Reputation Management Tips For SaaS Vendors


Get Savvy, Not Sassy, When Your SaaS Service Hiccups

Everyone has a right to express their opinions about your company and the products and services you provide. Today, consumers have a variety of communication methods at their fingertips and the ability to share viewpoints at a blazing speed with a large number of people.

Protecting your brand and your reputation is paramount.  The question is will you take control and will you manage your reputation or will you just let the cards fall where they may?

Eventually You’re Going to Have an Outage

If you’re a software as a service (SaaS) vendor, you know that eventually you will have an outage; every SaaS application goes down at some point in time.

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When your application is unavailable, what can be more harmful to your brand and your business than having your customers tell the world that your application is useless? Your reputation as a business is most at risk when your application is unavailable or not working as it should.

Surprisingly, many SaaS vendors just seem to ignore this point of vulnerability.

The root of this problem is that application uptime is often the responsibility of IT professionals, whereas reputation management and brand building is the responsibility of marketing. Information technology folks don’t get fired if their company’s brand is destroyed, marketing people do.

Reputation Management is the Responsibility of Marketing, Not Internal IT

If you are a marketing professional who is responsible for a reputation and maintaining the brand for your company, then what tools do you use to ensure that you can effectively and proactively manage your reputation though an application outage?

Here are some tips that can help turn a potentially bad situation into something positive:

    1. Develop a Trusting Relationship With Your Clients.  To be trusted, you must be transparent. This means open and honest communication with your clients. It also means accepting responsibility when you are at fault and offering a remedy to the situation, or least some type of compensation for inconveniencing your users. can help you easily determine if the Service Level Agreement has been met and help you calculate a fair value.
    2. Be Proactive and Show That You Care. Proactively reach out to your clients and inform them of an issue or of any scheduled downtime your application might experience. Explain that you understand how the issue will affect your clients and provide a clear path for how, and when, the issue will be resolved. Also, as things progress and change, continue to communicate.  Ongoing communication is critical.
    3. Be Efficient and Productive. When an outage occurs, things can be hectic. Attempting to get timely updates from IT will be difficult and then crafting an appropriate communication to your clients and making it available via a variety of communication mechanisms will be a pain. You can integrate applications such as with the systems that IT uses to manage application availability, such as New Relic,  so you don’t have to bother them for constant status updates and you can craft an application status page specifically for application end users, not internal IT people. From a single point, you can automatically send updates and alerts to your clients through email and all social media outlets. This will benefit your brand and allow you to communicate with your end-users in a language that they can understand as opposed to leaving communication to the guys in the IT department.

If you are responsible for managing your company’s reputation then be warned: your reputation is most vulnerable during an application outage.  Don’t sit back and hope someone else will ensure your brand and reputation will be unscathed. Instead, take control of the situation – your job may depend on it.

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Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Jeff Mason is a proven marketing expert.  For more than 15 years, Jeff has been applying his marketing expertise to launch and grow a variety of software companies.  His most recent is Decisionaire, which Jeff co-founded. Prior to founding Decisionaire Jeff served as Vice President of Marketing for Social Solutions - establishing the company as the recognized leader and authority on nonprofit performance management. Before Social Solutions, Jeff co-founded Artifact Software and was a member of Sequoia Software's original executive team. Jeff was instrumental in building Sequoia's brand and developing the company into a market leading, publicly traded organization. In 2001, Sequoia was acquired by Citrix Systems. Jeff's past experience working with nonprofits sparked a passion for improving the impact of the nonprofit sector. As a result, Jeff founded the Alliance for Effective Social Investing. He also serves on the boards of the Superstar Foundation and PerformWell.