SaaS Customer Bill of Rights

SaaS Customer Bill of Rights

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When we developed a new product line at my last company, we decided to explicitly put together a "Customer Bill of Rights", which served as a set of organizing principles for our customer success initiative. We did this once we got to around 25 customers, when our product was still relatively immature, but we had gotten a good sense of where it fit in our market.

Our average selling price for this product line was around $6,000 ACV. We did not have enterprise customers -- pretty much everyone paid somewhere between $200-1,000 per month, so this dictated what kind of customer success model we could put in place. Here is what we committed to.

All Customers Have The Right To:

  • A fully functioning and intuitive product
  • High-quality implementation of their product instance
  • Simple access to excellent resources (documentation, training, forums, support) within their product instance
  • The ability to easily provide product and services feedback (ideas, surveys) and evidence that feedback is being appropriately considered
  • Timely, valuable communications about product releases and other important news
  • Proactive assistance in response to signs of difficulty (e.g. non-usage)
  • A means to obtain additional services (e.g. custom training, virtual DBA, consulting) beyond implementation, if desired

Our goal was to give our customers the perception of a "high-touch" customer experience, but to deliver it in a highly scalable manner with gross margins at least in the high 60's. Every customer interaction was done in a one-to-many model (e.g. free weekly training webinars) or else a many-to-many model (e.g. online forums & user groups), except for the following:

  • A single post-sale kick-off meeting (that we nicknamed the "Welcome Wagon")
  • Unlimited technical support via web/email/chat (but not phone) for all users
  • Proactive outreach from a Customer Success Manager when product usage patterns or ROI metrics signaled trouble or showed signs of high value achievement or possible readiness for additional purchase

The best part of doing this exercise was that it forced our various teams -- product management, support, engineering, and customer success -- to come together and jointly commit to this Customer Bill of Rights. There were dependencies to work through -- engineering work was required to capture the usage signals of customer retention risk, and make them accessible to the customer success team. Product management had to make an extra effort to create processes that ensured customers knew where their feature requests stood on our product roadmap.

Defining and committing to our customer success requirements in a Customer Bill of Rights during our first few months of operations, we created a powerful symbol. Customer success had an equal stature to our product roadmap and sales plan that was never questioned, creating a balance that served us and our customers well.

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