Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Mauro Carniel, Rostyslav Demush, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing, @DXWorldExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

On-Boarding Must Be First in the Age of the Consumer By @CPrimault | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Part 2 of Welcome to the Age of Consumer

In the previous article "Welcome to the Age of the Consumer: No Opinion Matters More," we spoke about how we have entered a time (from which there is probably no return) when it doesn't matter whether the customer is always right or not--this is the voice that will drown out the rest. As a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, you are competing with more noise and competition than ever. Your target audience is more likely to listen to a review from an untrained user than the pundits of the SaaS industry or even your sales reps.

Now we go into how to take advantage of those essential first few days or even minutes that you have your potential customer's attention in order to follow through on heightened expectations of stellar customer service.

On-boarding must be tailored by use case

"I can't tell you how many companies think they have adopted a CRM, but use their spreadsheets and then log in once a month to update sales numbers," Coffee said. "There's a difference between buying and adopting it."

While still protecting customer data, it's essential for SaaS providers to use monitoring software to understand if their customers are using their apps and how it's being used.

"All we do at Salesforce is we know if it's being used. We don't see the customers' data but we can tell if a customer is using certain features and aren't, and we can rifle-shot their training." Coffee says all this can be done in two minutes.

He argues that the problem with most trainings, webinars or demos are that they are too general and lose users' attention early in. Trainings must focus on what you the end user is trying to get done.

"Taking traditional software and delivering it over a wire isn't redefining IT. It just changes our whole culture, as success being ‘customer bought the thing' to success being defined as ‘customer is happy with the outcome'," as typically defined as bumps or blockages in the renewal process. "Once the customer has adopted, you need to be working all the time so that every day it makes it harder to imagine not having you."

Coffee argues it's time that the SaaS industry fall back to the basic questions: "Mr. Customer, are you getting what you want sooner, at a predictable cost with confidence in the protection of your data and confidence of your future with us?". "There's a difference between buying and adopting it."

While still protecting customer data, it's essential for SaaS providers to use monitoring software to understand if their customers are using their apps and how it's being used.

"All we do at Salesforce is we know if it's being used. We don't see the customers' data but we can tell if a customer is using certain features and aren't, and we can rifle-shot their training." Coffee says all this can be done in two minutes.

He argues that the problem with most trainings, webinars or demos are that they are too general and lose users' attention early in. Trainings must focus on what you the end user is trying to get done.

"Taking traditional software and delivering it over a wire isn't redefining IT. It just changes our whole culture, as success being ‘customer bought the thing' to success being defined as ‘customer is happy with the outcome'," as typically defined as bumps or blockages in the renewal process. "Once the customer has adopted, you need to be working all the time so that every day it makes it harder to imagine not having you."

Coffee argues it's time that the SaaS industry fall back to the basic questions: "Mr. Customer, are you getting what you want sooner, at a predictable cost with confidence in the protection of your data and confidence of your future with us?"

This is certainly a case where B2B software needs to follow suit with B2C.

"When you first sign up for Facebook, you don't have any connections. If you don't have any, you don't use it. We are going to spend the first 30 seconds of our life together to make sure you get connections -- import email, suggest connections," Murphy said. "It's just getting people past that blank screen, started immediately, whether it's higher touch or self started."

Customer success needs to become the area where B2B SaaS are allocating more and more funds.

"In the past, it was ‘I'm going to tell you about what you do,' then it was ‘I'm going to show you what we do,' now it's going to be ‘You can try it,' and soon it's going to be ‘I'll do at least some of it for you'."

Essentially, you as a service provider need to do whatever you can to get people using your SaaS immediately and in a way that's outcome-focused.

"The biggest cause of churn--aside from just completely overselling a product and mismanaging expectations--is a botched or protracted onboarding process, especially those that have longer-term contracts when there's less pressure for onboarding and then those companies have higher churn, " Murphy said.

Since SaaS is mainly a subscription-based service, churn is easily measurable by the customer lifetime value. The next step is to use other SaaS to start to quantify success within the product. Using gamification to guide users along, but also alerting your customer success team to people trying the product on a free trial and new users who aren't using part of the tool.

This will also soon expand into identifying moments for upsell solely based on the way your customer is interacting with your service, a la the Amazon recommendation engine.

"It doesn't mean that the customer always comes first, but we aren't going to build our products in a vacuum," Murphy said.

Service expectations must be clear and followed through

Having a customer success team isn't exactly a stalwart of the lean start-up. That's why expectations for customer support must be managed and maintained from your website's pricing details to onboarding to upselling to renewal.

"What seems to be happening to a few of these SaaS companies, basically a company starts up, they have their tech team, their marketing team and their sales team. Focusing on growth. And very little is spent on retaining and supporting the existing users. I think a lot of people sign up for Software X for 10.99 a month and expect specific support, but in actuality they have to wait 12 hours because they are in the wrong time zone or support is only via email," said Griffiths, who works exclusively in the cloud. "The companies I stick with are those that have really good support," citing Intercom and Sentry for having particularly personal and fast support.

Some say being bootstrapped might give you an advantage in offering well-managed support. Rick Chapman of Softletter SaaS experts argues that "The larger you are, the poorer you are at renewing because you are bureaucratized, not responding to customer."

Either way, there's no doubt that whatever customer support you offer needs to be international.

Talking about the CRM he co-founded, "Close.io, with an English-only site, no marketing, fully focused on U.S., yet 40 percent international. Once you are out there and actually successful, you can't stop a global audience." Efti believes that the modern SaaS buyer is shopping for a mix of price, value and usability, not based on neighborhood.

Web Informant David Strom says the challenge is to "not only distinguish themselves, but they have to be able to support the rest of the world," saying it's "very short-sighted to only want to sell to U.S. and Canada." Strom argues that just about every SaaS company needs to hire multilingual customer support and to target new markets.

Efti believes though that it goes beyond being able to serve each customer, but also about how to serve them. "I think most SaaS businesses really need to refocus their efforts on really getting to know their customers. Have tens hundreds thousands of customers and haven't actually visited their offices in last six months," in order to understand the context of their business and how they really use or try to use these SaaS tools. "Not just analytics or surveys, see how they are actually using it, actually spending time with your company," Efti clarified. "This is really old school doesn't seem scalable and that's why it's a truly visionary."

He says it's obvious this type of contact is often overlooked by SaaS providers "because we are so tech run, and so focused on running scalable processes and businesses, we dismiss the old school truths of building relationships and understanding your customers."

Automating Customer Service Means Big Money

Customer service software has become a multi-billion-dollar industry as a way to manage calls from a growing customer base.  Here's a brief overview of some of the huge deals to fund help desk software, making it easier--but certainly not easy--to offer great customer service.

Murphy said that "The success of our customer is not about them using a CRM, the functional use of our products. At the end of the day the success of a customer of a CRM product is that they close more deals," which he says has led to "Traditional software companies acquiring disruptive ones, [like] Salesforce acquiring RelateIQ."

Haven't read Part 1: "Welcome to the Age of the Consumer: No Opinion Matters More," yet? Well, what are you waiting for? We talk about how SaaS providers need to take advantage of our lemming-like culture to take advantage of user reviews and social media in order to win with the biggest influencers of SaaS: You.

More Stories By Christophe Primault

Christophe Primault is the co-founder of GetApp, the #1 Cloud based Apps Marketplace. His aim is to provide tips and advice on how businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, can benefit from cloud-based apps and improve their bottom line. In my spare time he enjoys mountaineering, water sports and long distance triathlons. He's a proud IronMan finisher. You can follow him on Twitter @GetApp

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...