April 27, 2019

Ask IH: How do you reach out to your customers to get valuable feedback?

Hello IH,

Hope you're having a great weekend ;).

I'm trying to learn more about how SaaS companies deal with reaching out to their customers at certain points of their lifecycle in order to collect feedback from them.

Feel free to chime in and share what your workflow is.

  1. 2

    In our case because we deal with field experts we’ve been reaching out to folks directly via Twitter or LinkedIn and email. Right now about 4 in 10 have responded and 3 in 10 have actually led to 30-45min phone calls. We’re currently putting together our Partners program in order to secure their commitment.

    What’s worked for us is 1) recognize they’re good at what they do for a reason, in this case I actually go thru and research what they do, why they do it. 2) how do we align? I ask the question and if I can’t answer with ultimate confidence that we’re aligned with the same goals then I don’t bother reaching out/cold-contacting.

    These are my 2 cents and what’s actually for me.

  2. 2

    As long as you can handle it at your company's scale, the best way is for the founder to reach out and ask for a 30-min call. I personally found the in an interactive setting it's the most effective way to get high quality and valuable insights.

    Here some ideas that we apply:

    • We call it an 'evaluation' call. It might be counter intuitive, as true SaaS means that customers just pay every month without actively pausing to reflect wether they are happy, but to get the most critical feedback it's good to have that as a setting.

    • When we schedule call we usually reach out to the employees at our customers that are using our product the most, as well as their boss/report in that way we get both tactical feedback (employee) on the product, and wether our products brings the right value to the company (boss). Both are equally important and focussing on just on of them might give you the wrong picture.

    • Ask critical questions and make sure to let the customer talk. It's good to test your own hypothesis by asking questions, but actual usage and scenarios are way more valuable.

    • Set the right expectation that not all things mentioned immediately become features on end up on the roadmap, but make them feel appreciated and let them know that the call can have great influence on your product.

    • Prepare quite a bit by diving into your analytics or tracking and zooming in to individual behavior from the customers you're in contact with.

    • Lately I prefer to give them some advice on using our product or doing their work in a better way, making sure they get immediate positive results from the call (this can also be suggestions of other tools to use, blogs to read, etc)

    We try to do these calls at least once a year, or when we haven't heard from a customer for a long time. We're a semi-high touch SaaS product with contracts averaging at $10-25k, and a lower amount of customers that a full self service Saas, so we prefer this method. I also really believe it's more valuable than simple statistics from a survey or NPS.

    Aside that, the most valuable feedback we get are from our prospects. Users that are trialing and actively comparing our product with others. Doing a 30-min call with them teaches a lot about the current state of the market and things new users evaluate when buying.

    Good luck!

    1. 1

      Thanks for your thoughtful answer. I'll give it a try but I must admit it is sometimes hard to get customers on a call especially for low-touch SaaS products.

  3. 1

    LinkedIn - I try to connect with as many decision makers in my target markets as possible. From here it's a short and simple message asking "Hi X, Quick question, I was wondering what systems you are currently using at ABC Ltd to deal with Y and what do you like/dislike about that?". From here get a conversation going and always remember to follow-up on any non-repliers.

  4. 1

    Hey Nelson, we just sent out an NPS survey using https://www.wootric.com.

    They've got a free version of their plan but I wasn't the one who implemented the survey so I can't say exactly how it works.

    However, we did get a lot of helpful feedback from this