If users aren’t satisfied with your product, whether it’s cloud computing, wall putty, or cake mix, you have a problem.
When software as a service (SaaS) first started to reach large numbers of users, there were definitely some customer satisfaction hiccups along the way. However, as SaaS has matured, customer satisfaction has risen. In many cases, customer satisfaction with SaaS has surpassed satisfaction with on-site legacy applications. This makes sense, because SaaS offers great pricing, easy implementation, and automatic upgrades without making on-site servers do any heavy lifting. SaaS IT service management (ITSM) is no exception to this trend. Here are some salient points about customer satisfaction with SaaS today.
The “Satisfied to Dissatisfied” Ratio
The Forrester SaaS ITSM Tool Market Overview found that SaaS has a better “satisfied to dissatisfied” ratio than other software delivery models: “While all other models maintain an about 70:30 satisfied / dissatisfied ratio or worse, SaaS is an impressive 88:12. We believe it’s a combination of the benefits above.” Those benefits are ease of use, instant availability, and pay-per-use delivery, and they contrast clearly with older, on-site software delivery models which are perceived as “clunky” and can take months to roll out after major up-front capital investment.
Customer Service: When It’s Good, It’s Very Very Good
Google Apps is one example of SaaS delivery that has prioritized a good customer experience. Whenever a support case is closed, Google Apps asks for feedback and has found that 80% of customers overall and 90% of large business customers report satisfaction with their support experiences. The company has made a satisfaction rating of 95% their goal. Early SaaS offerings sometimes fell short in customer service, but it now appears that SaaS providers have learned their lessons and are increasingly providing the superior customer support their clients demand.
Cost Reduction a Key to Customer Satisfaction with SaaS
NetSuite did their own survey of customer satisfaction and found that 90% of customers rated satisfaction as four or five out of a possible five (satisfied or very satisfied). When asked what the basis of their satisfaction was, one key factor was SaaS’s ability to drive cost reduction. Low up-front cost is one of the SaaS model’s strongest points. According to the NetSuite’s study, “Because the application has been validated by users as an effective tool in cost reduction, deployment footprints at existing customers are more likely to increase rather than decrease.”
Customer Satisfaction Based on Getting the Job Done
As with on-site software, SaaS has to do the job for which it was purchased. Otherwise what’s the point? Salesforce has experienced tremendous success because business executives have found that the software is helping their businesses grow. Businesses using Salesforce have reported “34 percent increase in revenue growth, 17 percent increase in profit margin improvement, and a 25 percent increase in overall customer satisfaction.” This is accompanied by a decrease of nearly one-quarter in customer service and support costs.
Customer Satisfaction and Innovation
Human Resources management software provider WorkDay reports customer satisfaction levels of 99%. That level of satisfaction is not as easy for on-premises vendors to reach due to long rollout times, infrequent updates, and the hassles of running software on-site. WorkDay attributes customer satisfaction to high innovation levels, which are becoming a hallmark of great SaaS delivery. With SaaS, upgrades are automatically implemented, and they’re generally done multiple times per year, contrasted with on-site upgrades that typically only occur every couple of years. SaaS simply allows greater and faster innovation.
With your IT service management program, customer satisfaction is as critical as your IT infrastructure itself. If ITSM doesn’t do its job, productivity and morale plummet. Today, we’re seeing a fundamental shift within the ITSM market to the cloud for the reasons listed above and more.