Customer service on a budget

When you run a SaaS, customer service isn’t just nice to have. It’s absolutely mandatory. 

Study after study shows that customers don’t stick around simply because of a low price. The number one reason for customer loyalty is exceptional customer service. Customers are willing to pay more for your service if they feel supported and served. Your customers want to know that if a problem occurs, you’ll quickly and efficiently solve it. 

Here’s the bottom line: No one wants to feel like a commodity. Your customer wants to know that you value them and the best way to show that is through your customer care.

If you’re like many SaaS startups, you work with a skeleton staff and everyone wears multiple hats. That means you don’t have the budget to afford a huge customer service department. So, how do you provide excellent customer care when you’re on a shoestring budget? 

In this post, we share top tips you need to know. Let’s get started.

When Should You Invest in Customer Service?

Customer service on a budget

You need to invest in customer service right now (if not sooner). 

This applies to SaaS of all sizes. 

Even if you’re a new startup with the ink barely dry on your LLC, you need to build a customer service team. Your first customers are crucial to the foundation of your business, so it makes sense to invest in their satisfaction. Research shows that 72% of happy customers will refer at least 6 people. That’s huge for any business, and it all starts with a good customer service strategy.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to create an effective customer service strategy. Let’s talk about how you can do it on a budget.

Anticipate Customer Problems

What are potential problems that your customers may face while using your service?

Most customer problems boil down to two issues: Confusion and bugs within your service. If you can address those issues, you’ll significantly reduce customer service demands. 

The past is the best predictor for the future, so check out your past support tickets and complaints. Also, venture beyond your own records and research what your customers may say about your SaaS on social media or relevant forums. This can tell you exactly where your customers are having problems with your service. 

Armed with this information, you should take steps to remedy the problem, when possible. But not all problems can be fixed by tweaking your software. Some problems can be handled by creating a solid customer service strategy that anticipates hiccups and proactively reaches out to customers before they encounter the problem.

Set Customer Service Standard Operating Procedures

You need to create a system for how you’ll handle your customer care. The goal is to create a standard experience across the board so that all of your customers receive the care that you want them to have. You don’t want to offer uneven customer support where representative A goes above and beyond and representative B doesn’t take ownership of the problem.

In your standard operating procedures, address the following: 

  • The maximum amount of time the customer can wait before you solve their issue
  • What tone you’ll use when speaking to customers, including key phrases (i.e. Would you prefer your agents to use “no problem” or “my pleasure”?)
  • What representatives are empowered to do before escalating the issue to a manager
  • How you’ll follow up with a customer after resolving the problem

Onboard Customers

Customer onboarding is the process of introducing new customers to your service. Onboarding plays a crucial part in your customer service. Without onboarding, you’re setting your customers up for failure. Recently sold on your marketing promises, a new customer is excited to use your product but they have no clue where to begin. 

This is where your onboarding comes in. 

Effective customer onboarding can prevent frustration and reduce support tickets. Here’s what to include in your onboarding process from a customer service perspective:

Welcome Email

Introduce new customers to your service. Also, set expectations for how frequently you’ll be in touch with your customers.

Starter Tutorial

Whether within your welcome email or as part of your in-app tour, provide a short tutorial to show customers how to use their new service. Consider creating a video tutorial to quickly showcase key features or demonstrate how to accomplish a task. Alternatively, you can provide an interactive walk-through when the new customer explores your app for the first time.

Educational Emails

Over a series of messages, deployed over the course of a week, educate your customer on how to win with your tool. Why send multiple emails? This gives your customers a gentle nudge to continue using your product each day. It also effectively trains them, which will reduce frustration. Also link to your knowledge base (more on knowledge bases later). 

Personal Email or Call

Whether you reach out via email or phone, contact your new customers and ask them how they’re doing and if they need any help using your service. Don’t use this as an opportunity to self-promote. Instead, focus purely on helping the customer succeed.

Show Your Support

Make it super easy for customers to reach out to you for support. There are some services that make it difficult to contact them for any reason. That’s not good service. If your customer has a problem, question, concern, or even a compliment, they should be able to reach out to you easily.

Within your app or website, add an icon that links to your customer support page. The icon should be prominently placed (typically at the top right or bottom right of the screen where most customers look). The icon should also be present on every page of your website and your app.

On areas of your website/ app where you anticipate problems, be proactive. Display a pop-up message that offers specific help in relation to the page the visitor is on. For example, you can ask “Do you have a question about our prices?” or “Need help figuring out which package is best for you?” It’s the extra little moments that elevate the customer’s experience and show your commitment to customer care.

Create Self-Help Documents

Customer service on a budget

Not all customer service is live support. Customer service is everything you do to support your customers with using your product. 

[tweetthis] Not all customer service is live support. Customer service is everything you do to support your customers with using your product. [/tweetthis]

This also means that you can provide self-help support. Offering self-help options is an affordable option that can also reduce the stress on your support team. Self-help support includes the following:

FAQs

Frequently asked questions, or FAQs, are your first line of defense. FAQs can help your customers fully understand your product and remedy any problem they may have before they reach out to your customer support team. Hire a freelance writer to craft your FAQs.

Knowledge Base

The next step up from an FAQ page is a beefy knowledge base where you share resources and guides for how to use your product. Your knowledge base is your support library, and it’s never complete. You should constantly update and build your knowledge base. You can also hire a freelance writer to write your knowledge base, too.

Tutorials

In addition to your knowledge base, have a dedicated area on your website for tutorials. Tutorials will help you onboard new customers as well as empower existing customers. Your customer support team can then link to pre-written tutorials when responding to customer questions or troubleshooting problems.

Offer Customer Service Over Multiple Channels

Give your customer several ways to reach out to you. Even if you offer your customer multiple ways to connect with your customer service, it doesn’t make it unaffordable. 

Here are the four channels you can use for customer service for dirt-cheap:

1. Email

Email is the customer service standard for many SaaS. If you prefer to use email for customer service, create a dedicated and shared mailbox for all incoming and outgoing customer communications. Multiple team members can work out of one inbox.

Here’s how to write customer service emails that get results.

2. Social Media

Use social media for customer service. A lot of SaaS are going social now because it’s easy and quick to compose a reply on social media. Another benefit to using social media for your customer service? Your posts can be made public so that multiple people can see the answer to a question. (You’d be surprised how many people have the same question or concern but are afraid to ask.)

3. Live Chat

You can enable live chat on your website or app to help the customer in real-time. Before introducing a live agent, you can have a chat bot answer simple questions, direct them to the knowledge base, and also filter the customer to the person who can best help them (i.e. sales, technical support, etc.). By the way, LiveAgent offers a Forever Free plan that you can use on a tight budget.

4. Phone 

Another option is to ask customers to call you on the phone. Fortunately, you don’t need to have a dedicated call center. You can use a virtual service that can ring a set of numbers you program. LiveAgent also offers free call center software.

Invest in a Customer Support Software

You can DIY all of your customer service components, such as email and chat, but you really don’t need to when you can use a more elegant solution for your customer service. 

Here’s a look at three free customer support software options:

1. Freshdesk

2. HubSpot CRM

3. HelpSpot

Final Thoughts

Forget slashing prices or offering more features. Use the above tips to retain more customers. Delivering quality customer service is the absolute best way to reduce churn in your SaaS.

Before you go, check out these related posts:

Don’t forget to download this list of tips for creating amazing customer service emails.


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