6 UX Improvements to Increase Customer Trust in Your B2B SaaS Products
by Sara Patterson, on 25 Mar 2021
Customer experience (CX) has been the driving force behind many successful organizations throughout the years. For example, financial management company Workday assigns every client with a dedicated customer success manager to help them create plans and reach their business goals. Meanwhile, cloud vendor IBM dispatches a team of specialists to help customers integrate their existing processes into their software. Other successful companies like Uber, JetBlue, and FedEx also have a variety of CX processes in place that helped them grow into the powerhouses that they are today.
However, it’s only recently that the business-to-business (B2B) market has begun embracing this customer-first business philosophy. Workday and IBM are good examples of CX's potential in B2B success.
Research from consulting firm McKinsey found that the B2B market’s CX ratings scored below 50% — far lower than business-to-consumer (B2C) market averages of 65% to 85%. B2C relies on CX to make their product or service more appealing and “sticky” so customers become loyal fans. For example, Alibaba offers chatbot support to help people navigate their websites, and Spotify uses AI to deliver personalized music recommendations for its users.
Due to the effectiveness of CX in B2C and its role in appealing to changing customer expectations, the importance of CX has begun migrating into the B2B sphere as well. Of course, while CX can include other factors, like great customer service and an easy-to-navigate product page, the biggest part of it is user experience (UX), particularly for companies with a software product and/or ones that heavily rely on digital interactions with their market. However, due to all the software functionality and features needed to be built into enterprise-level products or highly technical software, UX is more difficult to achieve in B2B SaaS compared to what consumers tend to want from fun phone apps.
So what if your geospatial modeling or AI-powered sales software isn't easy to use? If customers need the functionality, they won’t care, right? And, clever features are what win users, right? Wrong.
Luckily, there are many ways to improve your software's UX without sacrificing power and functionality.
Here are some of our tips:
1 / Optimize your onboarding process
Buyers’ remorse happens in B2B as well, so you must work on your onboarding process so that it is deliberately and strategically designed.
There’s no one way to onboard every customer.
To decide what is right for your company, interview your customers. Do they want a white-glove approach from your team or more of a self-serve model where they can access help files in a knowledge base and ask a community for advice?
Consider your market positioning and price point. If you charge a premium and need to be heavily involved in an implementation process, work with each user individually. You should know about the business challenges they’re looking to solve. This will allow you to develop an onboarding plan that revolves around parts of your software they’re going to use the most and the functions that can solve their problem.
If you sell a product that is at a lower price point or is perhaps handling a customer that prefers self-service, you can build onboarding drip email campaigns with your marketing software and even trigger in-app notifications and product tours with tools like MixPanel, Amplitude, and Heap.
There is no maximum number of days for SaaS training; it should last until your customer is satisfied with the results your product is delivering.
2 / Offer comprehensive training
Business leaders and IT teams may know the basic functions of your product from the demos they attended while making a purchasing decision, but their end-users don’t. This is why product training is just as important to UX as the onboarding process.
Your training materials need to be comprehensive and easy to understand. You can incorporate scenario-based learning, for instance, where you walk users through the product’s uses with a customer story.
You can also conduct training with a series of pre-made videos and other materials that users can access through a portal or on your YouTube channel. Video allows users to digest the content at their own pace — plus, you’ve now created content that will help the users you have trained teach new hires in the future as well.
In fact, even if you’re conducting live training via webinar, make sure to send a video recording afterward, so attendees can revisit the material in the future.
3 / Build a strong customer support teamSome SaaS products are inherently complicated to use. Software tends to need frequent updates, especially with evolving tech advancements and changing market demands. Whichever problem your customers are facing, a reliable live support team should be available to tend to them.
For instance, not only does our team stick around after we've helped clients install and configure their third-party SaaS tools like HubSpot, we make sure to be there for troubleshooting. Our approach involves providing as much support to our customers as they need depending on their level of experience with SaaS technology.
To discover whether or not your business has a strong customer support team, it helps to have measurable KPIs like:
- Average reply time
- Average handle time
- Average resolution time
- Customer satisfaction score
4 / Minimize server errors
The last thing you want your customers to experience is unexpected downtime caused by server-side errors. The power delivery system of new technologies — including servers — are complex and powerful. If they're not maintained well, they could shut off at any time.
Many of Strategic Piece’s clients build their software in the cloud using third-party services like AWS and Azure to help minimize downtime and maximize cybersecurity.
If you operate your own servers, maintenance and upgrades are critical and must be regularly scheduled. Hopefully, someone is constantly monitoring your server performance to anticipate any issues associated with growing user demand.
Newer SaaS solutions created using infrastructure-as-code methods still face performance risk, especially when testing new versions.
Installing monitoring tools like CloudFormation and Loggly can help you identify problems faster — thereby minimizing the impact on UX.
5 / Make the UI easy to navigate
SaaS products tend to solve technical issues, like lead generation, customer management, workflow management, energy trades, eDiscovery, geophysical modeling, and data aggregation. Your product's functionality is never going to be simple. But you can still make intuitive software that is simple to use.
Plus, over time, as you add more features, your product may start to seem like a Frankenstein interface to newer users who didn’t know the original logic and organization. So, you will need to keep an eye on how new features are organized in the context of the whole product so that your product remains just as intuitive while it becomes even more powerful.
For example, marketing platform MailChimp integrates many complex functions like data analytics, management tools, and content creation into one easy-to-use platform. All the features are accessible on one dashboard, sorted into categories.
Users should never have trouble looking for the features they want to use.
6 / Create a long-term UX roadmap
It’s nearly impossible to create one product UX roadmap that works for everyone who will use your software, as they each have different needs and prioritize different functions.
I recommend making unique roadmaps for each type of customer (or groups of similar users) that you can fulfill over time.
Divami Design Labs emphasizes that UX design is an iterative process, where the design is continuously enhanced to meet end-users’ needs. The perfect product UX — if such a thing exists — will only come after a series of tests and adjustments.
Ask for feedback; see how users interact with your service, again, with tools like MixPanel and Heap. Solicit comments on potential features that you think might improve their experience — anything from simplifying menus to automating functionality.
The bottom line
When you make your products easier to use and your company easier to work with, customers become more confident in you and in your company as a B2B solutions provider and partner.
Above all, put your customers' interests at the forefront of every decision. A great UX design is just one way to do that.
Photo Credit: Unsplash