Great service necessary in SaaS software model

Wednesday 29 August 2007, 9:32AM

There is nothing like walking out of a shop, satisfied with your purchase, product in hand knowing that you have a face behind the sale.

The Internet in some ways has taken that assurance away from the customer and with the masses of choice only a mouse click away the thought of purchasing a product or service online can be quite daunting.

However, the software as a service (SaaS) industry in New Zealand is fast moving from futuristic idea to current day reality and companies offering SaaS are looking for ways to maintain the personal service which has been a big part of historical software sales.

Proactive Software has found great and personal service to be a key part in their success on the global stage.

CEO Julian Stone says customers have said they're surprised to get such personal service when dealing with Proactive.

He says "Don't make sales, build relationships. This is a necessary part of the SaaS business model. Look after your customers as they are the foundation of the business. It's important to keep customers happy month after month to retain their business."

Customers have told Stone that their dealings with people at other software companies, often based in the US, have been rude, lacked callbacks, with slow email responses, making many customers wary of using SaaS where they had little ability to have personal contact with their supplier.

However, Stone says when customers come across a company with good service, they tell people.

Stone has attributed ProActive's excellent response time with sales and support enquiries to their customers satisfaction. When customers build their business on our servers and use our code they must know we will be there if something needs attention.

An average enquiry for ProActive, from point of contact, to response is typically 15-60 minutes, where most of ProActive's customers had said average response times for other software companies was usually measured in days, not minutes or hours.

"If you want to make a sale, sell a good product. If you want to grow a business, sell good service. We've found that most referral sales now come in as a result of ProActive Software's service,” Stone says.

As Stone says “Proactive have built their SaaS company they have always kept service as a top priority, knowing their focus would continually be tested and be drawn onto product development and administration.

ProActive Software knows it is extremely important to keep the level of service constant and high "Customers don’t care that we have ten times as many customer to look after, they don’t care we are on someone else’s problem, they want the high service level maintained – so as we grow we automate, simplify, and when necessary bring in additional resource a bit before it is really needed. It takes a while to build a reputation of not letting down customers, it does not take anything like as long to lose it,” Stone Says