The Ultimate Guide to SAAS Customer Support

This guide will cover everything you need to know about SAAS Customer Support. We outline the metrics you need to measure customer support, tips for how to reduce support costs, and best practices for SAAS Customer Support.

8 min read
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Introduction

In the world of SAAS, great customer support is essential. This is an undeniable fact. With the SAAS model, customer retention is the name of the game and so providing top quality support where and when customers need it is critical to minimizing churn. And when you consider customer profitability typically increases year on year, you can see why keeping customers satisfied is so important to your SAAS business success. 

The Role of SAAS Customer Support

SAAS customer support is critical to driving customer retention and lifetime value. When your customers need help with an element of your service or are just looking to get the most out of it, you need to be there to give the critical they need. 

By providing a high quality SAAS customer support function, you’re able to maximize the satisfaction your customers have with both your brand and your offering. This is critical to developing a long term relationship, which is often integral to keeping customer onboard for the long-term. 

Your SAAS customer support teams should be focused on delivering value to your customers across multiple channels. Live chat, support helplines, social media, they’re all avenues customers use to reach out for help, and so you need the systems and resources necessary to meet and exceed that expectation. 

Failure to provide good quality customer support is likely to damage your SAAS organization as it will encourage customers to cancel or look at alternative options – and the SAAS business model this churn can be extremely expensive. 

Remember, it costs more to get new customers than it does to keep your current ones! 

Ultimately, the role of SAAS customer support is to be there when your customers need help and to offer them assistance in achieving their objectives.

SAAS Customer Support Metrics

SAAS customer support metrics play a major role in the success of a customer support function. You need to be able to effectively audit your support offering regularly to evaluate your performance and identify your strengths and weaknesses. This is a critical capability and why measurement is essential. 

The significant importance of measurement is undeniable, but identifying the metrics you should be monitoring is harder. This will be dictated by your support strategy. You need to first understand what it is you want to achieve before highlighting the metrics that will impact that ambition. 

Remember, measurement is only valuable if it’s strategically aligned and take wider variables and context into consideration. For example, in the event you choose to measure average call times, what is it you want to gain from this information? How will the data help you make better decisions? Is it even relevant? And if it is, what’s the baseline? What does average actually look like? These are all questions that need answering in order to not only identify what SAAS customer metrics need to be monitored, but how and what against.

Why Measurement Matters

Measuring your support function helps you to understand how you currently perform, recognise areas of weakness, identify areas for improvement and measure those changes to determine short and long-term impact. 

With a progressive data-driven approach like this, you can continuously evolve your support function using data points that accurately reflect your performance at multiple levels in the business.

Help evaluate your performance in conjunction with your objectives 

Your SAAS customer support metrics will be influenced by your objectives. As such, they provide a good indication for how well you’re achieving your goals and provide accountability within your support operation. As long as these metrics have been well thought out, then you should be able to progressively evaluate development and identify ongoing performance.

Provide performance transparency, on a company, team and individual level 

Understanding what you do well and why is critical to driving improvement in your support function. If you’re support teams are excelling or underwhelming in a particular area, then the sooner it’s identified, the sooner it can be fixed or utilized.

With this in mind, defining customer metrics in your SAAS support function is essential. You need to know how each piece of the support machine is working and get a full view on how your budgets are performing. This top level view lets you see everything in action and helps you identify if you’re moving in the right direction to achieve your objectives.

Helps develop a common understanding between management and support teams

When metrics are developed, they often come from management and so it’s critical that at the time they’re introduced, they’re clearly defined. You need to ensure all involved for what exactly they are and how they work. This helps align all involved and ensures your teams are doing everything they can to maximize the results that really matter.

The Varying Metrics in Play

Metrics come in many shapes and sizes and in the world of SAAS customer support, need to be applied at all levels in order to effectively audit performance.

Metrics to Consider at Agent Level

Metrics at Agent level look at the performance of your support operatives independently and help identify their strengths and weaknesses, while also providing context on their contributions to the wider team.

