11 Jan
18 Min
min to read

Non-Intuitive SaaS Customer Support Tips for Customer Retention in 2024

Support Teams

In the cutthroat world of SaaS, a mere 5% increase in customer retention can unlock a 25% profit surge.

No wonder customer support sits on a goldmine – one primed for excavation with the right SaaS support model and strategies. But simply "solving queries" won't unlock  SaaS customer success.

Fierce competition and rising customer expectations, amplified by advancements in AI, demand a proactive and quickly-adapting approach. Customer support agents in SaaS now need to nurture interest and confidence at every client touchpoint.

In this article, we’ve gathered both non-intuitive and more classy (yet necessary) tips for creating your SaaS customer support “A-team” driven by a deep commitment to fostering customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, based on our experience throughout the last months and research data with recent trends.

⚠️ Spoiler: And No. AI isn’t the main thing on the list. Yes, AI will be necessary this year. But is it going to be the game-changing factor that helps your customer support team stand out? No. These tips will.

Customer Expectations for Customer Support: 2021 vs 2024

Before delving into the "how," let's paint a clear picture of the "why."

Understanding the evolving landscape of customer expectations in SaaS is crucial for building an A-class customer support SaaS team that thrives in 2024 and beyond.

Drawing from our vast experience assisting diverse industries at EverHelp, here are the key trends from 2021 and now, redefining SaaS customer support:

Customer Expectations 2021 vs 2024 explained

Considering all these trends, we came up with advanced as well as some basic tips to do to upgrade SaaS customer success at every touchpoint.

10 Non-Intuitive Tips for SaaS Customer Support Team

Let’s start with the tips that you won’t find in most customer support guides. Some of these tips became game-changing points when we were helping our EverHelp SaaS client to improve product review score from 3.5 to 4.8.

Strategic support channel selection

One of the most popular SaaS customer support best practices is omnichannel presence. While seamless omnichannel experiences are ideal, sometimes less can be more when delivering quality customer service. Only 7% of the help centers that offer multiple service channels can transition customers between channels without challenges.

That’s why, if you have a limited number of sources and can’t manage customer support perfectly across all channels, strategic channel selection becomes key. 

Although customers crave accessible and convenient support, that doesn't necessarily mean bombarding them with every possible channel. Just like HubSpot excels at prioritizing customer support channels based on customer demographics, usage patterns, and subscription value:

Hubspot Support Options Overview

❗To prioritize your channels for a better SaaS customer retention, know your audience well. Offering app chat instead of chatbots to Gen Z might be a stupid idea, while older generations could prefer the human touch of digital avatars. By analyzing preferred communication channels, you ensure high-quality interactions on the channels that matter most.

More proactive support initiatives

Modern businesses are embracing a proactive approach to SaaS customer engagement, anticipating and addressing issues before they become problems. This shift, known as proactive support, is changing the game - transforming reactive customer care into a proactive power leading to customer confidence and loyalty.

Adobe saw a 15% boost in customer satisfaction after implementing these initiatives. Practice support is what fosters confidence and prevents panic.

Adobe Customer Care Post

Some other examples of proactive SaaS customer support initiatives to implement are:

  • Delivering hyper-personalized nudges and guidance (“John, haven't seen you using feature X lately! We've curated some quick tips to unlock its full potential.")
  • Informing customers about upcoming maintenance or potential roadblocks.
  • Equipping customers with the tools to solve problems themselves, fostering a sense of autonomy and control.
  • Providing proactive system status updates and tips (Just like Adobe’s post above).

This shift towards anticipating customer issues and addressing them before they escalate can become your winning SaaS customer engagement strategy in 2024.

Create a database with saved replies

Customers are ready to spend between 20-40% more on solutions that quickly resolve their requests. If your team has a database with saved replies to answer quickly, you can significantly increase the response time. To create the database, you just need to gather together the most answered questions, write replies, and organize them within one system. Usually, all CRMs have such functions as saving standard replies:

Intercom Saved Replies Dashboard
Source: Intercom

Build a connection with customers through every conversation

Authentic connection isn't just a feel-good buzzword; it's a strategic imperative.

