How community portals can transform Customer Success

Written by Yuya Takada, Founder & CEO at Commune

Customer success teams are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve their customer success process.

One of the latest solutions for customer success is community portals. Community portals can help improve customer success by providing a high-touch-like experience for customers in a scalable way while building a community of engaged customers.

Here’s what you need to know about how community portals can help improve customer success for product-led growth.

The SaaS Industry is Evolving — And So Are SaaS Marketing Models

SaaS is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. According to the latest research by SkyQuest Technology, the global SaaS market was valued at $143.77 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach $720.44 billion by 2028. However, while many companies are using this explosive growth as an opportunity to scale, some are finding ways to do it more efficiently than others.

The Sales-Led Growth (SLG) Model

At the beginning of the SaaS revolution, Sales-Led Growth (SLG) was the go-to marketing strategy.

The SLG model relies on sales representatives to promote and sell their products, a process that usually prevents clients from trying out the product before making a purchase decision. This model works well for products with a high average revenue per user (ARPU) and products with a relatively small number of clients that a sales team can handle.

Unfortunately, the SLG model begins to fall apart once SaaS companies scale beyond the means of their sales representatives — and that’s where the PLG comes in.

The Product Led Growth (PLG) Model

Unlike SaaS products from more than a decade ago, most products now allow users to try the product before they buy. Today, people can try a product (often through free trials) and judge if they are willing to pay for it. Then, if they like it, customers can sign up online — and all of this happens without ever having to meet with a sales rep.

In this model, known as Product-Led Growth (PLG), the product drives the process of revenue generation. PLG offers a sustainable solution for low ARPU products with a large number of clients that sales reps otherwise cannot handle alone.

Common Customer Success Challenges With the PLG Model

As the go-to-market strategy for SaaS changes and adapts, customer success operations must change and adapt as well.

With SLG, customer success operations are high-touch, and clients come to expect there are dedicated support representatives available at their beck and call.

In the PLG model, where a product drives revenue, there’s no contact with the sales representative before a customer buys. And since the ARPU tends to be lower while the number of customers tends to be larger, a high-touch customer success team doesn’t make financial sense.
Therefore, SaaS companies must find ways to implement practical tech-touch customer success activities to maximize customer satisfaction and net revenue retention (NRR).

This isn’t an easy ask, and there are several obstacles to consider.

Fragmented communication makes it difficult to have seamless interactions with customers.

In the days of SLG, when a customer has a phone number or an email address of a dedicated CSM, it’s easy to give feedback or ask clarifying questions. Additionally, a CSM can reach out and extend individualized support.

In the PLG model, clients often have to navigate through 5–10 different tools to interact with the SaaS company. Technically, the SaaS company can try to integrate all those tools to provide a streamlined experience to their customers (a tall order). Still, it doesn’t change the fact that their customers are left frustrated and overwhelmed.

Communication is not personally optimized for the customer.

Every client has different communication needs, styles, and preferences. Without a CSM to adapt their outreach for individual clients, communication with customers tends to be one size fits all, which limits the impact of each customer success activity. These challenges make customer success difficult and generally result in inconvenience for the user.

The Good News — You Can Optimize Customer Success For the PLG Model Using Community Portals

Many SaaS companies are now turning to Community Portals to solve customer success problems with the PLG model. Community portals help SaaS companies realize high-touch, impactful customer success in an affordable and scalable way.

Community portals are a seamless, one-stop shop for customers.

With community portals, customers no longer have to get lost using ten different communication channels. From product feedback to live chat support, customers can find what they need quickly and easily without having to search through multiple channels.

A community portal unlocks the power of VOC (voice of customers).

A community portal is a perfect platform to collect customer feedback and ideas. A community portal provides a space for customers to give feedback, upvote ideas, and vote on features — all in one place. When customers feel like they are part of a community and have a say in the product, they are more likely to be loyal to the brand.

Additionally, a community portal enables SaaS companies to build strong relationships with their customers. By engaging with customers on the platform and responding to their concerns, SaaS companies can show that they care about their customers and are invested in their success.

Companies can provide a personally optimized experience to each user.

Community portals provide an opportunity to get to know your customers on a deeper level. By understanding their communication needs and preferences, you can optimize the user experience for each customer. Companies can create custom groups and give customers access to content tailored to their needs.

Let Commune Transform Your Customer Success Story

Commune is a leader in customer success community portals.

We support hundreds of customers and help SaaS companies seamlessly scale their customer success. We offer no-code, customer-status-based community experience control, a communication workflow, and a 24/7 monitored secure platform — an exceptional value for our customers.

Curious about whether a community portal can work for you?

Book a demo today.