Your customer support team is basically a voice of your business. Driving it towards excellence has multiple advantages that may take business to the next level. For example, it boosts your MRR and reduces churn, as well as monitoring customers' behaviour and identifying their behavioural patterns. In this blog, you'll learn some of the SaaS customer support best practices.
For the start, there are several numbers to prove that a strong SaaS Customer Support model works to your advantage.
Study on Slideshare shows that 67 % of customers state negative experience with customer support as one of main reasons for canceling their subscription. In addition, 85 % of executives believe that exceptional customer service gives companies a strong advantage on the market. This claim is supported by 82 % of B2B buyers who agree that personalized approach strengthens their loyalty towards business.
What is SaaS Customer Support
In its basics, SaaS customer support has the same purpose as any other customer support. To assist customers with their questions and needs. The team answers inquiries, handles troubleshooting and many more. But as you will discover later, there is much more to it than just providing information.
How is SaaS customer support categorized? Together with SaaS customer success, it falls under a model of SaaS customer service. Both the success team and support team have the same goal - to provide advice for customers. Yet, they have a slightly different approach.
- SaaS customer support team: It's a kind of a safety net, working in the standard model. Customers reach the agents who then answer questions or provide assistance with any kind of issues.
- SaaS customer success team: Reaches customers by themselves and helps them to achieve their goals.
Through a way of delivering service by Customer Support and Customer Success team is basically reversed, these two groups need to work closely together.
They have to use the same tools and the same knowledge to ensure consistency in your brand communication. A great way to do this is to create an internal knowledge base with all needed information, reachable for each agent.
Why Does SaaS Customer Support Matter?
Regardless how satisfied customers are with your product, they will never build loyalty towards your brand until they feel ignored or disrespected. A brand that isn't willing to assist them with its own product is, in their eyes, a brand that doesn't care about their satisfaction.
In fact, around 68 % of customers leave when they get an impression that you don't care about their needs. On the contrary, they are willing to pay about 25 % more if you offer a quality customer support model. Customer support experience affects sales 4 times more than the price does.
Quality customer support may also significantly reduce churn - the number of customers that cancel or pause their subscription, as well as downgrade it after purchasing.
Customer support level also affects monthly recurring revenue (MRR), since one of the most effective ways to increase MRR in SaaS is by retaining existing customers. For the same reason, excellent customer experience also affects customer lifetime value (CLTV) - the total amount of money a customer may spend on your business during their life.
How to Implement SaaS Customer Support?
No matter the quality of your product, issues will always occur. Customers may be confused about how to use certain features. There may be bugs or suggestions. No matter the size, your company truly needs a customer support team.
Some of customer support best practices:
- Identify the right channels for communicating with customers
- Set up a strategy based on your customers' expectations
- Gather and educate the best team of professionalsň
- Keep your cases organized
- Track customer conversation and follow metrics to see progress
- Make the job easier by automating your support process
Now, let's take a deeper look into the most important aspects:
#1 Knowledgeable Team
Trying to save on people is one of the biggest mistakes companies make. But it's a skillful team of professionals that assures a great customer experience. You cannot expect to deliver the best service with inexperienced people. Trust us, it's the best investment you can make.
A quality customer support representative should be not only knowledgeable, but also curious and prepared to learn. Your professionals need to have perfect understanding of your business, strong people and technical skills and ability to solve problems efficiently.
When you already have your trustworthy team, we recommend creating a tier system. Dividing agents into separate groups with separate focus may help you to keep things organized and assure that your clients always reach the most knowledgeable person for the specific issue.
- Level 1: This level is for agents who are new to the position or not that experienced in specific topics. They may be helping with using common features, sales related problems etc.
- Level 2: Agents on this level should have some sort of specialization. For example, they may need to know technical support best practices or have engineering skills.
Main focus of Level 2 agents is to solve more complex issues, handling escalations or reporting to the development team. Next to technical support, you may also have sales oriented Level 2 agents. Their role is to help customers choose the most suitable subscription program for their business goals.
Real life example / Zendesk
Zendesk CRM platform has its reputation built upon customer support best practices. Their customer team is extremely efficient, since they use multiple platforms at a time.
The company also comes up with innovative ways to make agents' jobs more effective, such as their own API, digital help center with knowledge base and introductory guides. Zendesk also has their service agents all around the clock, building up a strong, international team.
Pro tip: Consider a remote support team with a cloud-based software tool, such as CloutTalk. Hiring agents abroad gives you an opportunity to be available in different time zones.
#2 Strategic approach
Technically, all the points in this blog are considered a strategy. Yet here, we will talk about more of a technical side, such as tools and stats.
- Use a quality SaaS tool:
Customer Support teams have so many enquiries that providing quality customer support may become pretty chaotic. That is why businesses need a proper SaaS support software, such as CloutTalk, where they can gather everything in one place - tickets, information about customers, call recordings, statistics and many more. You can also easily integrate your software with CRM platforms, for example above mentioned Zendesk.
Right SaaS support software can boost your customer support efficiency significantly, which is a big benefit, since 76 % of customers think that they are queuing for too long before reaching an agent. That's where a voicemail that agent can listen and respond to later may come in handy.
- Measure your success:
Without measuring the performance of your support team, you cannot find out what you are doing well and where there is still room for improvement. In your Call center SaaS tool, check up on the number of tickets. That is a pretty reliable warning system.
