customer support

SaaS customer support: 6 ways to boost your team

Photo of Mui Yoon
by   Mui Yoon

Having a strong and efficient customer support team is one of the most critical components of your SaaS business. 

Customer support plays a major part in attracting and retaining customers that fuels your future business growth. Customer service in every industry is no longer an afterthought but a function that is central in the customer experience.

Just by increasing customer retention rates by a mere 5% can increase your profits by 25% - Amy Gallo writes in the Harvard Business Review from research conducted by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, the inventor of the Net Promoter Score.

Take a look at 50 statistics proving the value of customer experiences:

  • 96% of customers say customer service is essential in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
  • 73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors.
  • 83% of companies that believe it’s important to make customers happy also experience growing revenue.

Here are six elements that help you create a strong SaaS customer support:

1. Make your customer support accessible

When a customer needs support, it usually means two things – they are confused or frustrated. Perhaps they can’t find an answer to a question; they can’t download software or know how to use an app. Whatever they are facing is preventing them from progressing and this leads to frustration.

Make it easy for customers to find immediate help. Positioning clear support buttons or live-chat boxes visible on the page help to alleviate anxiety right away.

Do not make your customers hunt for a contact page, only to find a nameless email address, where it’s unclear when they would be receiving support after sending in a ticket. Live chat support is a lifesaver in urgent cases, especially if you have a global database of customers, in which case you might consider providing 24/7 support even on weekends.

2. Deliver customer support with expertise and empathy

People want to talk to people. And these crucial conversations help build priceless relationships that make your SaaS a genuine service provider instead of a faceless vendor that a price point can replace at any time.

You have to determine how you wish to communicate to your SaaS customers when delivering support to them over email, live chat, phone, or even social media support. Here are two examples from interviews with support leaders on how they set the expectations for their SaaS customer support teams:

Eva Schaller, head of support at Sendle, one of Australia’s fastest-growing logistics businesses serving tens of thousands of small business operators, explains, “We wanted to get away from agents reading from scripts, sounding like robots, and not being accountable for the customer and their conversations.”

But how do you communicate seamlessly when you have 50 customer support agents answering over 30,000 inquiries every month, such as in the case of 99designs, the world’s largest marketplace for graphic design projects where their platform powers a new design every 1.5 seconds amongst 450,000 customers.

“You can train anyone, but you cannot train somebody to have a heart,” explains Ashley King, director of support.

“For everyone, we look for a sense of a passion and empathy so that they can relate to whomever they are communicating with — designer or customer.”

“Phone support gives the customer an added sense of comfort. Initially, people often expect and dread a painful support experience. However, this negative context allows you to delight them truly. When you delight them, they are more likely to be customer evangelists.”

She further explains that 99designs is a business where two humans are interacting. As such, an effective combination of expertise and emotional intelligence take time to develop over the context of communicating with empathy.

3. Create outstanding self-help with FAQs or knowledge bases

People will do their best to help themselves before seeking customer service. Your SaaS customer support system must leverage self-service or self-help before engaging agent-assisted digital communication channels and other handy tools for customer service.

Ensure that an adequate FAQ section or an easy-to-understand Knowledge Base is on hand where customers can quickly access keyword search, topic selection, or video guides.

Customers who discover solutions to their problems will enjoy the experience far more than sending in a support ticket, especially as they need answers to finish a task. Research has shown that 53% of US online users are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find immediate answers to queries.

A way to build helpful FAQs or Knowledge Base is by looking at common queries that customers submit. If a constantly recurring question or keyword pops up, it indicates a service or function is not doing its job and needs to be addressed or make more intuitive.

As a great example, take a look at video creator software Biteable’s website with a Resource Page offering quick video guides and a blog enriched with articles catering to users of different learning styles and expertise.

4. Make use of customer feedback to offer intuitive resolutions

As any SaaS product is a work in progress with constant updates and improvements, live feedback from customer support is valuable data to catch bugs, find recurring problems, and troubleshoot for future growth.

Your SaaS customer support team might need to provide video support, screenshot images, or step-by-step guides for more complicated cases to resolve customer issues. Ensure they have the tools necessary to help customers efficiently and effectively.

KPIs such as first response times, resolutions at first contact, and other metrics utilizing NPS or CSATs are valuable tools to measure your customer support as well as regular support tickets such as:

  • Often raised problems – can these be resolved?
  • Repeated keywords raised in a customer search – add these into your onboarding communication
  • Steps that customers take after getting an answer – can these be added into the instructions or onboarding email/communication?
  • Content available in Resource Library – can these be incorporated into the app/software at the point of use?
  • Support tickets – what steps can you take if customers submit repeated tickets?

5. Integrate for efficient workflow

In the past, there were only phones or emails for customers to get in touch. But the support process today involves multichannel options with live chat and social media too.

For your SaaS customer support to function at an optimum, resolving customer issues at the first contact is an ideal KPI when communication is managed through integration.

Your customers will reach through the easiest and quickest channel they can find while browsing through your website or using an app they have downloaded.

Suppose you are currently offering a SaaS support channel through your app and via email, live chat, or Facebook. In that case, you must channel all requests for support and customer conversations and conversation history into an avenue that you can manage, track, and resolve, or offer support via one channel that is available through your helpdesk integration.

Influx customer Asana Rebel successfully resolved 8,000+ support tickets in a month with its multichannel and multi-platform support offered in six languages across Zendesk, Recurly, Asana Rebel app, Google Play Console, CMS, App Follow, and Stripe.

6. Delegate or outsource your SaaS customer support to achieve 24/7 efficiency 

“From Day One” – is Eva Shaller of Sendle’s reply to the often-asked question, “When should a start-up hire their first full-time customer support agent?”

“This is so important. It almost doesn’t matter what you’re selling or what your product is,” Shaller explains. “If you have a customer, you should have someone working on customer support. When you first launch something, there will always be problems — small or large. And as said before, it creates loyalty and comfort when someone is quickly available to help solve the customer’s problems.”

Delivering excellent SaaS customer support can be challenging as it takes time and often requires several team members to manage the tickets coming in.

For example, Karbon was experiencing 2-3x growth in 2018 and 2019, which required their entire team to jump into the support queue, and it took the focus away from growing the business. Outsourcing its customer support to a 24/7 team; providing live chat coverage across three regions; was a solution for Karbon’s growing global base.

If you don’t have the resources to build an in-house team for your SaaS customer support, outsourcing this vital function may be a solution - it has worked favorably for many Influx clients. Outsourcing customer support to a dedicated customer service agency also helps save time in training and recruiting, primarily for start-ups.

“Training staff remotely was time-intensive, difficult, and ongoing. I’d find one person and train them, and then I’d have to spend the same amount of time on the next person. With Influx, you train once, and then you end up with 24/7 support,” adds Emily Howman, Biteable customer service manager on how Biteable built its highly-rated SaaS customer support team with Influx.

Building an exceptional SaaS customer support system requires several steps to provide a cohesive plan. Setting it up will take time, but it is a system that will pay off dividends with satisfied customers who become your best brand advocates.

Influx provides Support as a Service for brands and tech companies. This includes an entire operation available on demand: agents, management, training, QA, data, and insights. Start building a stronger support service for your customers with Influx today by requesting for a free demo and 2-week trial!

About the author

Photo of Mui Yoon

Mui Yoon

Mui Yoon writes for Influx. A lifelong learner and passionate writer, she believes that the best stories come from curiosity and conversations with people.