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Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, ManageEngine IT Matters, Lori MacVittie, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

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Survey Finds SaaS Providers' Customer Support Lacking

According to global research from The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) released today, businesses increasingly value SaaS applications, but many enterprises are facing significant customer support challenges with their SaaS vendors, leading to low customer satisfaction and poor retention rates. The “SaaS with a Face” report, which surveyed 2481 global companies currently using SaaS-based e-mail management software on their usage and service satisfaction with these applications and providers revealed Mimecast to be the stand-out leader in SaaS email management performance and customer satisfaction.

Mimecast customers surveyed in this research noted higher customer support approval, including 86 percent being able to connect with a live Mimecast customer service representative, compared to the 61 percent who said they could reach live support with other SaaS vendors. Additionally, respondents called out shorter wait times with Mimecast, with only eight percent experiencing long waits.

The remainder of the “SaaS with a Face” results demonstrate a significant discrepancy between Mimecast customers and users of other SaaS-based e-mail management services in terms of the benefits realized and levels of satisfaction with customer support, with the latter representing a huge opportunity for vendors to address. Of the non-Mimecast customers surveyed, more than half (57 percent) reported slow and unresponsive customer service, ultimately resulting in only 58 percent of these respondents remaining with their current SaaS provider. Comparatively, 85 percent of Mimecast customers confirmed they will remain with Mimecast’s SaaS email management platform.

Finding the right customer service options, including dedicated support and training, are also major challenges. Among respondents, only 37 percent confirmed they have a dedicated customer service manager for their organization, 27 percent cited difficulty with finding the right person to solve the problem at hand, just 25 percent said their SaaS provider offers dedicated online training, while 18 percent noted their SaaS provider missed service level agreements (SLAs) entirely.

“The results of this survey show that inadequate customer support has the ability to quickly negate all of the promise offered by SaaS-based applications,” said Bill Lundell, Senior Research Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. “Businesses are crystal clear on the benefits of SaaS, especially for business-critical applications like email, but many providers appear to be providing inadequate levels of support. With more businesses potentially turning to SaaS applications and other hosted services in the coming years, providers will need to offer dedicated support and increased transparency around any product updates or issues in order to improve customer satisfaction.”

“The statistically significant differences in terms of service and support experiences between Mimecast customers and the rest of the sample were quite noticeable. Mimecast is clearly delivering superior support based on the testimony of the majority of its customers, which simply cannot be said for the market at large.”

SaaS offerings are critical to success with more than half (51 percent) of enterprise organizations currently using SaaS-based applications and an additional 38 percent of respondents planning, or interested in SaaS-based solutions within the coming year. The top three benefits respondents attribute to SaaS-based email management applications include the reduction of IT infrastructure costs (55 percent), the elimination of IT environment complexity (52 percent), and improved compliance capabilities (46 percent).

Based on this report, some key customer service recommendations for SaaS vendors are as follows:

  • Strong SLAs – More than half of respondents (57 percent) found service was slow and unresponsive or completely inaccessible due to outages. Comprehensive SLAs are critical to ensuring consistent performance of SaaS applications and core to achieving reliable business continuity within a SaaS model.
  • Dedicated support – With only 37 percent of businesses surveyed confirming they have a dedicated support engineer to assist with implementation and 32 percent said they were able to speak with the same support individual when needed, there is an opportunity for SaaS providers to improve customer satisfaction and reduce wait times by offering devoted and available support resources.
  • Consistent customer communication – With only 40 percent of respondents confirming they receive regular communication from their SaaS provider, SaaS providers must offer consistent customer communication including any information about product updates, changes of support personnel or the addition of new support services.

“Based on this research from ESG, it’s clear many SaaS providers are underestimating the power of the human element,” said Lynda Murphy, Director of Customer Experience, Mimecast. “Without equally strong customer services available, SaaS providers miss the opportunity to offer ‘SaaS with a Face’ and will encounter significant customer retention challenges, severely impacting their bottom line. Providing more personalized attention, such as comprehensive help features, offering dedicated support and consistently meeting service level agreements has helped us achieve a customer churn of less than three percent.”

For more information on the ESG “SaaS with a Face” report, please visit: http://www.mimecast.com/saaswithaface

About Mimecast

Mimecast (www.mimecast.com) delivers cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange, including archiving, continuity and security. By unifying disparate and fragmented email environments into one holistic solution that is always available from the cloud, Mimecast minimizes risk and reduces cost and complexity, while providing total end-to-end control of email. Founded in the United Kingdom in 2003, Mimecast serves more than 6,000 customers and 1.5 million users worldwide and has offices in Europe, North America, Africa and the Channel Islands.

Mimecast social media resources

1 109 are Mimecast customers, while the remainder are non-Mimecast customers

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