“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”
– Michael LeBoeuf, American Business Author
Every company uses specific metrics and KPIs to calculate the revenue generated from customers, and more often than not, they are heavily focused on customer retention. The Time to First Value (TTFV), on the contrary, focuses on the time it takes for the customer to realize the first value gained from use of the product. Getting your customers to get to the “aha moment” as soon as possible is crucial for SaaS businesses. This is true for two reasons:
The faster the customer reaches the TTFV, the more are the chances of retention
If the TTFV is too far into onboarding, chances are higher that your customer will churn and opt for a competitor’s product that promises a faster TTFV.
Onboarding is the first step in the post-sales process during which prospects use the product for the first time. It is all about getting your product set up correctly to meet your customers’ needs, training your customers to function independently, and achieving first value at the earliest possible point.
The human mind is designed to make conclusions and frame perceptions about a product in a time sensitive manner. Such is the challenge SaaS companies face on a regular basis, to convey product value to customers, before they think of switching to alternative products. The window they have to make this decision is usually quite small, and that is the only time companies have to generate the TTFV.
For this reason alone, software companies need to put in significant effort and intuition when designing their products, making sure that they are as user-friendly as possible, with faster time-to-value, so that customers are assured that they have invested their time and money in the right place. The right product-fit has a greater chance of ensuring stickiness and is a sign that your product has satisfied your customers’ needs.
“A brand is what a business does, reputation is what people remember.”
– Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist
With the rapid growth in intuitive and deeply personalized product experiences, the customer voice has never been more powerful! Be it any product or service, customers continually seek positive experiences and more often than not, first impressions are lasting ones. The way to create positive experiences around your product is to make your customers reach the Time to First Value at the earliest possible moment. This is the perfect way to fine tune your relationship with customers and increase likeability, stickiness, and ultimately, advocacy.
“Nothing influences a person more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO & Co-founder, Facebook
Ideally, when a company goes around looking for a solution, they are bound to do research, and compare and contrast the features and price points offered by different companies. Despite the due diligence, they end up choosing a product based on referrals and recommendations. Needless to say, Customer Experience always takes precedence, above all, if you want to establish your brand in the market.
You should focus on enhancing the Customer Experience to ensure faster time-to-value, by considering the following:
- Educate your customers by providing them with webinars, tutorials, guides and other help docs, in order to ensure a frictionless journey
- Assign a contact person or a CSM to each customer, in order to alleviate pain points, and create a cohesive experience
- Product usability is the path to realizing value. Help customers reach the “aha moment” by aligning their needs with your product solutions.
“The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers.”
– Shiv Singh, Strategic Advisor to Fortune 500 companies
The above quote is exactly what the fastest time-to-value can do for your business – it is your chance, as a company, to nurture advocates, who can promote your business offering to people in their network.
When it comes to TTV, the three Cs hold the utmost importance:
- Customer Centricity: Implementation of ‘Customer First’ as the company culture ensures that every member of the CS team keeps a close check on satisfying customer needs, thereby, resulting in a greater number of happy customers.
- Clarity: Right from the start, Marketing and Sales must clearly present what the platform has to offer. The customer onboarding process is oftentimes the reason for churn, and the problem usually revolves around the lack of clarity about customer needs/wants or the problems they are trying to solve.
- Communication: Clarity in interaction is the key to successful onboarding. When customer requirements are clearly articulated and understood, faster progress can be achieved in setting up the platform. Moreover, regular communication with CSMs facilitates progress and enables companies to keep track of customer pulse, as well as be proactive by ensuring CSM interactions at regular intervals.
In a nutshell, Time to First Value (TTFV) can serve as a predictive mechanism for churn hacking. Companies should not only care about TTFV, but also make it part of their company philosophy and train its employees to keep TTFV at the forefront of all their strategic decisions.