Within some industries, the better you are at your job, the less you get recognized. Case in point is server maintenance and customer retention. No matter how hard you work behind the scenes, no one pays attention unless something goes wrong. It’s a relatively thankless position, but one that is crucial in today’s cloud-based world.
In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Igor Seletskiy, CEO of KernelCare. If you’re familiar with Linux at all, you know that Linux Kernels can be somewhat complex, particularly for large organizations. Fortunately, KernelCare can install patches and upgrades to the system, all without having to reboot. Although KernelCare isn’t the only game in town, Igor and his team have found incredible success, even against major players like Oracle and KSplice.
I picked his brain for a little while to see how he developed his B2B SaaS customer retention strategies. Here are some highlights from the episode.
Building a SaaS Product Because of Customer Demand
Because of the complexity of Linux Kernels, Igor didn’t really want to get into Kernel maintenance. However, because he was already working with clients and service providers that used Linux, they kept asking him and his team if they could assist with Kernels as well. Based on the sheer volume of requests, Igor realized that his company had to meet demand.
Essentially, he was dragged into the business by his clientele, which is sometimes a good problem to have. Once you know that your customers need your services, growth and sustainability are almost guaranteed. This is one of the best customer retention strategies by far.
Fortunately, Igor and his team were also thrown a life preserver in the form of open-source Kernel software. Part of the reason for his initial reluctance was that they would have to use Oracle’s program, which could lead to lawsuits. However, with an open-source platform, the company could get into Kernel management without the looming specter of legal action.
Service Provider vs. Enterprise Server Management
When KernelCare first came on the market, most of its clients were service providers. However, in recent years, thanks to Igor’s SaaS customer service panache, the company is getting more enterprise-level clients. This created a host of challenges that Igor and his team had to meet.
First of all, the size and scale of an enterprise business are far above any service provider. When handling thousands of servers, one problem can create a deluge of others, which leads to downtime and potentially massive losses for the company.
Secondly, enterprise businesses have their own IT departments, so KernelCare is more of a facilitator than a manager. Igor and his team create patches and deploy them, but operationally, the client handles everything else. Most enterprises have specific rules and codes regarding chains of command, so KernelCare has to let them take over.
Finally, working for enterprise-level companies means that Igor cannot make any mistakes. He recalls one instance where over 500 servers went down, which was a huge disaster. Fortunately, the team was able to get them back up relatively fast, but even a short period of downtime can be costly. Since then, KernelCare has adapted its rollout strategy to ensure no mistakes happen. Overall, that mentality just leads to a more labor-intensive workflow, but the results speak for themselves.
A Growing Need for Rebootless Security
When it comes to customer retention strategies, KernelCare is in an excellent position for growth. As the internet of things (IoT) becomes more and more prevalent, companies and end-users are going to have to require updates and patches more consistently. As printers and fridges and washing machines become vulnerable to hacks, software like KernelCare will only be more valuable.
We talk a lot more about server management and mission-critical customer support, so check out the rest of the episode here. You can also find out more about Igor and his company at www.kernelcare.com.