A lot goes into running a successful SaaS company. From research to development to marketing, many factors play a role in your ability to establish the solid customer base you want. One of the most important of these factors is customer support. No matter how great your product, it’s impossible to earn and retain customers if you’re not equipped to answer their questions and help resolve their issues. And the best way to deliver that kind of support is with an omnichannel approach.
If you’re not yet offering your customers omnichannel support, keep reading to learn why it’s time to make the switch, as well as five tips to help you get started.
Why should SaaS companies take an Omnichannel Approach?
Today, most SaaS companies are aware that they should be offering customers multiple support channels. That’s why it’s now widely considered the standard practice to offer both email and phone, at the very minimum. Unfortunately, many companies still take a multichannel approach — meaning that each of the support channels that they offer operates independently of one another. They don’t have systems in place for sharing information between these channels, and customers often have inconsistent experiences as a result. And that’s where an omnichannel model becomes essential.
With this approach, you connect all of the channels in your company’s support strategy. Agents can easily access information about a customer’s purchasing history and previous support interactions, no matter which channel they use to assist them. As you can imagine, this improves the support experience across the board.
For example, let’s say a customer contacts a company’s email support with a question about their bill. They receive a response, but still have questions — so they decide to follow up with a phone call. If the company in this scenario utilized a standard multichannel approach, this customer would likely need to start over, reiterate their original question, and explain the response that they received via email. It’s not difficult to see how this might be frustrating.
But if the company used an omnichannel approach, the agent could simply look up the customer’s information and get up to speed within seconds. That’s much more convenient. And beyond the better experience it provides customers, an omnichannel strategy also enables support teams to address and resolve inquiries more efficiently. The easier it is for them to find the information they need, the faster they can assist customers — and provide the kind of experience those customers expect.
5 Tips for Creating an Effective Omnichannel Support Strategy
Making the switch to omnichannel support is worth it, but creating a strategy that works for your company isn’t always a straightforward process. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five tips to help you get started.
1. Choose a Support Platform with an Omnichannel Dashboard
The first step in making the switch to an omnichannel strategy is selecting a support platform that provides the features you need. If you’re already using a support tool that offers omnichannel functionality to manage one of your channels (like email or live chat), this is the most logical choice.
That said, migrating one support channel to a new platform is much easier than making the switch after you’ve integrated several into the mix. This means it’s worth your time to do a little research up front and make sure that the option you’ve chosen is not only the best choice right now, but will give you room to expand and improve your strategy. So even if you’re only using two or three channels right now, consider whether you might add others in the future. If so, you’ll want to make sure the platform you choose supports those channels.
Beyond that, your primary goal should be to select a support tool that makes it easy for your team to access and resolve inquiries, regardless of the channel a customer uses. These dashboards eliminate the need for agents to waste time switching between platforms or tools so that they can assist customers as efficiently as possible.
2. Enable Team Collaboration
One of the most significant benefits of an omnichannel strategy is that it allows all of your support agents to work together as a unified team. You can make the most of this by ensuring that your approach allows for collaboration on inquiries.
Fortunately, most support platforms intended for omnichannel teams offer built-in chat features that make it easy to share information about individual tickets and involve other team members when necessary. This way, if one of your support agents knows that someone else on your team has previous experience with a specific issue, they can seek their advice and assistance on finding an appropriate solution.
3. Offer Mobile-friendly Channels
As you determine which channels are the best fit for your company’s support strategy, one of your top priorities should be offering options that are in line with your customers’ preferences. And while those preferences might vary depending on your user base, there’s one you can safely assume no matter your target demographic: They want mobile-friendly support.
An increasing amount of consumers use their smartphones and other mobile devices for the tasks that used to be limited to desktop and laptop computers, and they expect to be able to accomplish all of the same goals. That certainly holds true for customer support.
In fact, 77% of customers aged 18-24 say they seek support on mobile more than once per month, and the same holds true for 65% of customers aged 25-34. This means that you should not only include channels that are accessible on smartphones but also provide the same quality of support regardless of the device a customer uses to contact you.
4. Include In-app Options
As a SaaS company, many of your customers will be actively engaging with your product when they run into questions and issues. In many cases, they’ll even be seated at an internet-connected computer — making it easy for them to reach out via one of your digital channels for assistance. But the key to making sure that they take this step (instead of getting frustrated and giving up) is removing any barriers to getting the help and information they need.
And you can do this by building support features directly into your product’s interface. Wave, for example, places a “Help” button in the lower left corner of every screen within their accounting software. Clicking this button opens a search box that lets users find guides and resources on whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish, without leaving the tool.
This increases the chances that users will find the information they need to complete a task, along with increasing the chances that they’ll stick around long enough to do so. And considering how big an impact enabling your customers to reach their goals with your product can have on retention, this is a big win from a relatively simple addition.
5. Create Self-service Resources
You may not think of self-service resources as a “channel” in the same sense as a phone, email, or live chat, but they’re an essential part of any effective SaaS support strategy. These resources enable your users to quickly find the information they need, and to complete tasks using your product without waiting for a support agent. Plus, they eliminate the need for your team to spend time on relatively simple questions so that they can spend more time on more complex customer issues.
But your job isn’t done once you’ve published a handful of articles. Instead, you should treat your self-service resources as an integral part of your company’s support strategy. Zapier, for example, gives users who are unsatisfied with their articles and tutorials the option to either provide feedback on their content or to get in touch with their team.
This way, if a user is unable to find the answers they need, they don’t just give up — and can help the company to be better equipped to support other users in the future.
As a SaaS company, delivering excellent customer support isn’t optional. It’s an essential part of your company’s ability to succeed. And today, that means not only offering your customers multiple channels on which to seek assistance but providing a consistent experience on each. So if you’re not yet taking an omnichannel approach to support, it’s time to consider upgrading your strategy.
After all, the better you become at providing your users with the assistance they need, the better you’ll be at converting them into long-term customers for your brand — and the more effective you’ll be at reaching your overall business goals.