4 Highlights from All About the Cloud – It’s All About the Customer

If you are so inclined, most things can be viewed through a lens that turns them into proof points for the importance of a focus on customer experience. It didn’t require much effort, though, to walk away from the SIIA All About the Cloud conference with a sense that success in the cloud is all about customer experience.

Fundamentally, the SaaS business model necessitates an absolute focus on ensuring customer success and delivering positive customer experiences. Without the traditional lock-in provided by on-premise software – now that it’s installed, they’re not going to switch – SaaS companies are forced to put their money where their name is by delivering on the “service” promise. Delivering value to the customer and gaining their trust is the new lock-in.

Some conference highlights from the point-of-view of a customer success-obsessed observer:

  • Hearing about several “NextGen” companies who built their offerings with the customer experience in mind: Armor5’s value proposition features ease of end-user access and xTuple’s 5 minute rule to gauge whether the customer’s first five minutes using the application will be positive.
  • Affirmation of the idea that whoever in the organization is responsible for customer success should have financial incentives associated with that success: Servoy compensates sales people based on the revenue generated by its clients’ applications; Totango’s Guy Nirpaz suggested that Chief Customer Officers have revenue goals driven by retention and cross/up-sell.
  • Highlighting by Shlomo Weiss of SafeNet of the fact that “shelfware” – the purchased and unimplemented software either on-premise or in the cloud – is a significant opportunity for companies that drive adoption.
  • Dissemination by Nick Mehta of Gainsight of the idea that investment in retention is just as important and vital as investment in customer acquisition marketing and sales.