DTC Learnings from SaaS 👀

Hi Team,

Happy Thursday!

This week started off with a bang. Our two-year-old surfed off the bed and into a ceramic planter and walked away with an aggressive gash that needed some needle and thread stitchwork.

In other news, I am finally back in Philly and doing my best to get some work done before Shoptalk later this month. 

Before we kick off with this week’s newsie, I’ve got two quick announcements:

1. This year marks a full two years since I started the CX friends discord, a home and hub for CX’ers to chat about everything CX. 

It started as a fun idea to bring some folks together, but we are now a community of 1200+ incredible CX leaders, with channels to share wins and memes, as well as tech stack Qs, questions about loyalty programs, and so much more.

It’s what I dreamed of having when I started out in CX. If you are in CX or CX adjacent, I'd love to have you. Join here

2. Some of my good friends are hosting a fantastic women-only event later this month, and I wanted to share it with y’all. 

SheInnovates is on March 27th at the Shopify space and is brought to you by Nicole Harvey, Jess Cervellon, & Dillon Duchesne. 

This is an all-day women-only summit celebrating all women founders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in tech and ecommerce. 

It’ll be a jam-packed day of keynotes, interactive workshops, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. (Sponsored by Siena, Yotpo, and some others!)

RSVP here

When I started my career, I had zero idea what I wanted to pursue, and without a degree, I had no starting point at all.

I loved great experiences, whether in hospitality or ecom and in scouring for a job, I landed on a small ecom brand. 

I mentioned this briefly last week, but I was enamored by the idea that SaaS had a “Customer Success” role that sounded so much like “Customer Service” in ecom.

Yet, they were thinking so much more holistically about the customer journey on the SaaS side. 

Yes, the contract value is generally a lot heavier on the SaaS side (and so is the salary), but there is still a lot ecom can learn from SaaS that does not cost much money. 

Funny enough, close to ten years later, I am now on the SaaS side. And boy, I’ve learned quite a bit. 

This week, I’ll take you to the SaaS world and share some learnings I think ecom can take from this side of the curtain. 

Sounds good? 

This week’s newsie is brought to you by Siena AI!

This week, let's shine a spotlight on Siena AI, DTC's secret sauce to scaling empathic, intelligent customer interactions.

What Makes Siena Stand Out:

  • Intuitive Conversations: Siena masters the art of human-like chats, elevating customer satisfaction by understanding nuances and emotions.

  • Beyond Basic Q&A: It's an action hero in AI disguise, adept at resolving issues proactively, from updating subscriptions on Shopify to tweaking delivery details, even taking care of the process of damaged items with its image recognition capabilities.

  • Empowering Your Teams: When faced with complex queries, Siena preps your team with all the right info, ensuring they're ready to tackle escalations with grace.

Spotlight on Success:

Hero Bread™: "Leveraging Siena, Hero Bread™ now handles 10x the support tickets, skyrocketing our automation rate to over 50% since April, without the need to scale our team. A true game-changer in meeting our ambitious sales goals." - Shannon Long, Head of Customer Experience.

Loftie: "With Siena, Loftie answers customer tickets in under 60 seconds, driving significant operational efficiencies and elevating customer engagement, especially for our innovative products like the AI-powered Magic Storymaker." - Matthew Hassett, Founder and CEO.

Superfoods Company: "Cutting ticket resolution times by 40%, Siena has become an integral part of our team, understanding our products and voice, and offering our customers exceptional support that they trust and value." - Kayla Mosebrook, Customer Experience Manager.

With Siena AI, dive into the new era of CX where every interaction counts. Don't just take my word for it; these case studies speak volumes. 

Siena is offering my readers an exclusive 3-month free trial. Just hit up their team and drop my name, Eli Weiss. 

Dive into what empathic AI can do for your business.

Alright, we’ve got lots to talk about. Let’s dive into some things ecom CX can learn from SaaS CS. 

