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Putting the service back into SaaS

Enterprise-grade software as a service (SaaS) should be software with service. Real service. The kind you experience at a high-end hotel or restaurant. The kind that preempts your needs and efficiently devises creative solutions to satisfy unique requirements.

Time and time again, we have witnessed clients struggle with promised “turnkey” SaaS products, before calling on the assistance of a third-party such as ourselves, because the products weren’t adequately supported.

For example, one of our clients bought into an expensive SaaS product because it promised, amongst other things, seemingly impressive marketing automation capabilities.

While at a superficial level the product was relatively simple to use, our client was struggling to make sense of, let alone implement, any of the advanced features. Mainly because the documentation was largely inaccessible to anyone without advanced technical knowledge and there was no one on the supplier’s side that the client could talk to and have it explained in terms they could understand. The problem was compounded by the fact that what the client wanted to do wasn’t possible with the product on its own, so they had continued to waste time and money planning a campaign the product couldn’t support.

On that occasion, we were able to make sense of the product’s capabilities and explain it to them, as well as devise and build a custom component that integrated with the product so the client’s original campaign aspirations could be realised.

While SaaS has changed the way we buy and use software for the better, bringing about a technological and pricing revolution, it has come at a cost. Somewhat ironically given the “SaaS” label, service is one of the main casualties, which ultimately hinders progress as highlighted by the above example. As we have observed on numerous occasions, even organisations with strong and capable internal technology teams aren’t immune.

Another consequence is that clients are denied the expected and often promoted time and cost savings of buying into a SaaS product, as they incur hidden and often sizeable additional costs sourcing and commissioning external support to help implement or use them. Which, let’s face it, makes no sense at all.

It would make a lot more sense for businesses supplying SaaS products to charge more and subsequently have the resources to deliver a standard of service which means their clients don’t have to commission additional support. Ultimately, the client would spend a similar amount of money, but be spared the inconvenience.

But here’s the kicker, even if you have the resources, which many SaaS businesses certainly do, establishing and maintaining a suitably skilled and experienced support team is not easy. It’s much easier to transfer the problem onto the client, as we have frequently witnessed, and legitimise a claim to provide support by having an inexperienced and unskilled team working from a script.

Encouragingly, we are noticing a growing recognition of the need for better service in SaaS, though there is still a long way to go.

When we were planning Framewürk, we drew heavily on our experience as a service agency supporting our clients with, amongst many other things, third-party SaaS products. It is the reason our support team is mostly composed of designers and developers, as they have the skills and experience needed to satisfy our clients’ range of needs, as well as devise creative solutions to meet their unique requirements.

Our primary goal is to ensure our clients get a healthy ROI on their investment in Framewürk. As such, we will always make investing in our internal support team a priority, to safeguard our ability to provide our clients with the highest standard of service and technology.

It is why we consider Framewürk to be part software and part service.

If you are interested in learning more about how Framewürk helps organisations to achieve their goals, explore our case studies or get in touch.

Photo by Jonathan Borba

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