October 2017

Skin in the Game, Part 2: Being Proactive

By Christian Nentwich, CEO

This is part two in a series of three on the service culture at Duco and how SaaS companies are different from deployed software. Check out part 1 on audit here.

SaaS companies continuously have to justify their value to customers. We get paid on recurring revenue based on usage, so our success is closely aligned with our clients’ success.

You don’t get that with the traditional on-premise software model: an upfront licence fee, professional services costs and multi-year terms where the incentive to go beyond the call of duty is low.

Changing the support model
Customer Success Management has become a “thing” in the SaaS industry for a reason. At Duco, it means constantly asking ourselves:

  1. How well are we providing value for this client?
  2. Is the client, in turn, achieving success for her or his stakeholders?

At Duco, we have no access to our clients’ data, but we do pay attention to important metadata and that enables us to measure some of these things and get on top of them. Let’s look at what happens when:

A customer’s submitted volume drops off
The old way: there’s clearly a problem but the first time the vendor hears about it is when the customer raises a ticket. The vendor spends the entire time in reactive mode.

The Duco way: we constantly track volume and if there’s a drop we get on the phone to proactively address any issues. We can then come on site, offer to retrain staff free of charge, or whatever else it takes to fix the problem.

Web browser response times deteriorate
The old way: the customer is frustrated. They may never say so. Or maybe they raise a ticket, but  the vendor struggles to reproduce, has to park somebody on site for a month and there’s a patch six months later.

The Duco way: we review this metric continuously and can roll out a speed-fix in the next monthly update or even intra-day.

A reconciliation process crashes (shock, horror – we run thousands of these things, it can happen!)
The old way: the customer raises a ticket, waits as they approach their end-of-day deadline, vendor scrambles.

The Duco way: we will always know about a crash before the client knows. By the time we notify them, we’ve already started to fix it.

A shift in the market
Running a modern SaaS business means adding a whole new level to the traditional client services function. We’ve developed the capabilities, technology and service model to be proactive at all times. Waiting for the phone to ring doesn’t work. Waiting for tickets doesn’t work.

As a result we’ve focused on finding highly-skilled individuals with the capacity to diagnose issues proactively, resolve them and communicate effectively with our clients.

Thinking through how to use all this wealth of information to provide better service becomes a skill in itself. This presents us with a continually evolving opportunity to focus on how to add value back to our clients, establishing a new benchmark and best of breed service model.

Part three in this series will be about solving the software upgrade problem for a mission critical SaaS service.