SaaS Customer Support

SaaS Customer Support

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Adam Superville
Product & Tech

Table of contents

    TL;DR Investing in SaaS customer support is important because it can be the deciding factor for customers when choosing a service. The quality of customer support can be measured using various metrics. The key components of a customer support strategy are the right tools, processes, and support teams. Above all, these components need to be configured to take full advantage of customer feedback.

    What is SaaS Customer Support?

    SaaS customer support refers to the actions and deliverables provided with the goal of helping customers make the most of your product after they’ve purchased it. Even though the role of the support team role includes resolving issues that customers may face while using your software, it can also extend to:

    • training on how to use the software, 

    • collecting information on new features, 

    • and creating a knowledge base. 

    SaaS customer support includes managing technical issues, dealing with licenses or login credentials and creating tickets related to bugs or improvements. Besides this, customer support teams also create a link between software users and members of product and engineering teams.

    Why is Customer Support Vital for a SaaS Company?

    Customer support is vital for SaaS companies because it helps to attract and retain customers by maintaining customer satisfaction and enhancing customer experience. It seems obvious enough, but the impact that good SaaS customer support can have may not be as obvious.

    The first stop for your customer’s feedback is from interactions with your support team or customer support software. Apart from correcting bugs, this feedback is crucial in SaaS because it facilitates the creation of a product that aligns with user expectations as far as possible. Customer support requests could be related to new features, a simplified usage or a sleeker interface.

    For many SaaS users, great customer service can be the deciding factor when selecting a product. Furthermore, acting on comments from users helps generate and maintain customer satisfaction by ensuring the robustness of your product in the face of industry and market evolutions. 

    In communication, we’re often reminded that the way information is presented is just as important as the information itself. In the same way, don’t forget that SaaS customer support teams — beyond the assistance they provide — also help to create and reinforce a positive image for your company in their approach to communicating with your clients.

    SaaS Support Models

    There are various SaaS support models, such as tiered, low-touch and high-touch. A tiered customer support model consists in escalating the issue to different teams in terms of complexity. A low-touch model contains more automated aspects, as compared to high-touch models where there is a greater degree of interaction with the support team.

    The support model applied depends on the market segment, the resources available and the support strategy. In addition, the model has a direct impact on the customer support software used. Regardless of the SaaS support model used, there are three key components that need to be considered: processes, tools, and the customer support team.

    SaaS Customer Support Processes

    In the context of customer support, having formalized processes allows us to ensure that customer issues are dealt with quickly and effectively. In essence, it’s the steps you take in dealing with the customer’s issue.

    A support process needs to clearly identify who does what tasks and when. For example, there could be a junior support team that deals with the problem first and a senior support team that takes over if a junior is not capable of resolving the issue. This also implies having a specific time frame, after which an issue should be passed from junior to senior.

    For SaaS companies, using the right tools for automation is a game-changer. It is important to consider what steps in your processes can be automated in order to free up time for other tasks. You’ve probably already received an automated response when sending an email to technical support. Many companies also use chatbots in order to resolve minor issues. However, in some industries, market segments or even cultures, customers may not appreciate this approach.

    Saas Customer Support Tools

    Having the right tools at your disposal can make all the difference in a SaaS company, for the customer, as well for the agents. The customer support software used can be as simple as a dedicated email. Nevertheless, in most SaaS companies, there are more advanced tools being used, such as ticketing systems or a voice of the customer tool. 

    By using customer support tools that boast more features, there can be significant improvements made on the level of service offered. One benefit is that you can have a more streamlined process, thus reducing response times and handling times. Using a more advanced support tool can also help centralize customer feedback, by providing a shared inbox.

    SaaS customer support teams may also need access to product-specific tools, especially in more technical fields. These could even be the same tools that are used by developers. This is because, depending on the processes that have been implemented, support teams may be able to analyze the customer’s data by modifying or creating files related to the way the software is being used.