In 2024, customers will WANT a connection with the product they subscribe to, 89% of consumers and loyal to brands that share their values. And that is HUGE. This seismic shift presents a monumental opportunity for businesses: building genuine human connections through every interaction is the new gold standard of customer loyalty. A friendly tone, a helpful hand, a genuine expression of understanding – these seemingly simple gestures close the gap and foster lasting loyalty.

Building Connection Why It Matters

 

 Here’re some practical steps:

  • Equip your customer-facing team with the tools and training to listen, empathize, and personalize interactions.
  • Ditch the scripts and encourage genuine conversations that reflect your brand's personality.
  • Pay attention to customer feedback, both explicit and implicit, and tailor your responses accordingly.
  • Go beyond words and demonstrate your shared values through actions, partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives.

So, open your doors, open your hearts, and invite your customers in.

Always end up with support tickets with a question

Ending support tickets with a question can be a great way to build customer relationships and ensure their satisfaction. Here are some ways to leverage this technique effectively:

  • Don't ask generic questions like “did that help?”. Instead, tailor your question to the specific issue and resolution provided. For example, "Did my explanation of resetting your password address your concerns?" This shows you care about their specific needs.
  • Go beyond yes/no questions. Try open-ended questions like, "Do you have any other questions about using this feature?" or "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" This encourages further dialogue and identifies potential lingering issues.
  • Keep it light and relevant. A quick, "Hope you're having a great day!" or "Enjoy using [feature]!" can add a personal touch without being pushy.
  • Personalize your signature. Instead of a generic "Sincerely," use your name and title to add a human touch.
  • Express gratitude. A simple "Thank you for using our service!" can go a long way.
  • Track your results. Monitor how customers respond to the questions and small talk. If it's generating positive feedback and engagement, keep it up!

To play even harder - consider having a small talk or friendly conversation with a customer after the ticket is resolved. Also, in case the customer doesn’t reply after the issue is resolved, consider sending the message within 48 hours. One message is enough to not be pushy. Don't overwhelm the customer with follow-ups.

Have weekly meetings with a team/ personal reflections

By asking the right questions, analyzing data, and collaborating effectively, you can ensure your team is delivering excellent SaaS customer support and optimizing its performance.

Some questions to bring to the table, divided into sections:

Questions with Customer Centricity:

  • What surprised you most about customer feedback this week? What does it tell us about their evolving needs or pain points?
  • Imagine a customer telling you, "This is the one thing that would make my experience amazing." What would it be? How can we implement it?
  • What one small change could we make to the product or our process that would significantly improve customer satisfaction?

Questions for Proactive Problem-Solving:

  • What was the most popular issue customers were facing? Can this bug be changed in the nearest time? Who is responsible for it? 
  • If we could predict the top 3 issues customers will face next week, what would they be? How can we proactively address them to prevent reactive firefighting?
  • What are the potential long-term consequences of the top 3 issues we're facing this week? How can we mitigate them now? (Encourages strategic thinking and risk management)
  • Instead of focusing on resolving individual tickets, what proactive initiatives could we implement to eliminate entire categories of issues for our customers?

Questions for team learning and growth:

  • What surprised you most about your own performance or learning this week? What does it tell you about your strengths and areas for growth? (Promotes individual reflection and continuous improvement)
  • Think back to a difficult customer interaction. What valuable lesson did you learn from it that can benefit the entire team? (Shares knowledge and builds resilience through shared experiences)
  • If you could design your ideal support resource to help you excel in your role, what would it be? How can we create that within our team or organization? (Fosters innovation and builds a support-friendly culture)

Bonus Tip: Don't hesitate to customize these questions based on your specific team, goals, and challenges. The more relevant and focused your inquiries are, the more valuable the resulting discussions will be.

Get straight to the point & stay problem-focused

Time is the most valuable source. Customers subscribe for solutions first of all to save their time. Therefore, a customer support team that can’t get straight to the point is not only annoying but also negatively affects customer retention. Focus on essential information exchange. Use clear and concise language, avoid technical jargon when possible, and get to the heart of the matter quickly and efficiently.

Also, stay problem-focused, no matter what (this one is quite stressful for customer representatives, we know!). But the truth is that the customer is the one who pays and expects customer support to solve the issues (ironically, even when the problem can’t be resolved).

