With customers increasing their demands and expectations, you need to find ways to stand out in the market. You can achieve this by improving your offer in several key areas.
Customer support is one of them.
If your customer support is lacking, even the most loyal users might run for the hills.
More and more businesses agree that customer support is critical to ensure a company’s long-term growth—yet not many are willing to improve it.
Instead, they focus on tinkering with their product and shifting money to their marketing departments.
Successful SaaS businesses are customer-centric, and customers want better customer support.
Here are some of the best practices to help you stand out from the sleepy crowd that doesn’t take advantage of what excellent customer support can provide.
Jump to section:
Make the Support Button Accessible
Offer Different Channels for Support
Consider In-App Mobile Support
Categorize Customer Issues
Identify Common Problems
Track Support Requests in One Place
Set High Standards
Hire the Right People
Review Your Customer Service Agents
Create A Trusting Relationship with Customers
Your customer support links should be visible and accessible to reduce friction.
How many times have you had a problem with a product and then couldn’t find the ‘Help’ button? It’s very annoying when that happens.
It’s bad enough if your customers have to deal with a problem that interrupts their workflow, and now they have to waste more time trying to find the right button for help.
This is a straight path to friction and a gateway to churn.
Customers expect to reach help resources as fast as possible, and those extra seconds they waste on finding the right button might negatively impact their customer experience.
Do not make the same mistake as this app:
They put their support button low on their landing page, and it’s not distinctive in any way. If a customer hasn’t seen it before, they might not even try to look for it. Or they’ll notice it too late.
Here is an example of what to do instead:
HelpCrunch has a chat widget installed in their UI that’s always visible to the user. It has a distinctive color (different from the rest of the interface), and next to it is a helpful button with a microcopy that explains its use.
It’s also bigger than the rest of the links and buttons on the landing page.
To avoid unnecessary friction, you should do several things.
Use common symbols for customer service channels and consider microcopy with “Contact Us” or “Support” in clear lettering and distinctive colors so that it stands out in the UI.
Place the buttons either on the upper side of the page or at the bottom. That way, your customers can easily access your customer support agent, a knowledge base, or a chatbot.
Whatever type of help you provide, make sure it’s easily accessible and visible.
Different users prefer different types of customer support communication.
As a great service provider, you should make sure there are multiple communication channels available to your customers. It provides accessibility, variety, and convenience to your users.
The most popular modes of communication are emails and phone calls, but SaaS businesses can offer a wide variety of options to their users.
FAQ and live chat are becoming increasingly more popular.
Let’s take a look at what these options entail.
Since customers are more demanding of excellent customer support and customer experience, you should invest more into FAQ and knowledge bases.
Your user’s first decision after encountering a problem is likely to check your FAQ page, so make sure it’s working in your favor by creating a page with commonly asked questions that offer to-the-point answers.
Do your best to include every possible keyword, so they can find the help they need effortlessly.
If users can find the answer independently, they’ll need less support from your customer service agents, and they’ll be able to go back to using your product sooner.
Here’s an example of a great FAQ page.
Kettle & Fire, an e-commerce site, includes a search bar for their users to find whatever they need, but their FAQs are also divided by subject.
Their content is well-organized, effectively presented, and relevant to their users.
Customers want on-demand support.
Live chats help users who are not comfortable looking for answers themselves or don’t even know where to start looking.
This feature comes at no extra cost, and your customers can get a speedy troubleshooting experience.
Want more evidence? Inside Intercom conducted an experiment in their business where one group received support via live chat while others didn’t.
Those who received help via live chat were 30% more likely to start a trial, and, overall, the business grew by 15%.
It pays off to invest in solutions that reduce waiting time for your customers if they need help.
Mobile customer service is an increasingly demanding area for many businesses.
Since 55% of all internet traffic nowadays comes from mobile, it’s no wonder mobile support is becoming more and more important.
As people spend more time on their phones than desktops, they need a quick and on-demand service.
Unfortunately, many companies neglect their mobile in-app customer services, thinking of mobile as a secondary solution. But it’s not anymore.
Customers do not want to engage with a company that offers poor mobile customer support. They want quick answers, and finding them on their phones is their preferred method.
Negative experiences can make them spread bad things about your company and ruin your reputation. In the age of social media, customers’ perception is making and breaking companies.
If you want your users to feel like you’re available to them whenever they need you, consider working on mobile customer service.
You should improve your navigation on the mobile landing page to make it easier for your customers to reach your FAQ, product details, and other important information.
Make your text clear and use a clean microcopy.
Another thing you should consider is to display the full text.
Your customers likely have large screens, so adjust the size of the text and the images so that they are entirely visible on the device, without being cut off.
Enabling users to access customer support quickly and securely through your app will help you retain them.
By delegating your support tickets to the correct department, you ensure that the issues get solved quickly.
Automate this categorization if you have a higher number of customers and support tickets.
Manually filtering requests should belong to the past. Neatly transferring all requests to their right category and department makes for a more efficient job, and it’s easily searchable.
Improper categorization or having none can result in slower response time which can then lead to user frustration.
Here are some common ways to categorize your support tickets:
- By problem type. The most convenient type since it’s the most distinguishable for both users and agents (more on this in the following subsection).
- By product. If your company has multiple products with different features, it’s best if you have a dedicated team behind each of them to answer questions.
- By priority. This type might be used to reach users with higher recurring revenue potential faster.
Categorizing customer issues can help you with finding the correct answers to your customer’s problems.
Every department in your company should work on solving issues and improving, but there is also a way to fix problems before they even happen.
A proactive approach to identifying issues your users frequently face can significantly reduce the number of support tickets you’ll get.
Also, your customer support team will be less stressed by the number of requests they need to address.
Every company is different, but there are always common problems in SaaS:
- Confusing and hidden features
- Failed payments
Because you’re selling software as a service, you can expect your product to have certain bugs.
With every software update, there is a chance of something breaking or not working as intended. The important thing is to test out as much as possible before presenting the “finished” version to your customer.
You want your customers to use product features efficiently.
You don’t want to confuse them or spend hours searching for something in your UI. All your features should be easy to use.
SaaS products can always be improved, and listening to your customers will uncover which features they have a problem with to make it better.
This practice goes hand in hand with transparency.
If the customers are informed in advance about some standard maintenance updates, they’ll be prepared for some issues, and you’re minimizing friction levels that could inevitably lead to churn.
Testing regularly shouldn’t be an issue since your business depends on your product running smoothly.
Failed payments are another common problem, which could be solved with clever planning and the right software. RegPack has some useful solutions when it comes to online payment.
Some problems are inevitable in the SaaS business model, but you can always take preventative action to minimize their effect.
Omnichannel support is very important for better customer experience. For an omnichannel approach to customer support, you must collect support requests in one place.
Customers are not just using email, chat, and in-app messaging to reach you. They’re also on different social media platforms where they’re more vocal about their grievances with the products they use.
Why is this important?
You’re still going to get feedback from emails, chat, and surveys on top of whatever social media you’re using. So you must have one single hub where you’ll keep that information for further analysis.
First of all, with a single hub, you’re helping your company work faster and more efficiently.
Your customer service agents now have a better strategy in following up on support requests. They know where to access customer’s request history and promptly answer all their questions.
There are third-party solutions out there that can help you manage all your support requests if handling multiple channels is too tricky.
You can always make your own, for the most control, but if you’re short on time and want to focus on other business strategies, then reaching for some available ready-made solutions might be the best option.
A unified space to access your support requests and respond to them in time will undoubtedly improve customer satisfaction and customer service experience.
Setting high standards ensures a better customer experience.
Customer support standards are essential to both customers and your customer service agents.
They define customer’s expectations and provide a guideline for expected work ethic for your employees.
Standards should be reviewed and improved regularly to ensure the company’s growth in line with the customers’ rising expectations.
While every company is different and how they handle customer support is different, here are some things you should consider in setting standards for your customer service agents:
- Response times: the shorter, the better
- Being able to handle more demanding and higher priority customers
- Sending quick and relevant follow-up messages
- Tracking requests and avoiding missed tickets
- Categorizing issues and transferring them to the correct department
It is also helpful to have this information about customer service standards accessible in your FAQ.
Knowing the average response time from your agents and how you can reach them is a valuable thing to know as a customer.
The customers are also less likely to get upset if they know what to expect.
Don’t set unrealistically high expectations, because once you do, your customers will demand it.
It can backfire as much as it can help.
You should keep your standards high, manageable, and functional.
It’s not right to expect that your CS agents respond to 200 requests in under a minute if they can only handle 20 in ten minutes.
By expecting too much, you’re preventing them from giving the best service they can.
