“For acquiring new customers, you need to have a winning product, however, for retaining your customers, you need to have an excellent customer service.”
Tyrion Lannister, a recently made millionaire CEO, walks into a showroom to buy a luxury sedan (Monche), a car of his dreams. He spends huge pile of money on his fantasy car and drives it into woods to his home, far from the city. Just after few days, he finds that the luxury sedan is not comfortable for his body type and starts encountering few initial defects. Tyrion, due to this bad experience, gets frustrated and stresses about wasting his hard earned money. But he can’t do much about it now as he has made a full non-returnable payment for the product already. He is going to make it work for few years and then change, maybe!
Now-a-days, he is looking for a software product to help him increase employee engagement and reduce churn for his organisation. While surfing online, he came across a company called CultureMonkey. CultureMonkey has an easy-to-use product and follows subscription model where Tyrion can shell out few dollars to try out the effectiveness of the solutions offered. Also, he can just cancel the subscription whenever he wants which is where SaaS customer behaviour differs from real product consumers like the sedan customer in above example. While Tyrion is trying out the SaaS solution, it’s very important for CultureMonkey to convert him into a full time customer and also retain him for long term revenue. This is exactly where Customer Service comes into play. Customer Service presents an opportunity to build relationships with your customers, improve your product using their feedback and increase your revenue.
Objectives of Customer Service
The primary objectives of Customer Service in SaaS companies are as follows:
- To increase customer retention and decrease churn
- Ensure delightful experience for the customers so that they spread good word around, building publicity eventually
- Stay in touch proactively
In the following section, let us discuss main pillars which help in meeting these objectives.
Main pillars of Customer Service in SaaS:
The customer service comes into play right from the step when user comes to your website and starts exploring your product. Many companies have complicated Onboarding steps where they ask users for many details. That’s BAD! The whole Onboarding experience should be super easy for a user, to try out your product and see if your product can solve the problem they are looking for. While user is trying their hand on your product, show them the product walkthrough material which could be a combination of infographics, short texts or videos. The days of instruction manuals are long gone. The Onboarding experience is important because if your user doesn’t get to try out the product for what it's meant to be, it’s useless, no matter how winning the solution is!
2. Training of the Customer Service team
Different executives will have their own way of interacting with customers. While few can be good, few can be bad too. Don’t let them reinvent on their own. You should carefully define and put into place the customer interaction standards and guidelines for the whole team. It will also help in providing consistent experience to your customers.
3. Self-service options
In research carried out by Nuance, 67% of respondents preferred self-service over speaking to a company representative. While in another study by Coleman Parkes, 40% of people who contact a call centre have first looked for answers to their questions via self-service. If you ever had any trip related issue on Uber and tried out their self-service options, you would just fall in love with the product. You raise a complaint, and in matter of seconds, you get your refund. You don't have to talk to the customer support, explain your issue and invest your time. Great FAQs, short training videos and chatbots are very basic tools to enable self-service for customers.
4. Improve features which really matter
There would be 2 - 3 most used features in your product. Talk to your users, think it over and figure out how you can make it more easy to use. In general, these are the features for which your user invests in your product. Track your least engaged user or who are cancelling subscription and ask them for the feedback as they would be one of the best sources. In SaaS, the product keeps evolving, you keep adding new features and changes are inevitable. One important challenge while adding new features is if your users are not successful at finding and making use of this functionality. It is as good as the features being non-existent. So, be loud and communicate properly about these features to your customers.
5. Always be there
Maintain an impression on your customers that you are always there for them. Keep options of contact to the support team very loud and clear, in case of emergencies. Whenever they reach out to you, drop every other task as if you have been waiting for them. Such relationships will make them feel that you are always there to help them.
6. Do communicate regularly
Regular communication will assure your customers that you are there to help them whenever in need. Moreover, you can use this communication channel to tell them about any Downtime, Contract/Pricing changes, New features, Existing features or Just asking them if they need help. Sow the seeds of success early by ensuring that the customers feel totally comfortable with your service. This type of engagement is a must to build retention.
For customer, everyday is an opportunity to cancel on your product and for your customer service team, it’s their role to help your customers and make them super comfortable with your product. Happy customers will continue to do business with you, stick to your brand and refer potential customers your way, while unhappy customers will leave and advice others not to do business with you. Customer Service is so powerful that it can put your competitors out of business.
There is a famous saying by Steve Jobs on Customer Service: