A business with mediocre products and exceptional customer service is more likely to succeed than one with flawless products and poor customer service.
The importance of customer support cannot be overstated, especially for SaaS businesses. Subscription-based SaaS companies thrive on customer retention. A customer’s willingness to stay with a company is heavily dependent on their customer experience—78% of customers are willing to leave if the customer service is ineffective. A world with an oversupply of products and services has made great customer support a unique selling point. In fact, it may be the only thing keeping your customers from turning to your competitor.
Great customer support not only increases customer retention and reduces churn, but also opens up cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, and helps build strong relationships with your customers.
Let’s look at a few great examples and share a bit about the best practices in handling SaaS customer support in this article.
What Makes a Good Customer Service Experience?
Good customer service relies on availability, speed, and effectiveness.
Availability means it’s easy to reach you anytime.
Picture this scenario. A tech issue halts your work and you have a deadline to meet. You have to to search a website footer for a contact form. After sending the support request, you realize you’ll hear from them the next day. This would piss most people off.
There are a few things you can do to spare your customers from this ordeal.
1. Make sure your support hours are extended to cover all time zones as much as possible. Although 24/7 is ideal, a 20/5 with limited availability on weekends is still preferable to sticking to business hours.
2. Take an omnichannel approach. Customers should be able to contact you via any method they prefer: email, phone, chat, or social media. A quick response through all these channels, including business phone services, is paramount to high customer satisfaction.
3. Make use of a widget on your website. Even if you only offer email support, don’t make your customers search for that form. As soon as someone comes to your website, they will be able to contact you — this shows that you care about them right away.
Speed. A customer 10 years ago could tolerate a “Thank you for your request!” “We’ll contact you within 24 hours.” Today, 23 percent of customers expect a response within 10 minutes. Live chat support is expected to respond in 48 seconds on average.
Effectiveness. Even if your responses are swift, if you don’t resolve the issue at hand, you won’t be able to gain a customer’s trust.
You will be able to resolve issues quickly and efficiently if your agents are knowledgeable and the product is complex, as well as if your support and product teams communicate effectively. Even if you cannot affect how long it takes your developers to resolve an issue, you can do things to improve customer satisfaction.
Outstanding Customer Support: 6 Best Practices
4. Strengthen your knowledge base
Maintaining an extensive Help Center is no small feat, but it’s necessary. 73% of customers prefer self-service for issues or product information when they face a problem. Having a well-structured, in-depth knowledge base is a huge perk to the overall customer experience at the very least.
In addition to helping users resolve issues themselves, a strong knowledge base will simplify the work process, reduce the ticket load, and save your team from overworking nightmares. In general, this will allow your agents to focus on more complex requests and provide better customer service.
5. Providing in-app support
App support is one of the most important features your business needs. Your users are there when they have questions or issues, so if you can help them on the spot, their gratitude will be ten-fold.
6. Take action based on customer feedback
People prefer brands that listen to them.
Regardless of client expectations, collecting customer feedback is an important part of quality support. You can identify common problems and resolve them before they become disasters. Using real data about your customers’ pain points, it can also show you opportunities for business and product growth.
Checkups allow you to identify dissatisfied customers and help them proactively. People may or may not like this, but they will likely appreciate the effort and you will avoid a couple of bad reviews.
7. Organize all customer data in one place
The availability of multiple channels helps with availability, but it also opens the door for another potential issue: communication breakdowns. The customer has to explain his issues repeatedly to different people without one point of contact between messages, agents, and teams. There may be all sorts of misunderstandings and confusions as a result, leaving the customer even more frustrated than when they first contacted you.
In order to avoid such situations, make sure all the key customer data is kept in one place, like a CRM, and is accessible to all customer-focused teams: support, sales, and marketing. Everyone will be kept informed, and customers will receive consistent and frictionless communication. Additionally, unorganized customer data can also lead to digital fraud and identity theft, which can severely harm your business.
8. Engage in live chat
When you’re used to using email and the phone, a live chat may seem like a hassle. Today, 41% of customers prefer live chat over phone support (which is still preferred by 32%).
Speed is the most important factor. When people have a question, they want an answer right away. Who can blame them? The popularity of live chat software makes opting for email or even spending 10 minutes on the phone seem like a waste of time.
The benefit of live chat is that it allows customers to get answers or solve problems without interrupting their routine, so it’s no wonder this option is so popular.
With sales inquiries, this game of time is even more crucial, having the power to make or break a potential buyer’s decision. Live chat is essential for both support and sales requests, so don’t ignore it.
9. Communicate personally and transparently
As we’ve already discussed, customers expect consistency and feedback from companies. People want to see real people behind brands and have real conversations with them, not faceless corporate machines.
Fortunately, showing people that you care doesn’t require much effort. Small details make a big difference.
Which communication channel does your customer prefer: Twitter or email? Talk to them there. Address them by their name or title. Don’t talk like a bot, talk like a human.
It is also important to be transparent about technical issues and maintenance times. Don’t forget to give people a heads-up before any scheduled maintenance, even if you only need a few minutes. You’ll leave a bad impression if your service is unavailable and disrupts someone’s work.
Don’t panic if something unexpected happens (it will sooner or later). Be calm, apologize, and provide updates. People will likely remember how professionally you handled the issue, not the issue itself.
It is important to keep in mind that good support is about helping people first and foremost, not reducing churn and cross-selling.
You are already providing great customer service if you are helpful, sincere, and don’t mind taking responsibility for your mistakes (which are inevitable). With the tips we’ve shared with you, we hope you’ll make it even better.
Whether you want to focus on your core business functions, avoid overwhelming your on-premise staff, or you simply don’t have the resources to manage a remote team – we’ve got you covered.
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