Zuora is a global leader in subscription commerce and billing, with enterprise leaders and high-growth companies alike using Zuora’s multi-tenant cloud platform to launch, scale, and monetize their subscription services. Zuora’s applications help subscription businesses with pricing, quoting, orders, billing, payments, and renewals. Built from the ground up by SaaS industry veterans from Salesforce.com, PayPal, and WebEx, Zuora services innovative customers like Informatica, Tata Communications, Box.net, Ning, GigaOm, Xplornet, Ustream, and Reed Business Information.
Zuora’s product is a robust and powerful tool that enables business to manage all aspects of billing and subscription services. In order to assist and guide customers in deploying and managing their solution, Zuora created extensive product documentation. The challenge Zuora faced was making their documentation easy to search, navigate and use for their customers.
Initially, Zuora published their documentation in 2 online Wikis, with very limited authoring tools, which only permitted them to post text. They lacked the ability to post images, videos, nor screenshots to help illustrate their documentation. Likewise, the wikis lacked an adaptive search tool nor the ability to be indexed by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Collaboration was impossible and editing and modifying documentation created a bottleneck, preventing essential updated documentation from getting to the customer quickly.
Simply put, in order to maintain the pace of innovation and growth that made Zuora an industry leader, they recognized the need to invest in better tools to author and publish their documentation that could also improve their customer’s product and support experience.
To meet these needs, Zuora chose MindTouch—a unique technology used by millions every day for accessible documentation and product help. The very same day that they deployed MindTouch, Zuora was able to begin collaboratively authoring, importing, and publishing documentation to their new and improved help site. Because MindTouch seamlessly integrates with Zendesk, Zuora’s support professionals immediately began using the new documentation to answer customer questions and resolve issues faster. Furthermore, MindTouch enhances the Zendesk support ticketing system by adding a social layer to product documentation and knowledge assets.
To read more about the amazing results Zuora experiences using MindTouch, click here to read the complete Zuora customer story.
According to a report from market research firm Gartner, spending on SaaS will reach nearly $15 billion this year and will grow to more than $22 billion in 2015.
With SaaS comes a new era in licensing and contracts. Gone are the cushy days of long term blanket software contracts. Oracle knows this – it recently lost its Federal government contract worth hundreds of millions.
SaaS providers are becoming the new norm – but they also face a common challenge: short term contracts that can be year-to-year or even month-to-month.
This leads to a significant challenge: managing customer churn.
SaaS software vendors must constantly prove their worth because if they don’t, they’ll be burned by churn.
David Skok, a five time serial entrepreneur turned VC at Matrix Partners recently hit the nail on the head with his blog “Why Churn is SO critical to success in SaaS” http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/why-churn-is-critical-in-saas/
When you have to fight to keep your customers each and every month, the impact of churn amplifies. In David’s example, imagine a SaaS provider that starts with an MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) of zero, books $10k in revenues the first month and increases $2k every month after that.
Now do the math on a 2.5% churn rate. In a few years, you are losing $64k a month. With a churn rate of 5%, that number is $90k.
Many SaaS Providers are turning to companies like MindTouch to combat churn rates, especially the phenomenon of “latent churn”. “Latent churn” occurs when the product actually performs a necessary function or has the features required by the consumer, but they remain undiscovered and subsequently the product is abandoned in favor of another where success is more easily achieved. As a result, the abandoned product faces somewhat widespread denunciation in social media circles, and suffers a reputational loss regardless of the fact that it would have served consumers’ needs admirably had they been afforded an opportunity to fully understand the product.
MindTouch SaaS customers like Zuora, ExactTarget, SuccessFactors and Intuit have learned that deploying social help systems:
- Reduce customer churn: Social help systems nuture product knowledge, develop user expertise and creates happier customers by improving the product help experience and naturally builds brand advocates. This reduces churn.
- Increase revenue with existing customers: Social helps systems build revenues in a number of ways. Most importantly, social help systems enable smart cross-selling of other products when the company is engaged with a customer. In addition, product managers have a direct line into customer feedback, which improved future product development.
The SaaS world has brought great efficiencies to the IT marketplace. For software vendors to thrive, managing churn is one of the biggest challenges – but it is a challenge easily overcome with social help products like those innovated by MindTouch.
I have young children, so I get the pleasure (and sometimes the pain) of watching a lot of children’s TV shows. The more I watch these shows, I realize that they can teach us a lot about how to implement great customer experiences. It starts with a task.
Children today are taught much differently than when I was a kid. Then it was all about paper and manual processes, now it’s a much more interactive learning process. It prepares kids for what? To enter the Internet and a vendor’s website only to find that it’s still a manual, “paper-based” process?
If you don’t know who Dora the Explorer is, I suggest you find a show online and take the time to watch it. Basically though, it always starts with Dora having some problem to solve or task to complete, and then goes through the process of her solving the problem or completing the task. Now doesn’t that sound like the basic starting point for a customer or prospect as well? Exactly. Read more…
When your company introduces a new product, or a familiar category of product with major new features, there’s a lot of internal excitement about its potential in the marketplace. You know your new product is the best, your beta testers are excited, your developers are psyched and your marketing department has identified the most common use cases for your product and are targeting prospective buyers through email, trade shows, social media and all the usual channels. You may even notice that your beta testers are signing on, there’s a buoyant increase in trial users and a flurry of lead generation activity. So far so good! Right?
Well maybe, but chances are you’re not closing as many opportunities as you were sure you would, and you’ve noticed the early passion for your product has waned. This is why you and your sales reps and your marketing folks are pinching the bridges of their noses and wondering why these prospects can’t see the beauty of the thing you’ve created.
Today’s consumers are digitally dependent and face a continuous state of technical anxiety and a myriad of challenges – new products and applications, software upgrades, data migrations, new operating systems…the list goes on. According to the Pew ReSearch Center, more than half of all digital equipment and software users have logged support tickets to resolve their issues, and more than 60 percent say they feel impatient, discouraged and confused by these issues and the resulting disruption of their digital lives and productivity.
Despite these challenges, more than 75% of computer and digital device users consider themselves savvy enough to confront and solve their own problems and express a preference for doing so. Almost half of those that tried to reach out to customer support were not happy with the support they received. They complain of long service wait times, lack of issue resolution, finger pointing between vendors, and language barriers of the support technicians.
Obviously, the source of user anxiety is clear. Take a majority of consumers who consider themselves savvy, DIY problem solvers and fail to allow them to support themselves in a self-serve environment and you’ve created a product abandonment – customer dissatisfaction powder keg waiting to blow inside your revenue stream, and across the web and social media. Frustrated consumers not only vent to friends and co-workers…they broadcast across Facebook, twitter, YouTube, websites, user groups, forums, anywhere and everywhere they have a voice and an audience.