Customer support can easily become a huge money pit instead of a tool for building revenue, no matter the industry you’re in. But if you’re a SaaS company, you know just how crucial it can be to keep costs down. Especially if you’re just getting started and your customer base isn’t large enough to support your operational costs just yet.
If your support strategy is the least bit inefficient, you run the risk of draining your SaaS company of those precious extra funds you need to keep growing. Luckily, there are tools that you can use to keep your customer support costs under control. But first, let’s talk about why keeping a close eye on SaaS costs is so important.
Why SaaS Costs Matter
Most SaaS companies have a hard time reaching profitability. Studies show1 that the median EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) for public SaaS companies was -5.4% in 2017. Within the same survey, the median EBITDA for private SaaS companies was -14%. Why?
Because although SaaS companies tend to grow faster than other software companies, profitability usually gets delayed until more people purchase subscriptions.
The bottom line is that most SaaS companies won’t be all that profitable until they have a steady customer base. And even if your SaaS company is growing fast, you’ll usually have to cover higher expenses to support and adjust to that growth. So what’s the biggest way to improve profitability until you reach a steady customer base? Cut costs.
And what’s a huge cost for most companies, regardless of the type of industry? Customer service. It’s a 350 billion dollar a year industry2. But you have to be careful when cutting customer service costs because you need to avoid compromising the quality of your service when doing so.
The first thing you can do is to set up helpdesk software to help centralize information to avoid paying separate costs for every support channel you offer
1. Get Helpdesk Software
A helpdesk can help you resolve tickets faster than ever before, all while helping each of your teams work together like a well-oiled machine. When your support teams run more efficiently, you’ll cut out unnecessary costs usually associated with manually organizing and synchronizing customer support tickets.
Hired.com achieved an average first response time of two hours and an average resolution time of seven and a half hours after installing a Freshdesk helpdesk. You can achieve the same improvements with a helpdesk because your team won’t have to track the status of tickets by hand or spend hours tracking down lost customer support queries. Instead, the helpdesk does this work for you and frees up your agents to do what they do best: help people.
Automation available in Freshdesk can help you and your team sort tickets automatically, automate routine follow-ups, and execute several actions at one time.
You’ll also be able to use predefined answers and stay up to date with automatic notifications for each ticket. Since helpdesks allow your agents to get more done in less time while handling some of the work for them, you’ll save your company time and money (all while improving your overall support strategy).
While a helpdesk is a great start, some other automated support options can help you keep support costs down.
2. Add Automated Support Options, like Walkthroughs
With automated support options in place, some of your customers might be able to avoid having to contact customer service in the first place. Walkthroughs that explain how to use your service to new users can help you curb questions from new customers experiencing a learning curve.
A great example is this seven-step walkthrough from Citation Machine, a bibliography creator and grammar checking service.
Every feature is explained in detail so that users aren’t left guessing about how to navigate the service. You can create a similar walkthrough for your service, and you can even include images or video that explain each step more comprehensively.
CloudApp for Freshdesk makes it easy to create GIFs, screenshots, screen recordings, and annotations that you can add to the walkthrough on your website.
Trigger your walkthroughs to pop up when a new visitor hits your site or when they download a new feature.
You can even use them to answer specific support questions or better explain answers in your knowledge base articles, which are yet another wonderful tool for keeping support costs low.
3. Encourage the Use of Your Knowledge Base
Up to 75% of customers think that knowledge bases are a convenient support method for a reason. A solid knowledge base is packed full of helpful information that customers can use to find answers to their FAQs. That way, they won’t have to go through the trouble of asking your team for help instead.
Your knowledge base should also include tutorials or explanations for troubleshooting common problems. Add a search bar to make it easy for visitors to search for keywords related to their issue. That way, they can find the articles they need in a fraction of the time.
Here’s what HuBone’s knowledge base search bar looks like:
That said, your search bar might not make much of a difference if users can’t find your knowledge base in the first place. Then they might contact your support team to find information that they could easily find on their own. Make your knowledge base easy to find on your site. Train agents to encourage customers to check the knowledge base for answers first before contacting support.
With Freshdesk, you can add meta information to your knowledge base articles in a pinch to help them reach maximum discoverability.
Knowledge bases aren’t just good for helping your company keep customer support costs down. They’re also helpful for keeping costs for agent training down. Knowledge bases are an excellent source of training materials and tutorials that new support representatives can refer back to while familiarizing themselves with your service.
An outdated knowledge base might actually increase SaaS support costs because the outdated information presented as the solution to an issue might not work with your service anymore. Be sure to keep knowledge bases up to date to avoid frustrated customers fed up with incorrect information.
Finally, never forget the power that your social media channels hold as a cost control tool.
4. Don’t Forget Your Social Media Channels
If you’ve got any company social accounts, you can essentially use them as free support channels. While we don’t recommend that you use social media as your sole type of support, it’s still important. And it doesn’t cost anything to use social platforms to help your customers. In fact, if you don’t respond fast enough, you could lose up to 30% of customers3 with an issue or complaint to competitors.
Talk about costly. And research shows that 32% of customers4 expect a response on social media within 30 minutes, while 42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes. If you want to reduce costs while also keeping customers happy and boosting retention, take your social channels seriously.
Use them to socialize with your customers and address their concerns, problems, and complaints. You can even create a separate account solely for helping users with any issues they might encounter with your service, like Box (and many other SaaS companies).
Freshdesk offers a helpdesk completely committed to social media where you can monitor every brand mention, convert posts to tickets, and build relationships with your followers all from one place.
Keeping customer support costs down is essential, no matter the kind of company you are. But if you’re a SaaS company, it’s smart to pay close attention to your costs compared to your expenses. It’s easy for them to get out of hand if you’re still in the process of building out your customer base. Luckily, there are some tools that you can implement to reduce SaaS customer support costs. Try out these four tools today to keep your SaaS customer support costs under control.
1 – http://cloudstrategies.biz/imperative-reduce-cost-saas-service/
2 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2017/09/25/customer-service-is-a-350b-industry-and-its-a-mess/#544544a011be
3 – https://coolerinsights.com/2017/10/infographic-social-media-customer-care-statistics/
4 – https://www.brandembassy.com/resources/blog/how-digital-customer-service-has-influenced-customer-expectations