7 Ways to Transform Customer Service in the SaaS Industry

Boss Reviewing the 7 Ways to Transform Customer Service in the SaaS Industry
June 27, 2023
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The software as a service (SaaS) industry is the epitome of innovation. Yet, customer service—a time-honored staple of any industry—is vital for success.

Why is good SaaS customer service critical? First, businesses in this industry are typically subscription or usage-based, which means customer retention is crucial to the bottom line.

Additionally, 83% of customers claim a company’s customer experience is equally important as its products and services. So SaaS companies must provide excellent customer service to keep customers happy.

But how can you ensure that you provide quality customer service? Here are 7 ways to improve SaaS customer support.

1. Set the tone with onboarding

Quality customer support should start the moment a customer interacts with your business.

In the SaaS industry, this often begins with a free trial or demo. And it’s an opportunity to set the tone for a positive customer experience with a helpful onboarding process.

After all, there's a learning curve as users navigate new software, and if they don’t understand how to use the product, they may get frustrated and switch to a competitor. To avoid this, create an onboarding flow that shows new customers how to use the product and highlights the most important features.

Onboarding can take many forms, including:

  • Welcome email series
  • Video tutorials
  • Message boxes (for users to navigate the interface for the first time)
  • Help centers (which we’ll discuss below)

Additionally, onboarding is crucial to move free-trial customers toward the adoption phase, where they see the value of your product and decide to invest in it.

2. Provide comprehensive documentation

Customers often prefer to help themselves before contacting support. In fact, 36% of consumers would rather endure an inconvenient experience, like losing their internet connection for a day, than contact customer service.

So save customers the trouble (and reduce your call or ticket volume) by providing a knowledge center or help center with tips on how to use your product and troubleshoot issues. If your product is an API, this can include reference documentation, quickstarts, and sample code to give developers a head start.

This type of self-service helps users learn to make the most of your product without contacting support every time they have a question. Just remember to give customers the option to contact support from every page in case they can’t resolve their issue with the self-service resources.

3. Create frictionless support across channels

Customer support happens on many channels, from phone calls to live chat. But wherever customers interact with your business, they want a seamless experience.

However, in a 2022 study, 55% of customers revealed their customer support experiences didn’t feel seamless.

The likeliest culprit? Disconnected systems. With disconnected channels, data doesn’t flow between them, and agents can’t access the context of previous interactions to provide a consistent experience.

Additionally, the same study found that 47% of companies intend to unify systems and tools to reduce agent effort and create more efficient workflows. This is a step in the right direction, as unified systems empower customer-facing employees to deliver better experiences backed by real-time data.

4. Predict customers’ needs

Reactive customer support is just one part of the equation—customers also want businesses to predict their needs and provide personalized, proactive support.

However, only 15% of customers report that most support experiences reflected their specific preferences, needs, and previous interactions. So SaaS companies have an opportunity to stand out from competitors by using data to offer proactive support at every stage of the customer journey.

For example, if customers in the free-trial stage typically contact support with questions about how to set up their dashboard, send a proactive welcome email showing them how to do so. Or if existing customers often contact you with questions about certain features, create a webinar series with advanced-feature tutorials.

5. Communicate your data protection policies

Data privacy is vital in the SaaS industry because businesses often input private customer data and other sensitive information into business applications. And customers want to know this data is secure: 98% of customers want businesses to guarantee their data privacy and be transparent about data usage.

So as you onboard new customers, communicate transparently about your data protection policies and make this information accessible. For example, create a clear path to your business’ data retention and deletion policies.

6. Implement AI solutions

AI is the most talked-about innovation in tech today. And it can help contact centers overcome many challenges, like the fact that 59% of companies report not having enough real-time data about customer intention.

How can AI help? Tools like Google Cloud Contact Center AI integrate with contact center platforms to offer features like:

  • Virtual agents
  • Real-time guidance (for live agents based on customer intent)
  • Recommended resources (for agents)
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Call transcription

When contact center agents have access to these tools in a single user interface, they can work more efficiently and provide a seamless, personalized customer experience.

7. Share insights with product teams

Customer support and product teams have one thing in common: the goal to meet customers’ needs.

Yet, these teams often work in silos, creating a disconnected experience for employees and customers.

However, businesses can create a more holistic experience by building relationships between customer support, product, and other teams by sharing valuable insight into what customers want.

For example, the customer support team is often the first to learn about bugs and other product issues directly from customers. So gathering these insights and sharing them with the product team can help them fix bugs and deploy product updates that address customers’ most pressing needs.

This makes customers feel heard and valued and can result in better customer retention.

Improve SaaS customer support with Twilio Flex

Many of the customer support tips in this post require certain tools to create seamless customer experiences across channels. But that doesn’t mean you must replace all your current systems.

With Twilio Flex, you can build upon your contact center without a major overhaul of your systems. A Flex contact center enables businesses to:

  • Add new digital channels that integrate with your existing systems.
  • Integrate AI tools like Google Cloud CCAI with your contact center.
  • Create a single dashboard where customer service agents can access customer data, view the context of previous interactions, and engage customers across channels.
  • Adapt any aspect of your contact center as your needs evolve.

Want to learn more? Here at Twilio, our sales development representatives wanted to improve how they connect with customers and personalize every interaction, so we created a custom solution. Read about what we built with Flex and how other companies use Flex to engage customers.