Want a successful SaaS business? Then you’re going to need a great customer support department.
It’s all about making sure customers get the right assistance at the right time and with the right message.
Effective customer support means a reduction in customer churn. No matter how great the product, if customer service is poor, a business is a destined to fail. In a recent study by Slideshare, 67% of consumers list bad customer experience as a primary reason for canceling their subscription.
So how do you ensure awesome SaaS customer support?
Keep these points in mind:
- Set up a support strategy aligned with customer expectations
- Deploy unified support strategy across all customer touch-points
- Identify the most important channels for customers
- Use customer engagement strategies to increase activation rates
- Convert customer conversations into structured cases
- Prioritize responses importance
- Track performance against SLAs -including minimum response and resolution time
- Evenly distribute support requests
- Automate routine support processes
- Categorize support case records
- Track progress with support metrics
Delivering value and retaining customers are what it’s all about. Now let’s take a look at some best practice:
SaaS Customer Support best practices
1. Make your support widget is easy to find
Complex software? Problems with functionality? Maybe customers have even found a bug! They could be pulling their hair out in frustration.
Don’t add to their pain. A hard to find support link or widget is just unnecessary.
Here’s a lesson in how not to do it:
See how the link is hidden in the footer. Big no no. And it’s tiny! Clearly Recurly arent making it easy for their users find support.
On the other hand, check out what Salesforce does:
No struggle in store for the customer here. The widget is easy to find.
I’m going to repeat it because it’s so important. Make sure support is easy to find!
If you want actionable customer feedback that helps you grow, you need to make this a priority.
2. Quick answers with live chat
In today's hyper-competitive environment, consumers have high expectations when it comes to service. Email and phone support have, unfortunately, become the default for most SaaS companies. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Move with the times and provide access to cutting edge live chat systems. Then customers can get their questions answered in real-time. Customers want this on-demand support. When it comes to their purchasing decisions, it could make all the difference.
With live chat, customers can get on with their daily lives while waiting for their problems to be solved. This sets it apart from other channels. Give your customers freedom by implementing and managing a live chat system. It’s simple when you use solutions like acquire.
Let’s get this straight. Live chat agents save money for you and your customers. Support hotlines can be expensive, but live chat comes at no extra cost.
3. Great FAQs help self-service loving users
Did you know that over 67% of users prefer self-service support over speaking to a company representative? I don’t know about you, but when challenges arise with SaaS software, the first place I go to is their FAQs page.
According to a study by Zendesk, a whopping 91% of customers said they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs. It goes without saying that a frequently asked questions page is a must.
Create in-depth content, addressing common customer queries. You can leverage a tool like Google Analytics to determine the keywords customers use to find answers, and even if those answers are satisfactory.
See how vimeo has designed an FAQ page to re-define questions for their customers.
Clear knowledge of FAQs helps reduce the number of support tickets needed. Users can simply find answers through Google or page search.
4. Understand why support is needed and fix the cause where possible
It all comes down to knowledge.
Three categories of request consistently come up:
- Missing features
- Confusing or hidden features
Let’s face it, no software is bug-free. It’s only a matter of time before a new one surfaces. Especially if features are regularly updated.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t do all you can to eliminate them though. Test features constantly to discover your bugs before customers do.
No software is complete. If you think it is, you’re missing something! Customers may even help with this, suggesting features to improve productivity for their business. If the same things keep coming up, consider adding them. Then, hey presto, happy customers and happy customers stick around.
5. Categorize customer issues
Deploy customer support best practices to help identify and categorize customer support issues. Then you can assign them to the right department.
Customer requests don’t stop at the customer support department though. The whole organization needs to pull together and accept responsibility as it arises.
Companies need to categorize support tickets, delegating to the appropriate department.
Manually filtering each customer request and assigning it to the right department is a mammoth task. It’s best to use a shared inbox to automate the categorization of a request and auto-assign a category to each incoming request. This way, you can easily delegate responsibility.
6. Make sure all support requests go to one place
Customers want the chance to engage with your brand everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Email, Live chat, wherever they may be. They want you to know who they are and to remember the conversations you’ve had. Forget about them at your peril.
This isn’t just for the customer's benefit. It makes sense for your business too. This way you can track how issues have been solved. Software like HelpScoutallows you to integrate support platforms and centralize messages. It’s so much easier to follow them up this way.
7. Consider in-app and website support
An app is a great tool for offering support. People spend more time there. Forget about the days when customer support was tied to a desk. It should only be tied to the customer. Make things easier for everyone. Go where they spend their time.
Ensure mobile app support has the team in place to make it work effectively. Acquire desktop and mobile app support are great tools to help with this.
8. Set standards
Does your customer support have a gold standard?
The best customer service departments do. It’s why they are successful.
Steve Jobs was obsessed with customer support standards, and so is Jeff Bezos and look at how things panned out for them. In 2015, Apple and Amazonappearedinthe customer service Hall of Fame.
Set rules.Base them on:
- How quickly customers receive a response
- How customers are to be greeted
- Any discretions staff should have for refunds or how to ‘make things right’
- How and when to follow up with customers
- How to track requests and ensure nothing slips through the net
- How to respond in specific situations
Enshrine a consistent approach to customer service across all touch points.
9. Have the right support staff
Lacking the right customer support staff can pose a huge challenge to your SaaS Company. Some people are just not meant to be there and that’s ok.
Remember that even with an excellent SaaS application, poor customer service can let you down. In the end, this means customer churn.
Customer service support staff need enthusiasm and eye for sales, sure. But they also need technical skills.
It’s worth investing in training your customer service team properly. Create a continuous learning culture.
10. Have customer service staff
What’s the difference between customer service and customer support? According to Salesforce:
Customer service staff identify ways to keep customers engaged with the product. Consider them your soothsayers, helping evolve products before customers even start requesting it. It’s a sure-fire route to reducing support tickets in the long run.
11. Build trusting relationships with customers
The customer support department is primarily responsible for building customer relationships.
To help do this, make sure you deliver tailored support.Pick the channel your customer prefers. The aim here is personalized communication.
I know of SaaS companies that don’t use customer relationship management systems and their process is just a mess. Using a customer relationship tool for collaboration such as acquire, Salesforce, orZendesk can help streamline your operations.
12. Ask customers to review your customer service agents
When a customer session finishes, why not ask them to offer a review? If you don’t ask, you don't know. Meanwhile, they could be telling people about their experience and you remain completely oblivious!
Don’t forget to get in touch about their overall experience once in a while too.
Customer feedback is invaluable, make sure you use it.
So, what have we learned?
Customer satisfaction is the number one priority. Only happy customers will stick with you. They may even send a few more customers your way.
On the flip side, unhappy customers won’t hesitate to leave. Chances are they’ll tell their friends not to do business with you too.
Follow the best practices we have talked through. Keep your customers smiling and create the ultimate customer service experience.