The HotLine Magazine Archives
For The Profession of Cloud/SaaS Product Support
A common question keeps coming up in my conversations with SaaS/Cloud CxO’s all across the industry:  “How many Customer Success Managers does it take to keep customers from churning?”  The question appears in other forms, such as “how much CMRR (Contracted Monthly Recurring Revenue) should each CSM be responsible for?”  Or, “How many customer accounts can a CSM handle?”  Staffing…

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There is a growing awareness in the SaaS/Cloud sector that  the loss of a customer, whether from the simple failure to renew or from premature termination of a subscription, is a very serious matter.  The most immediate effect is that the subscription income has stopped.  Worse, if the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) hasn’t been recouped, the account instantly becomes a…

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One of the major challenges facing SaaS/Cloud companies as 2011 begins is accepting the reality of the new industry playing field. This contest won't be won by people who insist on playing by the old rules. When the VC/Investor funding well starts to run dry and the competition kicks in, continued survival and profitability is a function of persistent customer relationships. Yet most players in the on-demand world today still do not have a game plan or even a team designated and accountable for profitably retaining their portfolios of customers. The essential factor of the new era is rapidly becoming insistent: If you aren't actively interested in your customers, the odds are very good that another company will be. It's what you don't know about your customer relationships that is most likely to cause you to lose them. The all-too-critical exposure to risk begins simply with the assumption that there must be somebody in your organization that is paying attention to the day to day continuance of those relationships. As The SaaS & Support Project research has revealed, the true answer in most companies is that this assumption is false; there is no one tracking the most important scorecard.

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There are vital clues and indications in the search strings that bring readers to The HotLine Magazine from around the world every day. “What is the Definition of Customer Support?” “What is the profitability of customer retention?” “Define the SaaS support model.” “Usual customer retention rate for a SaaS company?” “How to profit from SaaS support?” All of these are indicators of the same fundamental problem. Every so often, an inquiry comes along that goes to the heart of the issue and begs for an immediate reply. “Fixing a broken customer support group” is a perfect example, prompting two immediate questions in return. What do you mean by “broken?” And how would you define “fixing?” Almost invariably, the source of serious problems with a customer support group is external to the group itself; they are inevitably strategic errors. Until the senior management team and the support executive or manager understand each other, and work together, producing a truly effective and lasting resolution for the broken group is unfortunately unlikely.

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