These are a few examples of metrics that should be considered at Agent level:

  • Number of chats completed: The number of chats managed in a set period of time per team member.
  • Handle time: The average query handling time per team member.
  • Average ticket resolution time:The average time it takes for each team member to solve a customer query.
  • External feedback score: If satisfaction surveys are sent after problem resolution, the average score from those results – usually marked out of 5 or 10.

Metrics to Consider at Team Level

Team focused metrics help to evaluate the performance of your support teams as a unit. With the right metrics in place, you’ll be able to identify the quality of service delivered by individual teams and get a better appreciation of the challenges and opportunities within each support team. 

These are a few examples of metrics that should be considered at Team level:

  • Average team handle time: The average query handling time across a team
  • Average response time: The average amount of time it takes to respond to a customer support enquiry
  • Highest wait time: The longest a customer has had to wait on hold before talking to a support operative
  • Team utilization: The amount of time support teams are online (%)
  • Average customer satisfaction score: The average performance score based on external customers surveys

Metrics to Consider at Management Level

The very best strategies are data-driven, and so it makes sense for management to oversee certain key support metrics in order to adapt accordingly. Armed with these metrics, management teams can get a view on ROI, new opportunities and the quality of the support delivered. These are all critical to optimizing strategy and creating the very best support function. 

These are a few examples of metrics that should be considered at Management level:

  • Number of customer engagements: The total number of engagements for the current month
  • Number of customer engagements, year to date: The total number of monthly engagements for the current financial year, broken down by month
  • The average speed to answer, year to date: The average speed to answer for the current financial year, broken down month by month.
  • Customer satisfaction score, year to date: The average Customer Satisfaction Score for the current financial year, broken down month by month.
  • Average call handle time per team, year to date: The average handle time for the team in the current financial year, broken down month by month.
  • Cost of chat services delivered, year to date (total cost divided by number of chats): The total cost of the support function, divided by the number of customer engagements.

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Reducing SAAS Customer Support Costs

Most SAAS organizations recognize the value of high quality customer support, but often lack the resources to actually deliver. As a result, exploring opportunities to reduce cost is key to maximizing the potential of your budget. Fortunately, with the advance of new technologies, there are multiple options to do more with less, and reduce SAAS customer support costs across the board.

Embrace Automation Across Your Support Function 

Offering perhaps the greatest opportunity to enhance the efficiency of your SAAS customer support offering, automation can play a major role in helping you deliver high-quality customer satisfaction on a small budget. With automation, you can unlock full scalability within your support function. This means that no matter how big your business grows, in some way you’ll still be able to meet the demands of your customer base and this is critical in the world of SAAS where growth is often rapid and associated pains are common. 

Here are just a couple of ways you can tap into automation in your SAAS customer support offering: 

Automate query qualification 

Customer queries come in all shapes and sizes, and in many instances, they don’t require human attention. They’re either easy to answer or simple process questions that could quite quickly be solved by a FAQ page. This means at times, your support resources are used unnecessarily. Fortunately, this is easily rectified. With automated query qualification integrated into your SAAS customer support offerings, you can determine if customers require the attention of a human operative or whether resources already exist that can solve their challenges. 

Query qualification is a fantastic way of helping your support operatives focus on what really matters and helps your customers get the information they want quickly. It’s a win/win situation. 

Automate customer engagement answers 

Chances are, your support operatives are answering the same questions again and again. This is just the common reality of offering customer support. However, there are ways to limit the resource spend and avoid repetition when answering. With pre-prepared answers accessible at their fingertips, your support operatives can quickly find the information they need to share with the customer, within seconds. This helps them to deliver rapid and valuable support without sacrificing the quality of the information shared.  

When automation is fully embraced, SAAS customer support costs can be radically reduced, without sacrificing the quality of support delivered. The opportunities presented by automation really are too good to miss out on.

