What is the best kind of customer support?
Ideally, customer support means “supporting” the customers – hearing out their woes about the product, solving their issues, answering all queries, and making it easy for them to use the product. For a SaaS business, where the customer could be hundreds of miles away, providing an unmatched support experience is imperative. Today, I would like to present an interesting twist to Customer Support, that would give a SaaS business an additional edge over its competitors.
I was recently in a conversation with Vikas Jha, the CEO and Founder of Alore – an AI-powered SaaS CRM, when my entire outlook towards customer support changed. I realized that customer support does not just mean helping a customer when something goes wrong but also ensuring that such a situation occurs rarely. I would love to share a few lessons that I took away from my insightful conversation with Vikas. He and his team have been working with this ideology at Alore and they have not received a single support request for the past 3-months!
Don’t wait for your customers to make a support request
Usually, customers would contact the customer support team in case they are facing an issue in using a product and its features efficiently. Not waiting for the customers to make that support request would mean anticipating their frustration and getting in touch with them at the right time to provide proactive customer support. Isn’t that a superpower every company would love to have?
As a company builds a product, its sole mission is to solve a pain point for a certain target group who’d potentially become customers for the company. Now when the product is finally put in the hands of those customers, it makes no sense for the customers to contact your customer support every time they use the product. Having built the product, you must know the kind of support your customers might need and offer that proactively.
For instance, when a new SaaS product is launched, it should be backed with a comprehensive knowledge base that users can refer to in case they face some difficulty understanding the product and its features. But that’s solving just one part of the problem. It is important to keep a close watch on your customer’s behaviour and usage pattern so you could jump right in whenever a customer hits a roadblock.
How: Be data-driven. Identify the touch-points and collect as much data as possible for all these touch-points. This will help you understand where your customers are clicking, whether the features that you have provided are relevant for the customers, and many other aspects of how the customer is using your product. With the data collected, you can understand the customer’s behaviour on your application.
Tools: Heatmap.me, Lucky Orange, Crazy Egg, Hotjar
Automate the customer support process
With all this data collected, you are now prepared to provide top-notch support experience to your customers. But what happens if you or your team members aren’t available to respond to the customer? The turn-around time increases and the customer has to wait for so long that it irritates him. In this case, the best way out is to automate the support process.
How: Write articles with step-by-step solutions to all the issues that you have identified using heatmaps and even the ones that customers have flagged. Prepare videos and gifs that your customers can easily access. Using these they can easily understand your product and its functionalities. Finally, with all this prep, you can automate the customer support chats with the help of smart customer chat apps and chatbots.
- For the creation of videos and gifs – CloudApp, CamStudio, TinyTake, SmartPixel, Ezvid.
- For automation of customer chats – Intercom, Crisp, Drift, Layer
Stay in touch
It is always necessary for you to stay in touch with your customers, especially in an online platform. The customers really appreciate it when you are constantly paying attention and regularly interacting with them. When you are releasing a new feature, your customers must know about it from you and not while using your product. It will be a cherry on top if your customers are well aware of the time that the new feature will be released and how it is to be used to enhance their productivity.
How: Create communities on social media and always keep your customers engaged. Send regular e-mails to keep your customers well informed. That will always keep your customers delighted and even make them excited about all the new features that you would be releasing.
Tools: Facebook Community, Twitter Chat, Reddit Group, E-Mails
Create human experiences
When a loyal customer of the Morton’s Steakhouse tweeted, requesting for his favourite steak dinner to be delivered to him as soon as his flight landed, he didn’t think he would actually receive it. But Morton’s did wonders and wanted their special customer to feel extra special! This is what inspired Vikas. One of his customers, sitting in Greece, wanted to have a pizza on a Saturday night. Within an hour, a pizza delivery boy found himself at the doorstep of this dear customer of Alore with a freshly baked pizza and a message that read, “SURPRISE, from Team Alore”. Not only was he pleased, he also shared his experience with all the members of the Facebook community and even became Alore’s very own evangelist.
How: The best suggestion is to get innovative – experiment with your own ways and find out what works the best for your organization.
Build a 100% bug-free software
What? That isn’t even possible! A bug-free software is a MYTH. Well, it IS a myth. Sometimes, some bugs remain unidentified by your testing team and this could be causing a problem for your customers. In that case, the only way is to be available 24/7 for your customers so that you and your team can identify and solve such bugs, which could even be critical.
How: Have dedicated customer service teams that are always available for your customers and can respond immediately. Build a robust testing framework and process within your organisation. Most often product development team ignores product testing, which leads to some bugs to go unnoticed. Ensure that your developers understand the importance of testing and engage them in testing sprints too!
Listen to your customers
When your customers become your fans, they would want to see you grow. They would want your product to improve and keep improving. Some customers even might want to see a few features changed, altered, added or removed. As a product owner, you must always be open to such feedback, on all platforms. Don’t just capture feature requests, but use NPS as a metric to measure customer experience and use it to improve your customer loyalty. Use an automated NPS solution like Omoto to stay on top of your customer feedback and take prompt action on it.
How: Ensure that you capture their feedback as soon as you provide them support. There is no point in sending them to fill out a survey for you a couple of hours later.