For a SaaS business to excel, it needs recurring income. The longer a client subscribes the more chance you have of recuperating the initial cost of acquisition and then making a profit. The importance of excellent support would seem obvious, but perhaps not many SaaS business owners are aware of just how crucial it is.
Research from a Slideshare study showed that 72% of clients would speak well of good support to at least six other people. Though the percentage is smaller, 13% will tell at least 15 people not to buy software after a bad experience with support. Furthermore, 84% would be happy to pay more if a positive support experience was guaranteed.
So how can you ensure your support system if going beyond the expectations of clients? Here are 13 of the best support practices to offer SaaS clients.
Where is your support widget?
Traditionally, websites will have a tiny support widget at the bottom of the page next to your legal widget and Copywrite information. From a consumer’s point of view, one of the most frustrating things is not being able to easily access support. Consider making the widget larger and using a contrasting colour compared to other elements on your page.
How can clients reach you?
To add to a client’s frustration, they might dial the support number and have to go through the most annoying process of “Press 1 for…Press 2 for…”. We know that it seems a more efficient way of doing things, but it seems like the days of calling a number, and an actual human answering are gone.
It’s not always practical or feasible to have a support team just waiting at the phone, but your business processes may allow for some changes to be made so that at least during business hours, support can be provided by phone. Consider offering bonuses or rewards to staff who feel they can take on the additional responsibility—this way; you are maximizing your current resources without having to hire more staff. Make sure your business hours are clear next to the telephone number.
Expand your contact methods for support
The bonus is that not everyone wants to make phone calls today, and there are plenty of other solutions that can be employed. Always have an email address available, and be sure to check and respond to each request. The same can be said for social media. In fact, social media is an ideal way to respond to support requests because other people may find the solution they are looking for, and it shows potential clients your dedication to providing first-class support.
Include live chat on your site
Live chat provides instant solutions, which is what so many clients not only expect but also require it. Because it’s so quick, they can often continue with their other responsivities instead of stopping to make a call or send an email. It is also often a more cost-effect solution than setting up dedicated phone lines for support.
According to a recent study conducted by Drift, the response times have a major impact on lead generation. Their study revealed that the chances of making contact with a lead decreased by 10X after just five minutes without a response, while a waiting time of 15 minutes or more means losing almost all of your potential leads.
Between 10 and 50% of all your website’s visitors, engage with you using live chat, and around 30 percent of those should become a lead or, in the case of SaaS solutions, buy or sign up. Companies that use live chat increase revenue; according to a CrazyEgg study, 38% of consumers are prone to purchase from a company if they offer live chat support. Also, Emarketer has revealed that live chat support is a great way to bring visitors back to your website. 63% of customers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
Empower your clients with self-service
There is a great sense of achievement when a client can find their own solution without having to contact support. It also encourages them to speak well of your service. A detailed ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section can provide those solutions while saving your business time. Have your FAQs in categories and include a search button so that the client can be taken directly to their issue. For a FAQ section that stands out from the rest, look at the possibilities of having videos and tutorials where appropriate.
Categorize your ticketing system
Support requests could be about any area of the service you are providing. If a bugs-related issue comes up, it needs to go to the testing department, configuration and integration of the support department, pre-sales question to the sales department, and so forth. Each department has to be responsible for its support issues. When issues are sent straight to the right department, the process is more efficient, and requests are dealt with faster.
Unify your support requests
Staying on top of your request is a demanding task when they could be coming in from a number of mediums. Not having a system to streamline this could mean requests are forgotten or not seen.
Look for software that provides one inbox for all your communication channels, whether that’s live chat, emails, or social media. The same system should have the option to delegate requests to the right department. When you have all of your communications in one location, it is much easier to enhance client engagement because you can quickly respond using their preferred method of contact.
Set company-wide support standards
It is important that every customer receives the best support regardless of the department it comes from. Your standards should include how clients are greeted, a response time, refunds process, follow-up process, and certain specific responses. Imagine the outrage if one client receives a refund, and another doesn’t.
Support standards should be displayed in every department as a gentle reminder and included as part of new hires’ onboarding.
Train your technical support staff
It’s not always easy finding an IT employee who has the ability to communicate technical issues to non-technical minded people. At the same time, your technical support staff needs to understand the importance of sales. Not everyone has the combination of these skills, and for some, it never will come naturally.
Provide training for your technical support staff, run mock phone calls, emails, and live chats. Teach them best practices for angry or rude customers. Help them capture the essence of your support system and never forget the necessity for a happy, positive team to ensure your customers remain more than satisfied so as to reduce your churn.
Transparency is a perfect way to gain trust among your clients and reduce concerns or suspicions they may have. Nobody wants to sit through and read small print or lengthy legal explanations. By including some of these key concerns on your site, you can show clients you are transparent and trustworthy:
- Pricing policies and exactly what is offered
- Notifications of changes to conditions or fees
- Cancellation policies
- Client data protection and related policies
Keeping in touch with your clients about their concerns and reassuring them with your openness will significantly improve your reputation and decrease churn.
Look and providing a support app.
Everybody loves an app these days. By offering clients a support app, they can find the help they need or request support from any location. This takes your support away from the limitations of a desktop and allows clients to contact you, watch tutorials, participate in webinars, and check out FQAs at the right time for them. Again, if you are going to provide a support app, make sure you have the right team behind you to offer any necessary support.
Fix the problems
It’s amazing how many SaaS companies receive support requests but never solve the underlying issue. Suppose you have a significant number of client’s contacting you because there is confusion about a particular feature. In that case, you need to find a way to either explain the feature better or change the feature so that it becomes easier to use. If an equally large number of people are telling you that you are missing a feature, it’s time to look at ways to include this as part of your service.
Suppose multiple people start complaining online about an issue they have with your SaaS service. In that case, clients will soon see that you aren’t finding solutions to your problems or don’t appear motivated to improve your product. On top of this, you are not actively trying to reduce the number of support requests, which is giving your support teams unnecessary work when they could be doing other, more productive tasks.
Ask for feedback on your support.
You can’t be a part of every support request, and you can’t watch over every department to ensure the right support is being provided. Nevertheless, you need to know that the support system and policies you have in place are functioning as they should.
Ask your clients for feedback regarding the support they have received. Reviews do wonders for your reputation, and they offer insights into ways you can make things even better.
It sounds daunting and like there is a lot to implement so that you can provide the best practices for SaaS customer support, but the results are far worth the effort. Make sure that you don’t try making too many changes at once or may end up confusing and overwhelming employees and making mistakes. Best practices for SaaS support should not be rushed but instead, done with patience and correctly for long-term results.