When your business transitions from a perpetual or on-premises product or service offering to a cloud-based one, more than just your business structure will change. Your customers' expectations of your business will change as well.
With XaaS products and services, customers give up some control over the product. In exchange, we have the flexibility to walk away at any time if we feel your business isn't delivering real value. This is a real risk for XaaS companies, as the Harvard Business Review has determined that it is five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to keep an existing one.
How can you anticipate your customers' expectations under a new cloud-based offering so that you can be sure to meet and exceed them? Here are 6 new expectations that customers will have once you transition to the cloud.
1. Frequent Upgrades and Premium Options
Gone are the days of the annual upgrade. Because of the ease with which updates can be distributed for cloud-based products, customers will expect you to issue frequent and seamless upgrades. The timing and content of these upgrades will vary broadly from one business to another, and should be tied directly to the business model.
Successful XaaS businesses should establish a robust release process that connects product development, engineering, quality assurance and product release teams.
2. Frictionless Service
Customers are willing to give up the control of owning on-premises solutions or purchasing perpetual services in exchange for the ease of use that is expected to come with cloud-based offerings. This means that customers expect:
- Ease of adding or removing services, products, or changing subscription terms
- Proactive upgrades
- Reliable uptime and always-on availability (with disaster recovery plans to minimize disruptions)
- Device-agnostic operability
- Accessibility—anytime, anywhere
In essence, customers expect that using your XaaS will be consistently easy and reliable.
3. Data Security
Cloud-based businesses need to store and manage large quantities of sensitive customer data in order to process fixed or consumption-based services. Customers who provide their private personal information and credit card numbers expect that data to be secure, and that they will only need to enter it once (and update it as needed).
4. Clear Fee Structures
While cloud-based business models can become complex, especially for consumption models, it is critical for XaaS businesses to boil down the pricing structure to a simple, clear message. Different pricing tiers should clearly define what additional value goes along with higher price tiers and make it easy for customers to move between tiers as usage needs scale up or down.
5. Simple, Quick Installation
One of the major benefits of cloud-based offerings is that there is no installation, it is all running through the existing browser. No long installers, files to open and save, or slow desktop run speeds. A customer expects that once they make the purchase, within a matter of a few minutes the product should be operational.
6. Support to Optimize Success
When a customer purchases a cloud-based product or service, often they will expect provider to be invested in their success. More often true with B2B products and services, XaaS companies are developing customer success teams to drive customer adoption, deliver personalized training, ensure the best solution-to-problem fit, and help understand how the customer is using the offering to meet their business needs.
The intended goal is to foster long-term customer retention via developing an optimal customer journey and to build relationships in which customers aren't just purchasing a product or service—they are entering into a solution partnership.