success of a cloud marketplace, drive revenue and retain customers, service providers need to leverage the “human element” and offer expert, human-powered services to sell, onboard and support end-users, so that their journey from purchase to productivity is paved for success.

What is the Human Element?
The human element is when live experts are made available through the marketplace to support end users and act as trusted technical advisors.

For example:

  • Asking smart questions about the customer’s business and guiding the customer to appropriate applications
  • Helping with all elements of cloud onboarding including setup, deployment, migrations as well as training and tutorials
  • Guiding customers through features and functions of their cloud technologies
  • Solving complex technical problems when they arise

Human assistance is especially important during “onboarding” i.e. the first critical days after a SMB signs up and users begin using the applications. This is when users require the most help and are most vulnerable to become frustrated and abandon the service.

Bain & Company reports that a customer is four times more likely to deflect to a competitor if a problem is service-related versus price or product-related.

Knowing this, it’s clear that having an expert available to guide the SMB during this critical onboarding period is essential to demonstrating the value and benefits of a cloud application and keep users coming back— both to the application and to the marketplace.

A positive onboarding experience can have significant influence on the long-term success of the customer/brand relationship, opening new opportunities to recommend and sell other cloud services over time.

Moments of Truth

McKinsey & Company found a strong correlation between human-based customer service and customer loyalty.

In one survey 70% of customers cited poor customer service as a reason for not buying from a brand. As the study’s authors state:

"What’s regularly missing, in our experience, is the spark between the customer and frontline staff members — the spark that helps transform wary or skeptical people into strong and committed brand followers. That spark and the emotionally driven behavior that creates it explain how great customer service companies earn trust and loyalty during “moments of truth”: those few interactions (for instance, a lost credit card, a canceled flight, a damaged piece of clothing, or investment advice) when customers invest a high amount of emotional energy in the outcome."

For SMB marketplace customers, such “moments of truth” include that very first experience after they’ve purchased a new cloud service or those times when an application doesn’t perform as expected and critical work is not getting done.

They need experts to show them what to do to get their business apps up and running, resolve issues when something doesn’t work right, and help them find additional tools they may need.

This quality of support is one only people can provide. Specifically, people who possess both the technical knowledge and emotional and cultural sensitivity to respond competently and appropriately — and who are available to respond when they are needed.

Check out our SMB support services to learn more about how AppHelp and AppDirect are making the human element a core part of the software sales and onboarding experience.

To learn more about how we can help power your cloud strategy, contact us anytime!