Give Your Team the Tools to Maximize Their Efficiency 

Your support team need the right tools at their fingertips in order to deliver high-quality customer support. These tools should help them monitor, manage and respond to support queries in real time, allowing them to meet and exceed customer expectations. 

Identifying the right tools for your support team can be tough, so it’s important you consider their needs and challenges, alongside your customers, before making a final decision. 

Armed with the right tools, your support teams can enhance the quality of the support they deliver, while reducing the time it takes to deliver customer satisfaction. This means they can help more customers and deliver greater value to the business. 

Review Support Team Performance and Drive Progress 

Understanding what your support team are doing well and where they’re struggling is key to driving efficiency gains and improving the support you deliver. 

With a complete view of performance, you can identify areas that need investment and opportunities to supercharge efficiency. 

By embracing automation opportunities, giving your support teams the very best tools to deliver and regularly reviewing their performance, you can reduce costs, by driving efficiency and identifying key areas to enhance and improve. 

SAAS Customer Support Best Practices

In order to maximize the value derived from your customers, you need to not only be offering customer support across multiple channels, but also deliver above and beyond expectations. You can’t afford to offer a sub-par customer experience at any touch-point and so it’s important customer support is always working to its full potential.

In order to maximize the impact and power of your customer support efforts, you first need to find out what good looks like and identify how you’re going to pursue industry best practices.

These are the customer support best practices you need to consider when optimizing your support strategy.

Only Measure Your Team on the Metrics That Make a Real Difference

Understanding the metrics that make a real difference to your business is critical as these will influence how you evaluate your customer support performance.

It’s important you only use metrics that encourage your support teams to focus on what really matters; the quality of support delivered and customer satisfaction. Metrics that impose query quotas and other time-based measurements actively reward detrimental customer support behavior and can be extremely damaging to your support function, negatively impacting both your business and your employee’s morale.

Providing you focus on the right metrics, you’ll be able to measure, monitor and improve your support function progressively, helping your support team to deliver great value and customer satisfaction.

Regularly Manage and Evaluate Your Customer Support Costs

How you spend your support budget is half the battle when it comes to delivering high quality customer support. You need to ensure resources are allocated in the right way and make a genuine difference to the support delivered. Whether money is being spent to increase support quality, reduce pressure on support teams or just to reduce customer wait times, it’s important it’s used to manage and reduce challenges.

With this approach in mind, it’s also important to measure its impact over time and ensure the spend is justified.

Engage With Your Customers for Insightful Feedback

Your support efforts are designed to satisfy your customers when they need help. As such, it makes sense to ask them directly what they want and how your support offerings can deliver.

There is no better group of people to audit your support function and so it’s important you give your customers a voice when you’re looking to enhance your support offering.

By asking your customers for qualitative views, you’ll be able to not only enhance what you currently have, but identify new opportunities to improve as well. This will help guide future investment and ensure developments occur in the right places.

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Embrace Omnichannel Opportunities and Deliver Great Service Across All Touch Points

The modern customer engages with companies across a wide range of diverse channels. As a result, in many instances, this causes challenges as their is a lack of communication between touch-points.

For example, if a customer engages on social media, then calls up on the phone, information collected via one channel, won’t be available to the individual managing another. This makes it very difficult to avoid significant inefficiencies as customers are asked to repeat information already shared elsewhere. This increases the time it takes to satisfy their needs and radically reduces the quality of customer support delivered.

With omni-channel functionality, you can engage with customers across channels in a coordinated way, ensuring they never have to repeat themselves and helping your support operatives deliver assistance quickly and efficiently.

Armed with these SAAS customer support best practices, you’ll be able to optimize your support function by driving efficiency and maximizing customer satisfaction.

It should go without saying, but SAAS customer support is fundamentally essential to a successful support operation. If you can’t help you customers when they need it most, it’s likely they won’t remain customers for very long, and this is problematic when your profit it tied to the average customer lifetime.

With this in mind, it’s important to invest in your SAAS customer support function to ensure your customers are satisfied and getting the most out of your service.

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