Finally, we wanted to look at how the smallest SaaS companies—at just 1-5 employees—compare in their thinking to mid-size companies with 50+ employees. As one can guess, the majority of the mid-size businesses have been around for over 15 years, while almost half of the smaller ones are under five years old. Although respondents with C-level titles were more than three times as common at the smaller organizations (74% vs. 24%), they tend to wear more hats and that can be more of a time crunch; how does that affect their decisions?
Despite the multiple hats, the C-level respondents at smaller firms are actually twice as likely (almost 80% vs. 44%) to be the decision maker regarding their communications purchases, undoubtedly due to the price tag. However, mid-size companies don’t push it too far down the food chain, with VP’s making up the difference.
Respondents at smaller companies are also more aware of why someone does or does not purchase their software. While more than 30% of respondents from mid-size companies are unsure whether their communication features are a factor in buying, no one at the small companies is. However, it is over 10% more common to find buyers who didn’t purchase due to the lack of communication features in a smaller company’s product(s)—almost certainly a financial issue.
How They Deal with Change
The responses around COVID are particularly interesting. Thirty-eight percent of small companies say that their communication costs increased, as did 54% of mid-sized companies. On the flip side, 31% of the smaller companies say their costs actually decreased; over 20% of those were in the 11-25% and 25%+ categories. Just 5% of the mid-sized companies saw decreases, and all were 10% or less.
As mentioned above from the Twilio report, 98% of large enterprises say cutting communications would hurt their business and 95% plan to increase them. Our assumption is that most or all of the smaller companies with decreases felt the need to deliberately trim this relatively big ticket item, even if it was detrimental to the business.
When asked about STIR/SHAKEN, 30-some percent of both company sizes say they expect no change. However, only half as many mid-size businesses say they expect the impact to be minor (17% vs. 30% at small companies); and, more than double the number of mid-sized businesses predict it will be moderate or significant (28% vs. 12%). This difference may be tied to lesser overall communication expenditures at the smaller companies, and/or the recent reductions due to COVID.
Not surprisingly, given that the situation is still evolving, a large percentage of both groups say they don’t know what the effect of the new long code campaign rules and requirements will be–almost 50% for both. Medium companies expect more labor, planning and costs due to the changes than small companies do, but that may be a factor of how much they use long code campaigns. However, small businesses are a fair bit more optimistic that the changes will block illicit messaging (25% vs. 10%), and slightly more optimistic that they’ll increase deliveries, opens, and conversions (although neither group has great expectations with a maximum response of 15%).
Coping with Communication Issues
Respondents from small companies are adamant about their biggest issue: outages, at 65%. The next highest concern is cost at 48%, while call quality and customer experience round out the top four at 42% apiece. However, fraud and best practices are also concerns (30% and 35% respectively.) In contrast, respondents from mid-size companies felt equally strongly about the same four issues—outages (52%), cost (55%), call quality (55%) and customer experience (55%); none of the other issues came close.
This suggests that mid-size companies are very focused on the “prize” (customer experience) while also monitoring the bottom line. The smaller companies share these views but also worry about “getting it right,” perhaps because they’re unlikely to have an experienced specialist on staff and must rely more on their providers.
Although outages may be their biggest concern, small companies are less likely to open a support ticket, with nearly half (46%) creating only 1-5 tickets in the last year. Only 13% of medium companies say they’ve opened so few tickets. More telling, however, is that respondents from small companies say they “didn’t know” their number of tickets only 8% of the time, while nearly 40% of those from medium companies were unsure.
Further, small companies say that their issues are resolved in four hours or less 50% of the time and within a day 77% of the time. Medium companies say only 20% of their tickets are resolved within four hours, and within a day only 54% of the time. More importantly, only 8% of respondents from small companies say they don’t know, while a huge 33% of respondents from medium companies are unsure.
As important metrics in measuring a provider’s performance—as well as indications of their customers’ experiences—we suggest that all companies track both numbers: frequency of tickets and time to resolution.
Part 1: Enhancing Customer Experiences with Cloud Communications
Part 2: Maintaining Relationships During a Pandemic
Part 3: It’s a New Day – STIR/SHAKEN and 10DLC Messaging Rules
Part 4: The Ideal Cloud Communications Provider
Part 5: What Keeps The SaaS C-Suite Up at Night
Part 6: How SaaS Companies Change as They Grow