Essential Reputation Management Tips for SaaS Vendors

Everyone has the right to express their opinions about your company and the products and services you provide. Today we have a variety of communication methods at our fingertips with the ability to share our viewpoints at a blazing speed with a large number of people. Therefore, protecting your brand and your reputation are 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 SaaS vendor, you know that eventually you will have an outage – every SaaS application goes down at some point in time. 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?

When your application is unavailable, or not working as it should, this is when your reputation is most at risk. Surprisingly, many SaaS vendors just seem to ignore this point of vulnerability. Just look at how terribly issues with Yahoo Mail were recently handled. Did they think no one would notice or maybe if they just closed their eyes and covered their ears that after a while everything would just be fine?

I think the problem has to do with the fact that often application uptime is 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 IT

If you are a Marketing Professional and you are responsible for your company’s reputation and for building and maintaining a valuable recognizable brand; then what tools do you have 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:


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.


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/or change, continue to communicate. Ongoing communication is critical.


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 with the systems that IT uses to manage application availability 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. Even if you don’t wish to handle that aspect, using you can ensure the messaging is consistent by creating messaging templates. This will benefit your brand and allow you to communicate with your end-users in 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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