As a new parent, I’m able to experience all the joys of a new life.  I also get to wake up and rush to the other room to reinsert pacifiers on a regular basis.  This can lead to some less than ideal night sleeps.

So when a Twitter conversation with @Fondalo about coffee turned to babies and their persistence, I had an “aha!” moment:

Babies are very persistent in getting what they need.

It’s such a universal concept that all parents (and unfortunate airplane passengers) can relate.  It also ties into the communication and often lack of it, between SaaS solutions and their users.  Babies might even make excellent customers!  Why?

Babies cry when they need something to happen.  (Let’s save the talk of toddlers who want something for a different day.)  There are several characteristics of a baby’s cry:  (i) there’s often a pre-cry, (ii) it’s loud, (iii) it persists until conditions change, and (iv) what’s actually wrong is often a total mystery.

Pre-Cry Warning

The pre-cry is often just enough of a noise through a baby monitor to let you know that your cute angel is about to go ballistic.  It’s a chance for those tuned to it to get a head start on fixing the situation.  

Do your users have a pre-cry?  There often are behaviors that indicate something’s wrong.  It might be when one of your current customers visits your pricing page repeatedly or it might be when their engagement with your application takes on a different shape and pattern.   Like a pre-cry, these indications can be subtle and you need to be practiced and pay attention to catch them.

Loud Optimization

Babies have evolved over the years to be as loud as possible when something is not right.  It’s the loud ones that get fed and survive, so we’ve got centuries of cry optimization.  Realizing your baby’s cry is a product of life’s multivariate test helps while they’re exhibiting this trait in your ear at 2am.

Often, this aspect is divergent from the SaaS customer.  Just like restaurant customers, the majority of your users will seek solutions to their needs in silence.  And unlike babies, if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave.

Dissatisfaction Persistence

Babies are also persistent, especially if it's a low number in the AM field.  Unable to help themselves, their only recourse is to cry and keep crying until a solution takes place.  It’s not enough to present a solution, it actually has to be accomplished before the crying stops.

We know for a fact that users aren’t nearly as persistent.  They’ll attempt certain tasks and try out features, but the amount of users that keep trying when things aren’t working or don’t make sense decreases dramatically with every friction point.  The less they persist, the less they use the product, and if not corrected are on course to move elsewhere.

Needs Mystery

There is one aspect that babies share with SaaS users- their needs are often a mystery!  Babies certainly don’t tell you what exactly is bothering them. It’s up to mom or dad to decipher the situation.  Luckily, there are usually only 3 reasons for a healthy baby to cry.

Your users can sometimes also be mysterious.  The good ones will contact you, but the rest tend to smolder in their cube. Sure, you could have a Client Advocate call them, but since most users aren’t as vocal as a cry, the problem is still figuring out who needs something.

The Solution

The way to hear your user’s often silent cry is to listen to what they DO.  Measure their actions in your system and engage the ones who are on trajectories that don’t point to total success.  Engage them in a targeted way that is appropriate to them. For better response rates, engage customers in real-time

At Apptegic, we’ve created a customer engagement tool to help you listen and respond.  We use it too because we’re passionate about keeping our customers happy and eliminating SaaS churn.  Want to see it in action? Get a quick demo of Evergage now.