Customer Support Primary Differentiator

According to a recent report released by Enterprise Strategy Group, many customers are satisfied with the value that they get from product. However, majority of the companies perform considerably poor when it comes to customer satisfaction. Failure to offer excellent support leads to poor retention rates and lower customer satisfaction.

Is building a superior product more important than offering customer support?

SaaS companies are usually obsessed with making their application relevant to their consumers. The need for innovation and ensuring a smoothly running app keeps founders and developers on their toes. This is understandable given the tough competition and constant possibility that a rival provider may come up with a better app than yours.

However, is product innovation the core of your success? What about customer service?

To be successful, having a great software alone is not enough. You have to invest in a culture of service, software architecture ready to handle multi-tenant implementation and end user support. Successful companies not only have great software, but also have customer support built into their core processes.

What leads to revenues? An awesome service or satisfied customers? While both product and customer service go together, failing to take care of the customers can leave you with an awesome service that no one is paying for.

Moreover, it’s the customers who generate revenues. Without them, your startup will not be a business. It will just be something that you do for fun.

Make Customers Your Business

Taking care of customers involves more than just offering support. You need to address the needs of your customers from the time they come in contact with you, up all through during their lifetime usage. Here are some ways:

1. Website functionality

The first interaction users may come with your company is through your website. Make your website easy to use for your customers. Having good navigation structure with non-destructive page elements is important. Go for a clean design that makes it easy for users to get the information they want. Here are some more take-outs about your website:

  • Be clear on what you do.
  • Link to the main content that customers may want to see
  • Have an easy sign up and checking out process
  • Use a minimalist design that correctly brings out your brand

2. Interaction

Make it easy for customers to interact with your team. Provide a range of options including email, social media, and phone numbers through which users can reach you. Also, be swift with your responses. A general rule of thumb is that all questions should be answered within 24 hours. The faster you respond to your users, the more likely you will close a sale and win their hearts.

3. Support

Customer support can build or break your business. When it comes to product vs. service, the latter is more important. Customers want to know that there is someone they can rely on when they have problems. Apart from this, they want the support to be offered satisfactorily and fast.

If you are bootstrapping your startup, you may not have the

financial muscle to offer support 24/7. However, this does not mean your support should be below par. Below are some ways through which you can make sure your support rock:

  • Use social media, especially Facebook and Twitter to provide quick support.
  • Implement a ticket system to help you manage support requests.
  • Have an FAQ page on your website.
  • Provide tutorial content on your website such as articles and videos to help people get started with your product.

Product vs. Support

There are two things about customers that you should keep tabs on: customer acquisition and customer lifetime value. These two determine the growth curve of a SaaS startup.

One mistake that most of them make is stopping to interact with customers at the end of purchase. What makes SaaS, and all subscription model businesses, different is that the customer has to be kept longer for the company to grow. Therefore, interaction with your customers should be built within all of your processes, including marketing , sales, support, product management, etc.

To grow your customer lifetime value, you need to invest in lowering your churn. Having a great product alone can’t help you in lowering churn. That is where customer support comes in. Even a small positive interaction like a lightning quick thoughtful response can make a customer a die hard fan for your company. As you may already know, acquiring customers is costly compared to retaining customers.

In the end, successful companies are those that provide a service that is needed in the market and support the service with excellent customer care. In the competitive world of SaaS, failing to care for your customers is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make.

Providing support is crucial to building your brand and improving customer loyalty. Remember, customers can forgive you for a faulty product, but will not forgive you for failure to provide support.