People will usually do the minimum work required, so it’s helpful to keep the bar high, but still attainable—unless you want your employees burnt out and frustrated.
Insisting on high standards will help you grow your business because customers will be able to expect top performance—and your customer service agents will be able to provide it.
The right people for your company are those with great soft and hard skills.
People you hire to communicate with customers have to be extra knowledgeable and have exceptional soft skills.
They are the first line of contact of your company and present your brand, so it’s essential that they stick to the high standards you’ve outlined.
Dealing with frustrated and angry users is a tough job that requires people with good communication skills and a diplomatic approach.
Here are some crucial skills to look for when hiring:
- Great problem-solving skills
- High levels of emotional intelligence
- Exceeding communication skills
- Enthusiasm and readiness to learn
Empathy will be essential—they are working with people, after all.
No matter the communication channel, they need to reassure the customer their problems will be solved.
When dealing with an angry customer, it’s vital that they’re not easily sucked into a negative mindset, but instead work with the customer to solve their problems.
Once you hire people, it’s not enough to sit them down, give them access to your support requests hub and leave them to solve your customer’s problems.
While they might have the right skills and mindset, they must work efficiently.
One way to do that is to segment your customer support agents, for instance by:
- Communication channel (one team for live chat, another for social media messages, etc.)
- Product (if you have multiple products)
- Type of customer (freemium, mid-tier, enterprise, etc.)
In this way, you’re creating experts in a given field of handling customer support. They will be more focused, more knowledgeable, and their work more efficient and productive.
Additionally, they will become experts in your product.
Additional skills are always welcome, so it’s a good idea to look for agents with some technical knowledge or previous experience in sales.
Now that you’ve hired the right team for your customer support, what’s next? You have to monitor if the people are responding to your customers and execute your high standards.
Having your agents reviewed regularly can boost their professional growth. You can identify areas where they need to work more, like learning about your product’s technical aspects.
One way to monitor your customer support agents is through conversation reviews (often called quality assurance).
Reviewers can rate the agent’s interactions according to a predefined scorecard. This can be done by managers, QA specialists, or even self-reviews.
They give a better look at individual agents’ performance and provide feedback.
Most of the time, there are usually some minor issues an agent needs to work on, but it holds them accountable to provide the standard company demands.
Your agents are directly in contact with your customers, so who could know if they provided the best service better than the customers themselves?
Users can leave a negative or positive review on several aspects of customer service (agent communication, purchase process, among others).
Looking at customer reviews can be invaluable for improving customer support since you can identify the main issues with your hired agents.
Those reviews also signal to other potential users how the company handles customer service.
You can ask the user for a review of the service agent who handled their support request.
Point out why this review is helpful for your company and how your users can benefit from it, too: improved service, speedier first-response time, friendlier and educated agents, etc.
Regularly monitoring your customer support agents and holding them to your company’s predefined customer support standards will help them professionally and make sure they give your users the best service.
Excellent customer support can help you build trusting relationships with customers.
Treasure Data recently provided a study showing that 74% of customers are more likely to buy based on a good experience with a company. What does a good experience entail?
Customers emphasize speed, helpful and friendly service, and convenience as the essential parts of their experience. Guess where else you can find almost all of that? In your customer support.
So, without a doubt, improving your customer support will create a better customer experience, leading to lower churn rates and increased satisfaction.
This, in turn, brings you closer to your end goal—increasing your revenue.
It’s almost like a domino effect of positive events. Once you knock down your biggest point of concern (customer support), everything else will follow it.
With customer experience, it’s not just interactions and engagement with your product that’s important.
Customer experience encompasses every touchpoint and impression people have with your product and company.
Some of it happens outside your product, in ads, social media, word of mouth, etc. Some of it comes from contact with your customer support.
Your customer support agents are not there just to fix problems but to answer questions as well. Your knowledge base serves both visitors and leads as well as your existing customers.
Since we’ve already established that great customer experience leads to more sales, then it’s essential to take this very seriously and improve every element you can.
Try to gain as much control of your customer experience. Start with customer support.
Improving your customer support can range from smaller tweaks in your UI (like making the support button more accessible) to more significant actions like hiring the right people and analyzing the most common problems.
Any change you make for the better will ultimately pay off because it will result in a better customer experience.
That is the driving force behind almost any customer decision nowadays, so it should be your main priority.
Your customer support should serve your company in the best way possible, so take these practices as a starting point in building a great customer experience.