Differentiating your SaaS Support with a Helpdesk

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No matter what you do, your customers are going to need help using your SaaS product. It’s just a matter of time. Even Apple, the world’s first trillion-dollar company, needs to offer support. In some sense, you can think of your customer support like an Apple repair store for your SaaS product. And when the competition is tough, you need ways to differentiate your support. Even if you have a revolutionary product, you need to be able to respond quickly when problems arise so that you stand out from your competitors.

Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to do that with an intuitive helpdesk. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at ways you can differentiate your SaaS support by using one of these helpdesks. But first, you have to understand why you need support in the first place.

Do SaaS Products Really Need Support?

First of all, there’s a difference between customer service and customer support.

Customer service is a reactionary response to your customers’ needs, whereas customer support is a proactive approach that seeks to address issues before they arise. Providing customer support should be your goal, as it allows you to get ahead of any issues and truly be customer-centric. Your customer support is often the difference between a lifelong customer and no customer at all. Winning that battle is one of many keys to success as a SaaS company.

But how does that process play out?

In short, customer support via a helpdesk relies on technology to strategize and implement a process that lets you focus on resolving issues as they arise. If you were to visualize that process, it would look something like this:

The result is an increase in profitability and better customer retention. All of this is built on one thing: technology. Specifically, helpdesk technology. But just how effective is this technology? According to one study, companies that utilize effective helpdesk support see an average of 23 times more customer satisfaction. The SaaS brand ActiveCampaign provides a great example of how good customer support works in your favor. They recently achieved 50,000 monthly subscribers to their products, and it’s largely because they focus on providing proactive customer support.

Customer success, one of the top solutions they offer, seemingly has nothing to do with their product.

But when you dig deeper, it’s clear that their success is built on giving their customers what they truly need. Beyond meeting customer expectations, they provide a vast amount of resources to both their customers and potential customers. They have a podcast and a blog. They’ve even built communities that allow customers to collaborate.

All of these elements combined provide a wider range of ways for ActiveCampaign to resolve issues and keep their customers happy. So now that you see why helpdesks and online technologies are such a vital piece of the puzzle for SaaS businesses, let’s look at some ways they can help differentiate your business.

Helpdesks Let You Focus on the Metrics That Matter

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach in business. Customer support is no different. When it comes to your SaaS business, you need to focus on the support metrics that matter the most to your customers. Lean Analytics calls this the One Metric That Matters. In short, it’s the process of finding the few (or one) metric that drives your bottom line based on your business, audience, and niche. Improving that metric means improving profitability and paving the way forward.

In terms of customer support, that one metric can be just about anything. It may be something simple like your number of ticket resolutions per week or lowering your average resolution time. Whatever it is, the right helpdesk will allow you to find the most important metrics first. Then, you can adjust your support tactics to match the uniqueness of your brand.

They Let You Optimize Your Best Communication Channels

SaaS support is all about finding the proper channels to communicate with your audience. The last thing you want is to communicate via the wrong channel or potentially force your customer to use an avenue they don’t want to use.

The great thing about our modern world is that there are lots of ways you can make your customer support magic happen. Just to name a few, you have:

  • Email
  • Social
  • Phone
  • Live chat
  • Self-service

And those are just the start. Just like finding the metrics that matter, you need to find out which channels provide the best service to your customers. Once you do, you’ll be better situated to resolve issues and address complaints in a format that your customer will appreciate.

For example, the support team at the SaaS business Mention were able to reduce churn by 22% by finding out the best ways to communicate with their customers. They were able to segment their audiences and optimize their responses in a way that let them stand out from their competitors, and it only took them three months to execute.

While it may take a little time to see the results you want, optimizing your communication channels with the proper helpdesk technology can clearly make a difference. Even if you reduce churn by 1%, you’ll be building your customer base that much faster through good communication.

They Let You Scale Appropriately

Growth is tricky in any business, but it’s especially so for SaaS companies. As a SaaS company, you can often see your growth by looking at how big of a workforce you have behind your technology. Your team of developers and designers might be growing, but that may leave your support high and dry. No matter how effectively you fill your niche, you need to have a team behind your helpdesk in order to truly maximize its potential.

And that means that you need to consider the size of your support team and the current number of customers your product has. The wrong balance could mean that you’re paying either too much or too little for customer support. Thankfully, there have been plenty of studies on this exact issue. One of the more helpful studies produced the Playbook for Customer Success, which walks SaaS founders through the process of balancing how many employees they hire with demand.

For example, it’s recommended that you have all of your employees involved in customer support when you’re starting out. But when you get to 20 employees, you should form a customer support team that can start building a knowledge base for self-service support. Of course, these are only guidelines, and you’ll need to adapt them to your unique business. But starting with these guidelines and investing in helpdesk technology at the appropriate time can be the difference between success and failure.

A great example of this comes from PosterGully. If you were to look at the number of tickets they handle per month (which is about 500), you would think that they need a pretty large team to deal with them all.

But because they invested in a helpdesk at the right time, they only need a team of two. And by utilizing the flexibility of their helpdesk, they can allow customer support inquiries in almost every situation. Here’s an example of their Help & Support overlay form that’s accessible on every page of their site:

And then if that’s not enough to help a customer out, they also provide live chat for those that need faster assistance.

If they weren’t using the right technology to help them streamline support based on their performance as a business, they very easily could have hired too many employees for their support staff. That would mean less profitability and more headaches for their customers. And that’s why a helpdesk can differentiate even smaller companies from their competition. You can spend less on support without sacrificing your customers’ needs.

They Free up Your Team for the Important Tickets

Last but not least, you need a way to automatically prioritize which issues are the most important to your customers. Without a helpdesk that can help you do that, you’ll have to sift through everything manually.

When you can potentially receive hundreds of help tickets in one month, that’s a lot of sorting and not a lot of resolving. That makes using a helpdesk to automatically prioritize tickets a huge differentiator. It creates an environment that allows your support team to quickly resolve the issues that could potentially cause a customer to leave forever. You can also use your helpdesk to provide easy self-service options for your customers. That means fewer tickets overall and faster resolution times for your customers. And faster resolutions means happier customers, which leads to improved lifetime value.

Just look at how Beyond Retail used their helpdesk to automate their ticketing and optimize their support efforts. They see more than two million visitors per month, and they’re able to alleviate much of their support workload due to ticket automation. And when you visit some of their subsidiary sites, you’ll see other classic helpdesk elements as well.

Drench, for example, offers live chat support that helps their customers quickly find what they’re looking for:

By finding the right way to prioritize tickets and resolve issues faster, you can set your business apart as one that cares about your customers’ needs. Even if you already care, the right technology will help display that clearly to your customer.

Conclusion

Helpdesk support is one of the bedrock elements of a SaaS business. The sooner you get your support up and running, the faster you can differentiate yourself from your competition.

SaaS products need good customer support to be profitable, as they help create a positive customer experience from the very start. They allow you to find which parts of your customer service are working well and help you improve where you see pitfalls in your metrics. You can also use a helpdesk to find out which communication channels your customers prefer. By optimizing the proper channels, you can stand out that much more from your competitors.

You’ll also have a clearer insight into how you need to scale your support efforts. Your workforce is often an understated element of support, but helpdesks make it simple to grow your team. And finally, the right helpdesk will help you prioritize the issues that will allow you to create a better atmosphere for your clients. Faster service means happier customers, and that’s good for you. When all of these elements come together, you’ll be amazed at how smoothly your customer support efforts can run.

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