1. Handholding Throughout the Customer Journey

In the SaaS world, a Customer Success Manager (CSM) plays a critical role in guiding customers through their journey, from onboarding to full-scale implementation. 

This involves understanding each customer's unique needs and timelines, monitoring their progress, and stepping in with support, resources, or good vibes exactly when needed.

You’d be shocked how this happens almost NEVER on the ecom side. 🙃

Learnings for Ecom:

Personalize Post-Purchase Communication:  While it's impractical for e-commerce CX teams to maintain one-on-one relationships with every customer, leveraging data from quizzes, surveys, and purchase history can personalize the post-purchase journey. 

For example, if a customer buys a high-end coffee machine, follow-up emails could include setup guides, maintenance tips, and even a curated selection of coffee beans suited to their purchase. 

Making every customer feel seen and supported does not necessarily require a direct interaction with each one.

You know exactly which ad the customer is coming from, which landing page they entered your site on, which products they showed interest in, etc.

Why is your abandoned cart email/sms generic as hell?

Automate with a Human Touch: Utilize automation to send timely, relevant information. If your data shows that customers typically reorder a specific product after two months, schedule a check-in email around that time. 

It's not just a cringey reminder to reorder but an opportunity to ask about their experience, offer assistance, or suggest complementary products. 

This approach combines the efficiency of automation with the personalized care of a dedicated CSM.

2. Proactive Problem Solving

Customer Success Managers are always on the lookout for potential issues that could hinder a customer's success with their software. 

They analyze data, identify patterns, and aim to reach out to offer solutions before customers even realize there's a problem. This prevents frustration and solidifies the customer's confidence in the brand way before the renewal comes around. 

Unfortunately, by the time ecom CX teams know there is an issue, it’s usually far too late. 

Learnings for Ecom:

Anticipate and Address: Ecom CX teams can adopt a similar strategy by analyzing customer behavior and feedback to identify common issues or concerns. 

For example, if data shows that customers often struggle with a specific part of the product assembly, preemptive action can be taken by sending out assembly videos or improved instructions with the product.

Behaviors so often repeat, yet most teams learn nothing from these repetitive behaviors. Truth be told, most SaaS providers have some work to do on diving deep into behavioral analysis as well. 

Utilize Customer Data: Leverage purchase history and customer interactions to anticipate needs and solve problems before they escalate. 

If a customer buys a product that requires accessories or refills, remind them before they run out. This solves the problem and also encourages repeat purchases. 

3. Product Adoption & Value Realization

Ensuring that customers fully adopt and understand the value of the software is key to retention in the SaaS world. 

CSMs work closely with customers to ensure they are using all the relevant features of the product effectively and seeing the intended benefits. Adoption is a huge churn mitigation tool. 

Learnings for Ecom:

Educate Your Customers: Similar to SaaS, e-commerce can ensure customers understand the full value of their purchases. Follow up with educational content highlighting how to use the product, care tips, or unexpected ways to get more value from their purchase.

Most folks who don’t repurchase either hate your product or feel like the expectation you set does not fit the reality that was delivered. If you feel differently, it’s on you to prove as such (if you want repeat customers, that is.)

3. Specialized Support Agents

In the SaaS world,  especially among brands with complex products or features, you might have CSMs that have deep knowledge about specific product features or segments. 

I.e. a CSM that specializes in the data side of the product vs the one that knows a ton about all the features.  

Learnings for Ecom:

Develop Expertise Within Your Team: Create a team of specialists within your customer support staff who have deep knowledge of specific product lines or categories. This could mean having a skincare expert for beauty products or a tech specialist for electronics.

Route Queries Efficiently: Use your CX ticketing platform to route queries about specific products to these specialists. 

This ensures that customers receive the best possible advice and support tailored to the product they're inquiring about, enhancing their overall experience and satisfaction with your brand.

For example, if you sell makeup and skincare, you might have some CX’ers who know makeup really well and others who have stronger expertise on the skincare side.

Route effectively.

That’s it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!

Cheers, 

Eli 💛