SaaS companies face unique challenges as they seek to provide great customer experiences due to the range of services needed during the customer lifecycle. SaaS support requests may focus on many areas, from onboarding and troubleshooting to account management and customer education.
SaaS customer support best practices that focus on building positive, trusting customer relationships can help to reduce churn and increase the lifetime value of each customer. Great SaaS customer support is a competitive advantage that can also help your company stand out in your market.
Whether you provide customer service in-house or outsource it, here are nine SaaS customer support best practices to follow:
Great customer support should start early in the customer journey. According to one report on FinTech support, up to 63% of customers who want to open a bank account exit the onboarding process before completion because it’s too hard or took too long. While that’s only about one type of SaaS business, it’s instructive — if your onboarding isn’t logical, helpful, and easy to follow, you’ll lose customers.
From developing a clear and concise in-app onboarding process to sending welcome emails with links to your most important resources, SaaS companies can introduce customers to their products and preempt common issues in an efficient way.
Other onboarding tools include product tours, welcome videos, or story-based activities or challenges that also introduce the customer to your product.
You can think of onboarding as proactive support. Instead of answering customer questions or solving problems as they arise, your goal is to educate customers in how to successfully achieve their goals with your product so you can deflect those future questions before they even come up,
As customers become more tech-savvy, they’re also becoming more self-sufficient. For many customers, reaching out to a customer service team is a last resort. First, they look for answers in a self-service portal or knowledge base.
Not only is this option often quicker than submitting a support request — it empowers your customers to be active users of your product rather than passive ones. You can encourage this behavior even further by providing a community forum where customers can share tips and help each other get the most out of your product.
Creating a comprehensive knowledge portal or FAQ page can take plenty of resources, especially if you update your SaaS product frequently and need to update the documentation every time.
But maintaining accurate documentation is worth the effort because it ensures that your customers and support reps all have access to the same information and aren’t chasing after wildly different answers to the same customer issues. Your in-house documentation may be more in-depth than your self-service knowledge base, but it should be clear and internally consistent.
It’s a good idea to use version control to keep a record of all changes to your support documentation (if your knowledge management tool doesn’t support this, you can use a tool like GitHub to track changes of text copies of your docs). This allows you to easily refer back to previous versions, which is especially helpful if you have some customers using on-premise deployments of software that may not be upgraded to the latest version or if you deploy new features behind feature flags so not all users have the same experience.
By encouraging your product and support teams to communicate and work together, your customer service agents will be better prepared to field inquiries about new product updates. Together, your support and product teams can discuss common customer requests and ensure that each new update is in line with customer needs.
Invite customer support team members to product meetings, and involve them in the development of new support tools to improve the customer support experience for everyone.
The support-product relationship is a two way street, and both teams will be more successful with close collaboration. Support teams will be better able to help customers if they have a clear understanding of the product roadmap and know what’s coming. Product teams will make better decisions about what features to build, which bug fixes to prioritize, and what customer pain points to solve first if they get regular updates from support associates who talk to customers every day.
An omnichannel customer support strategy can increase your customer satisfaction by giving customers the choice of their preferred communication channel, whether that’s live chat support, email, phone or social media messages.
By developing an omnichannel strategy, you’ll be able to meet customers where they are, but retain knowledge from previous interactions on other channels.
Training your support agents on multiple communication channels helps them provide great customer service to a broader cross-section of customers.
Providing more support options can make it easier for customers to submit requests, but to gain faster response times, you may need to consider additional strategies. These can include expanding your support hours or implementing a chatbot to answer basic questions and route requests to the right associate.
Limiting your availability to local business hours may be fine if you’re a young startup or serve customers in only one region, but consider offering coverage in more languages or time zones as your SaaS business expands. By reducing ticket backlogs and fielding responses in nearer to real time, you can improve customer satisfaction and make life easier for your team members.
Response time is just one of the metrics you’ll need to track if you want to monitor the success of your customer support team and improve its effectiveness over time. Other relevant metrics include the customer churn rate, customer satisfaction score (CSAT), and net promoter score (NPS).
Depending on your business model, you may also want to track things like the reopen rate (RR), which can tell you whether support requests are actually being resolved.
If your reopen rate is high or customer satisfaction is low, your associates may need additional support to understand how to follow SaaS customer support best practices. Ensure that they know how to address the most common customer issues and meet customer expectations.
Or, you may need to build more functionality into your customer support system, such as better integrations with your CRM or internal messaging platform.
One way to provide great SaaS customer support is to offer support for common issues you anticipate your customers will experience. When customers visit your knowledge base, offer search suggestions or set up a chatbot to pop up and route them to the correct customer support associate.
You can also encourage new customers to reply directly to your welcome email, rather than sending it from a “do not reply” address.
Also, when you’re planning a major software update or expecting downtime, you can expect customer questions to follow. Preemptively send an email or in-app message to announce scheduled maintenance so customers can plan ahead, and make sure new features are rolled out with proper documentation, FAQs, walk-thrus, and explainer videos or blog posts.
Finally, seek customer feedback on both your customer support system and your SaaS product. Net promoter scores and customer success surveys can give you insight into how customers are feeling, but if you ask during the process, you’ll get more immediate feedback.
Ask questions like “Was this resource helpful?” throughout your knowledge base, and follow up each support ticket with an email asking for feedback. If a customer offers positive feedback, prompt them to leave an online review of your product.
Customer feedback can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual support associates as well as the strength of your team as a whole. Additionally, consider incorporating questions related to customer satisfaction based on their enneagram test type, which can provide further insights into their preferences and behaviors.
Implementing these SaaS customer support best practices can give you an advantage in a competitive industry in which customers expect real-time responses to their issues. By providing multichannel support and self-service options, tracking customer success metrics, and anticipating customer needs, you’ll be able to improve customer retention and reduce the churn rate for your SaaS business.
But at the end of the day, these SaaS customer support best practices require a great customer service team. PartnerHero makes it easy to expand your customer support team, or build a new one, with onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing.
Our flexible support options mean you can scale up or down at any time, with rolling contracts tailored to your location, business model, and industry. Whether you’ve just raised a seed round and need to move away from all-hands support or you just landed a Series C and are ready for rapid scaling, we have an offering that will work for your needs. Get in touch today to learn more and get started.