    There is also plenty of common communication tools, that especially smaller SaaS companies can leverage for Customer Support. E.g. Customer Support with Slack.

    Customer Support Team

    You can have the best tools and the most streamlined process, but without the right customer support team, you can’t achieve anything. This means that having the right support team is essential. SaaS customer support teams need to have the right technical background, but they also need to be trained on how to properly interact with customers, especially while navigating cultural differences. 

    SaaS Customer Support Metrics

    There are many SaaS customer support metrics, each of which has different benefits and drawbacks. The metrics that should be used to measure success depend greatly on the product and the business model. No single customer support metric should be considered in isolation.

    Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

    A CSAT is a value given by the customer that rates the quality of service received, typically obtained through a survey sent out after the support team has done its job. While they are simple to implement and automate, CSAT results may not be representative of what most of your customers think. This is because people tend to respond to surveys only when the service was very good or very bad.

    Response Time

    In SaaS customer support, response time refers to the amount of time that passes before a customer receives a response. It’s also called the FRT (for first response time). This metric is useful for products and situations where time is a key factor. Analyzing response times can also help us better organize support processes. However, it may be time-consuming to properly track response times.

    Ticket Resolution Time

    This is the time taken to do the work needed to fix the issue itself. If we also factor in time spent on other related tasks, like communication or other aspects related to the support process, we’re looking at the handle time instead. Depending on the industry, it might be more pertinent to look at ticket resolution time instead of average handle time. In some contexts, the auxiliary tasks may require significant time. It might be worthwhile to examine if some of these tasks can be cut out from the support process.

    Resolution Rate

    This is the percentage of customer issues that are resolved over a given period. This KPI is probably the most important in SaaS customer support because it evaluates if the job is actually getting done. Nevertheless, if the product functions in a relatively simple way, then the resolution rate might be very high. This can distract from other issues, such as slow response times.

    Churn Rate

    In SaaS companies, the churn rate is the percentage of customers that decide to stop using (and paying for) the product over a given period of time. This is equivalent to analyzing the retention rate, which is the percentage of customers that continue using the product. The churn rate is not affected solely by the quality of customer support provided. It can also be influenced by the product itself or market changes, like a new competitor. However, it can be interesting to observe its relationship with customer support services.

    SaaS Customer Support Best Practices

    Two best practices can drastically improve the quality of SaaS customer support services: creating a knowledge base and centralizing customer feedback.

    Creating a Knowledge Base 

    A knowledge base should be a central aspect of your customer support strategy. Customers often want to solve their issues on their own and proper documentation is the best way to achieve that. A well-maintained knowledge base will also help to take the burden off of support teams. 

    The product, as well as how it's used, will dictate the form of the knowledge base. There are many options, but here are some common components of a knowledge base:

    • Descriptions of features

    • How-to guides

    • Frequently Asked Questions

    • Known bugs and workarounds

    Sharing Customer Feedback

    Through their daily interactions with customers, SaaS customer support teams receive numerous insights and feedback on the product. By sharing this precious information with developers and sales teams, the customer is firmly centered in the company’s activities.

    Using Productlane, you can centralize user feedback from a variety of commonly-used customer feedback sources and create connections with issue trackers. You can then further support customers by sharing your product roadmap and getting their response.

    FAQ on SaaS Customer Support

    What is customer support in SaaS?

    Customer support in SaaS refers to what is done to help customers make the most of the product during their subscription. While it does include resolving customers’ problems, it can also extend to training on the software, collecting suggestions for new features and writing product documentation.

    What is SaaS customer experience?

    SaaS customer experience is the overall impression people have when using your product and interacting with the company in this context. SaaS customer support is only a portion of the customer experience.

    How to build a SaaS support team?

    A SaaS support team should be formed based on the support strategy and model. In addition, team members need to have a significant technical background and knowledge of how to perform in a people-facing role.

    Time to start with continuous discovery.

    Productlane is built for a continuous feedback loop. With your customers as well as potential users.
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