Increased number of tickets may mean that there is an issue with your platform. Average response time can show you whether your agents respond quickly enough and of course, customer satisfaction metrics answers the core question - are your customers happy with your services?
Real life example / FrontCore
This Norwegian management tool for training providers in marine and petroleum industries has been on the market for around 20 years. Currently, around 5 000 training administrations use their product on a daily basis. FrontCore decided for CloudTalk software integration to boost their efficiency.
The company now has a smart and well-organized foundation of data to build their business on. It holds an excellent way to keep track of closed cases and call statistics. FrontCore also has a structured system for dealing with missed calls. Its team could manage to make 874 inbound and outbound phone calls in 3 months.
#3 Improve your messaging
There are plenty of platforms where you can provide customer service. For example, social media are becoming more and more popular, based on the fact that most of your customers are already there. Though people expect the same quality of customer support and the same speed of answering everywhere, the language of each platform should differ.
You need to tailor your messaging style to be a good fit for each platform your support is active on. For example, Twitter requires fast and short replies. In social media, you should also step away from marketing language and simply be human, although a style of communication slightly differs from platform to platform.
In the case of email, you have more space, therefore it allows you to tailor in-depth responses. But whatever platform you use, never forget to take demographics, consistency and intuitiveness into consideration.
Real life example / Trello
A planning application, Trello, knows that retention is a very important part of each Saas business strategy. That is why their customer support does not only focus on current customers who are active on their platform. They also put an effort into trying to bring back those that left.
They send emails to users who haven't logged in for some time. The purpose is to remind them of a product and motivate them to come back. In case the past customer needs to refresh his memories of how to work with the platform, Trello's emails also contain a link to a brief tutorial.
Real life example / Slack
Slack is a great example of a successful form of communication for numerous companies. It has around 6 million active users on a daily basis.
Though you may not see Slack as a customer support communication platform, since it doesn't contain any interaction with agents, the business provides an essential component for any SaaS service strategy - an effective, intuitive self-service portal. It takes communication to another level. Slack doesn't simply provide people with frequently asked questions. The platform created an informative and simple-to-use resource that serves as a stand-in for support agents.
It makes the process of searching for answers much simpler, by including an auto-suggest feature in the self-service search bar. This feature makes it easy to navigate towards the most relevant articles based on customers' search.
#4 Ask for feedback
Feedback is how we grow. In any sphere of life, including business. And the best way to improve is talking directly to those whom you serve - the consumers. It gives you a chance to get to know them and build up their presonas. This can be of use for marketing materials or even for hiring the right people who fits your audience.
While a lot of companies have ratings and surveys to find out what their customers' experience is, these methods may be a bit vague. If you pose a question “Were you satisfied with our services?” and the answer is “Yes” or “No”, you didn't learn too much.
In fact, you didn't learn anything other than whether customers are or aren't satisfied with your customer support. That is not what you actually need. You seek reasons for their dissatisfaction. Only that way you can improve aspects that don't work.
By asking specific, open questions, you are also gaining valuable advantages. By, for example, being compared to your competitors, you find out what they do better and modify your strategy accordingly.
For example, you can try survey company and call center software integration that provides complex evaluation data of your customers' satisfaction in one platform.
Real life example / Nicereply
Our client, Nicereply, offers survey services for support teams. By integrating it with call center software, it gathers important insights from customers right after every phone call. These valuable and detailed feedbacks can help to get a deeper understanding of your customers.
After each call ends, Nicereply integration sends customers a survey via text message. You can even decide which of their survey options is the most suitable for you - Customer Satisfaction Score, Customer Effort Score or Net Promoter Score.
#5 Be easily reachable
When a customer has to search for a customer support section for minutes, she or he is already annoyed before even contacting you. Hiding your contact information seems in the best scenario as you don't care, in the worst that there's something shady about your business. Place it the way that it's visible within seconds. It needs to be intuitive.
Also, try to implement platforms such as a Live Chat, for those customers who rather communicate in writing. People often prefer Live Chat before email, since they get answers in real time. But we recommend favouring a real customer support agent before chat bot, since most customers still prefer human contact.
A good strategy is also creating FAQ, public knowledge space or an instructional blog section for those who rather search for information themselves - it's fast, easy and right on the spot. Give it a go, since a report from SuperOffice showed that 40 % of customers actually prefer the self service method.
Real life example / Hive
Most of the companies make a separate section for customer support on their websites, reachable through buttons like “Help”. Project management platform Hive decided to go the other way, showing customers that they are truly there to help. A big support icon is on every page of their website. After clicking on a banner, customers are left with three options - contact a support agent via Live Chat, search for a question or request on demo.
This kind of approach makes it easier for customers to not only find the answer, but also choose which way they would like to be served - all by one click.
Real life example / Salesforce
The Salesforce CRM system has one of the best customer service in the industry. It offers multiple channels of communication, including email, phone and unique ticketing systems.
Company's support is easily accessible anytime customers need help. Salesforce even created a team of customer success agents who focus solely on making sure that clients understand how to use features of their many platforms.
Customer Support agents are the voice of your company, a crucial part of communication. They are there for customers to assist. The exceptional customer support is showing that you are truly interested in how people use your services and what you can improve.
There are several SaaS customer support best practices that companies should implement. Hire the best possible team, use the right SaaS support software, learn from data and feedback.
Don't forget that different platforms need different types of communication and never hide the way customers can contact you. They are your most valuable source of information.