Customer service essentials for SaaS businesses

Customer service essentials for SaaS businesses

We believe that to compete in SaaS today and for the future, you have to create an organization that can make a product customers are always in love with, that also gets high retention from them. ~ Hiten Shah

This is exactly why SaaS companies cannot simply afford to provide average customer service. The competition is immense, to sustain and grow, you need to display a strong commitment towards providing value and delivering a superior customer service experience. This will not only help you retain customers but attract new ones as well.

Delivering a superior customer experience is not easy. The following tips will help you get started and ensure that customers won’t slip through your fingers.

1. Always be honest with your customers

When you run a SaaS business, you are bound to encounter problems or make mistakes – bugs, incompatibility, server issues, etc. Obviously, the customers will feel angry and frustrated.

But that doesn’t mean they will switch to your competitors immediately. Customers are sensible and more understanding than that. You need to be transparent: promptly answer their questions, reassure them, and make sure you resolve the problem within a reasonable time.

Customers will switch if you don’t handle the problem in a responsible manner – like being reluctant to admit the mistake, or dismissing their claims, or giving them incorrect information.

Apple has a dedicated page which shows the status of their services – whether any of them are down or if they have identified an issue with any of them or if a reported problem has been resolved. Additionally, it gives users a heads up on any scheduled maintenance that could cause issues.

2. Don’t wait for customers to ask questions

Let’s look at a couple statistics relevant to this point:

  • Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn.
  • A typical business hears from a mere 4 percent of its dissatisfied customers.

If you want to deliver a stand-out customer experience, merely responding to customer queries won’t be enough. It is the most basic of expectations a customer has when they subscribe to a SaaS product/service. You need to go above and beyond if you wish to retain your customers.

This is why more SaaS businesses need to adopt a proactive approach to customer service. It will help you identify and resolve customer issues before they snowball into bigger problems. Not only does this shows that you are considerate, but you are saving customer’s time too.

In order to adopt a proactive approach to customer service, you should start:

  • Collecting customer feedback actively, and make sure you act upon it.
  • Regularly monitor user activity.

3. Automation should not replace personalization

There is no denying that automation has helped SaaS businesses more efficient, from lead nurturing to engaging with your customers. But at what cost?

SaaS businesses often use automation to tackle customer issues. Things go wrong when these systems fail to identify situations which need human intervention.

There may be several personalization options within the automated system itself, but, nothing can replace a human being who actually understands the emotions behind the screen.

Companies should use automation platforms to monitor and report problems, and not to communicate with people. When your customers want to seek help or convey their problems to you, make sure they have easy access to your help desk, phone, or live chat.  

4. Always be ready to help your customers

If you don’t help your customers when they need it, you will probably lose the customer forever.  You may have your reasons to do so – it might be against company policies, terms, and conditions, etc, but, this will create a very bad reputation for your business.

Remember, dissatisfied customers will talk to a lot more than when they are satisfied!

Few tips to avoid such situations are:

  • Never try to shift blame onto your customers.
  • If you are not trained or equipped to solve the problem, transfer the call or assign the ticket to someone who is capable immediately.
  • If there is no way your company can help them – take the time to explain clearly why you can’t/won’t do it, and offer suggestions and alternatives.
  • Never question customers intentions or their perception about your product.

5. Maintain consistency

According to Forrester Research, “70% of CMO’s did not list retention as a top priority.” This is the reason why many SaaS companies act indifferently after you become a paid customer. They are too focused on customer acquisition that they end up ignoring existing customers.

It is a very short-sighted approach. These stats will further confirm this point:

  • Increasing customer retention by just 5 percent boosts profits by 25 to 95 percent.
  • 68 percent of customers abandon companies because of poor customer services.
  • There’s a 5-20 percent chance of converting a new prospect. But, in the case of existing customers, you have a 60-70 percent chance of conversion.

The best way to improve retention is by being consistent. Don’t make unrealistic claims, be it the customer support team or the sales team. You can under promise and over deliver, but never over promise and under deliver. Customers will end up feeling cheated.

Winding up

At the end of the day, founders and CEOs of SaaS companies need to give more importance to customer retention. They should make sure that strategies are framed with the existing customers in mind. Then, educate and empower customer service teams to handle the customer queries and complaints effectively.

Authenticity, empathy, and promptness, these are three key attributes a support team should develop in order to build a long-term relationship with customers.

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Rohit

Rohit brings in about 14 years of Digital marketing experience and he has been an advisor to software start-ups in the Mobile and SaaS areas. Before getting into startups, Rohit has worked in various marketing, and product management roles at Unisys, Dell, and IBM. Specialties: Digital Marketing, Building, and Growing companies, Marketing, Business Development, M&A

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