Software as a Service (SaaS) applications like PipelineDeals, MailChimp, and Dropbox are one of the fast-growing sectors of the software market. Here at PipelineDeals, we don’t aspire to be just another SaaS company. For us, SaaS stands for Service as a Software.
SaaS vs. SaaS
Why the distinction between SaaS vs. SaaS? Historically, software shops have hidden behind buried or unlisted phone numbers. Many software companies view customer service as a cost center – something to control and minimize. Their message is clear – taking care of customers is not a priority.
At PipelineDeals, we’ve always looked at things a little differently. When meeting with software startups and emerging entrepreneurs, we pass along the same key advice that Freshbooks Founder and CEO Mike McDerment gave to us: “Make it easy for your customers to reach you. Put your phone number on your home page. And when you put your phone number on your front page, make sure that there is someone friendly to pick up the phone.”
Tony Hseih, the CEO of Zappos, considered customer service a marketing expense from the very beginning. He realized that happy customers tell their friends, and he planned to capitalize on that. The Zappos team will go to extreme lengths to make sure their customers are satisfied; and the customer success stories from Zappos are legendary. Customer service reps will even help you shop on a competitor’s site if they can’t find the right shoe for you on Zappos.
Ask yourself this question – if your product doesn’t have a feature your lead thinks is critical, would you have the courage to connect them with a competitor? Helping others builds trust in your brand. And customers that trust you are more likely to stick with your business. In the case of Zappos, repeat customers make up 75% of their business. Tony’s marketing strategy has worked, and he successfully built a billion-dollar e-commerce brand.
Great Service Builds A Business
Until a year ago, we did not have any dedicated salespeople on staff. We grew our business for 7 years without any sales function. People ask us how we’ve grown and bootstrapped PipelineDeals without a sales team. “No sales team? Really?” Yes, really!
We’ve built a great product and obsessively care for our customers, so we don’t need to rely on aggressive sales strategies to build our business. We focused on developing great customer ambassadors that help people first, and sell second.
Today, all of our salespeople start as customer ambassadors providing customer service and support. They focus on listening to and helping customers with their sales challenges. Once they become full-time account executives, our sales people continue to offer value and assistance during every interaction.
Taking Care of Our Customers Is the First Order of Business
The bar for good service is low in SaaS. I would argue that the bar is on the floor. Many of our competitors continue to be ruthless on the sales front, stemming from the “old days” of software. Conversations with the major software companies usually start with them asking, “How much money is in your wallet?” We ask, “How may I help you?”
Today is a new day in software, and in customer service in particular. Customers rightfully demand more and their expectations have never been higher. Sure, the software has to be good, but it is also important to look at the humans behind the software.
At PipelineDeals, SaaS means Service as a Software. Taking care of our customers is our first order of business.