Some pundits expect the Software-as-a-Service industry to generate 99.7 billion US dollars in revenue by the year 2020. There is no question that SaaS is on the rise and with thousands of companies trying to get a piece of the action, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever before.
Having innovative technology is paramount. But, many SaaS providers are starting to realise that reducing churn is an extremely efficient way to increase profitability. And, offering outstanding support is the best way to keep clients coming back for more.
Let’s take a look at some great real-world examples of SaaS customer support.
What Defines a Great Customer Support Department?
Needless to say, all companies are different and they all have unique requirements. There is no exact definition of “great” customer support as this will depend on your product, your audience, and the accepted standard within your vertical.
That said, most awesome support teams share a series of similarities that set them apart from the competition. Some of these characteristics include:
Efficiency and Self-Service
Even the best SaaS applications can malfunction. Your customer support team should provide feasible solutions that actually solve the issue at hand. Moreover, you should give your customers the ability to troubleshoot and self-serve whenever possible.
One of the best ways to empower both your customer support team and your customer is to implement a knowledge base. These can be set up to help your team internally or to be customer-facing.
An internal database can help your team find the information they need quickly. An external knowledge base can educate your customers and help them troubleshoot issues on their own terms.
Time is money in the business world, so your support team needs to provide fast responses that meet, or preferably surpass industry standards.
The most important thing is benchmarking your current performance and working on improving those numbers. Once you’ve set a feasible goal you can make different adjustments. For example, you can try implementing a rotating “all hands on deck” approach where all your employees take turns answering support questions.
Availability and Preferred Channels
Most SaaS providers deliver great customer support during business hours. However, the best platforms have customer service departments running around the clock. Your support team should also be available through different channels but deliver the same quality of service on each one.
Social media is becoming increasingly popular as a customer support tool. There are billions of active social media users, so there’s a good chance it’ll attract a good portion of your audience. That said, some customers prefer to speak to someone on the phone, especially for technical issues.
User Experience and Customer Success
It’s not unusual for a business to cancel their subscription because they don’t understand it or can’t see the value in a SaaS platform. Not only should your customer know how to use your platform, but they should be harnessing all its features and leveraging all their knowledge to improve their own operation.
Appointing a Customer Success Manager can help provide additional support to your clients. This person or team of employees should reach out to the clients who are not using your product to its full potential. In addition to educating and guiding your customers, a Customer Success Manager can help identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.
5 SaaS Companies with Outstanding Customer Support
Even though it’s not simple, creating a sustainable business model that constantly delights your customers is achievable. Check out these five excellent examples of SaaS customer support:
Zendesk is a feature-packed SaaS customer service platform with a support team that has mastered their trade. The company has gained a reputation for delivering quality technical support with fast turnarounds through a series of channels that include phone and email.
Pairing innovative features like their own API with top support around the clock is one of the main reasons this customer engagement platform has become a crowd favourite. Plus, the company also provides a comprehensive digital help centre that has its own knowledge base and introductory guides.
Chargify is a platform designed to help subscription companies by automating part of their operations. In that same spirit, Chargify has also promised and delivered outstanding customer support in order to reduce their client’s workload wherever possible.
Not only are Chargify customer rep agents known for providing real solutions, but they’re also happy to sit on the phone and give you a step-by-step guide until the issue at hand is solved. We touched on this earlier, but it’s very important to give your customers the ability to talk to a real person.
Chatbots, IVR systems, and automated responses have inundated the world of SaaS customer service. These technologies present significant advantages, but they can also result in negative customer experience. The shot callers at Chargify are well aware of that, so they’ve focused on creating a friendly and knowledgeable phone support crew.
Calendly, the schedule organization and meeting software have built a reputation for delivering reliable support by simply staying in touch with their customers.
While the company only offers email communications, they also offer a full-scale learning centre and self-service support option that keeps most of their clients content. And, whenever contacted, they provide prompt responses that are usually accompanied by a set of answers to the questions at hand.
This is a great example of how some companies can deliver outstanding customer service without relying on traditional emails. And in their industry, it makes total sense, given that most of the company’s customers run on a tight schedule and appreciate the brevity of emails.
Salesforce is among the most popular CRMs because it has a powerful engine, but the company also provides some of the best customer support in their vertical. With a wide option of channels including email, phone, and a ticketing system, the company is easily accessible to its customers whenever they need help.
And, because they understand the importance of providing great support, Salesforce has also employed a team of customer success agents that focus on ensuring their clients understand and use the platform’s different features properly.
With more than 6 million active users on daily basis, Slack is becoming the go-to messaging and communications app for a number of companies.
The most impressive part? They have managed to grow their business without sacrificing their customers’ experience. Besides providing email and phone communications, the company also offers an efficient ticketing system with fast service times regardless of the time or day.
Lastly, they have various client types with different pricing models, but Slack still aim to provide each customer with a personalised approach in order to find the best solution for each case.
How to Improve the Quality of Your Customer Support
Providing great customer service goes beyond setting up a support email address and hiring a few reps. Ideally, your support team should be an ever-changing organism that constantly finds ways to improve your service and solve multiple issues.
This may represent an investment, but it will also add value to your SaaS service. In order to start delivering outstanding customer care, you should:
Analyse Your Current Setup
There are many different aspects you need to analyse before you make any changes. For instance, you can start by looking at statistics like response time and the volume of inquiries that come in every month.
These pieces of information will help you assess both your team’s and your audience’s needs. The data will help you deduce what tools you need as well as the number of support agents you should have available.
Put Your Customer Above Everything Else
Remember that your customers are what keep your company alive. You should create a customer-centric mantra that aims to delight your clients from the moment they contact your first representative.
Customer service doesn’t come naturally to all employees, so consider providing a quick training session to introduce all of your team to the basics of how to interact with a client properly.
Set Tangible Goals and a Feasible Time Frame for Each
Setting a benchmark should tell you what areas you need to focus on. For example, if you notice you have a monumental email queue, you can set short-term tangible goals like reducing the number of inquiries to X amount by the end of the week.
Remember that each goal you set should be accompanied by an action plan that will help you achieve that objective within the desired timeframe.
Cultivate a Collaborative Environment
Encouraging your team to work together will benefit your company on different fronts. First off, they’ll share information and best practices that will produce a knowledgeable team. At the same time, it’s a great way to make sure all agents are on the same page and delivering consistent answers to your clients.
Deliver Multi-Channel Support
All your clients have different preferences, so you should provide a collection of contact channels that appeal to all your audience. If you don’t have the budget to offer multi-channel support right off the bat, you can run a quick survey to find out your customers’ prefered methods and work on adding more as your budget grows.
Empower the Support Team
You need to make sure your support team feels empowered to take control of any situation. Supplying the tools they need will give them the ability as well as the confidence to handle complex cases.
This will also show your customers that you took the right steps to build a reliable support team, which is not always easy to find in the world of SaaS.
Optimise the Customer Support Department Regularly
Optimisation is a word often used in SEO, but the idea can be applied to any of your internal processes. You can focus on improving your support team’s output by reviewing its performance periodically through actionable metrics.
Try to veer away from hollow metrics like CSAT. Instead, look at response times, churn rates, and customer satisfaction. Use the data collected to hone a more wholesome experience that provides solutions first and then tries to identify upselling opportunities.
The outstanding examples of SaaS customer support listed above should inspire you to attract your customers’ attention, potentially reducing churn and increasing profitability in one move.
But, you have to deliver outstanding service by providing fast turnarounds, effective solutions, a delightful experience, and making sure your customer’ can reach you through their favourite communication channels.