Over the past several weeks, we’ve been highlighting the most important questions to ask a vendor during the SaaS evaluation process. We’ve discussed security, data retention and ownership, performance and availability, support, enhancements and upgrades, integration, usability, contractual flexibility, and infrastructure.
In our final post in this series, we will talk about customer references. Why are references so important? Because any SaaS vendor worth their weight in salt will be able to cite at least a handful (preferably more) of customers that are happy and satisfied – and are willing to say so.
Inquiring About References
References speak volumes about a SaaS vendor’s viability, as customer satisfaction is often a clear indicator of long-term success. Additionally, nothing will give you more confidence about your decision than going through existing user success stories and assessing how well the SaaS solution performs for other companies. So, be sure to review customer stories and ask to each vendor to provide a short list of customers whom you can speak to, preferably ones with similar needs to yours.
What to Look For
Be wary of any vendor that won’t share customer success stories, or who refuses to let you speak openly to their existing users. You want full access to current clients, so you can ask them their opinion of:
- Solution performance (i.e. how well does the solution work, has it met expectations, and what kind of value have you derived?)
- Uptime and reliability (i.e. is the system always available when you need it?)
- Functionality (i.e. how comprehensive are the features, and how often are new capabilities introduced?)
- Usability (i.e. are the features and functions easy to navigate, were your users able to get up and running quickly, or was extensive training required?)
- Vendor support and responsiveness (i.e. how quickly does the vendor respond when you have a problem, and how knowledgeable and helpful is their service team?)
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The top 10 questions you should ask when evaluating a SaaS solution. Get the new eBook: Smart Questions for Your SaaS Vendor