If you feel puzzled about this, here are some examples of how to keep a positive tone even if the issue can’t be resolved:

  • Validate the customer's frustration, even if the issue is out of your hands. Phrases like "I understand your concern" or "That must be frustrating" go a long way.
  • Focus on solutions. Even if a complete resolution isn't possible, explore workarounds, offer alternative solutions, or explain the next steps clearly.
  • Show proactive engagement and a commitment to finding the best possible outcome.
  • Transparency is key. If the issue can't be resolved immediately, be honest and set realistic expectations. Explain the timeline for investigation and updates, and keep the customer informed throughout the process.
  • Positive language matters. Use words like "progress," "investigating," or "exploring options" to convey a sense of forward movement and active problem-solving.

Feel the difference:

Negative and problem focused vs positive and solution focused examplesy

Focus not on upselling but on inner motivation

The old-school strategy “buy, die, or unsubscribe” doesn’t work anymore. With so many options in the market and the crisis increasing in many industries, customers are savvier than ever. They need actual reasons and time to weigh options and make a buying decision based on their inner motivations.

If you're telling the customer about a new deal or something, remind them why and how it's better than their current plan.  Also, give customers the time to make a decision whether they want to upgrade their subscription or not. The slow burner in your industry can become a winning strategy in 2024.

Use AI smartly: better data = better insights

While cost savings are certainly a benefit, the true value of AI lies in its ability to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Faster resolutions, tailored solutions, and proactive support based on data-driven insights can build trust and create long-term relationships.

Here’s how generative AI can be used smartly to achieve better results:

  • Speech-to-text automation: Say goodbye to tedious call notes! AI can transcribe conversations in real time, saving agents up to 2 minutes per call (300+ hours per year per agent!). This frees up valuable time for deeper customer engagement and problem-solving.
  • Summarize it for me: AI can automatically generate concise summaries of calls, capturing key points and call reasons more accurately than traditional notes. This improves data quality and accessibility for future analysis.
  • Trendspotting on steroids: With richer and more accurate data, AI can identify recurring issues, emerging trends, and customer sentiment with greater precision. This enables proactive problem-solving, targeted service improvements, and even informs potential new service offerings.
  • Streamline the experience: Insights from call data can be used to optimize support channels, staffing levels, and self-service resources. This creates a smoother and more efficient experience for both customers and agents.

Foster SaaS help desk knowledge base & a collaborative peer-to-peer community

Let customers self-service with a collaborative SaaS help desk. Cultivate a thriving online community where customers can connect, share knowledge base, and solve problems amongst themselves. In 2024, help desk should not be just a static repository. Encourage user contributions and edits, as in HubSpot's Knowledge Hub:

Hubspot Feedback Dashboard

This creates a living resource tailored to your customer's specific needs, promoting self-sufficiency and reducing repetitive inquiries.

Use screenshots whenever possible and other visual materials to assist users:

Hubspot HelpCenter Example
Source

In addition to the mentioned help desk knowledge base examples, it’s recommended to build forums like Atlassian's, fostering a sense of belonging and empowering customers to become self-sufficient brand advocates.

Atlassian Dashboard

More intuitive tips for SaaS Customer Support (still important in 2024)

Invest in the right customer service tool

Invest in the right CRM system, a digital sidekick that automates routine processes like ticket logging, routing, and even basic troubleshooting. Free your agents to focus on complex issues and proactive outreach, building deeper customer relationships that drive loyalty and boost your SaaS success. Remember, automation isn't a replacement for human connection, but rather a fuel injector for delivering exceptional support that sets your brand apart.

Some of the most popular choices are:

  • Kaizo is the tool we use within our EverHelp team to assess quality and set & manage KPIs. Take it as our personal recommendation!
  • Zendesk Sell seamlessly integrates with your SaaS platform, automating ticket logging, routing, and even providing AI-powered assistance for common inquiries.
  • Help Scout offers a streamlined interface, values self-service options, and appreciates a customer-centric approach.
  • Kayako feature-rich champion, mastering tickets across channels like email, social media, and even live chat.
  • Pipedrive focuses on sales and customer data management, helping you track customer interactions, identify upsell opportunities, and personalize support experiences.
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud  offers a comprehensive suite of CRM features, including automation, lead management, forecasting, and analytics, tailored for large-scale SaaS operations.
  • HubSpot CRM is known for its user-friendly interface and powerful automation capabilities, making it a great choice for growing SaaS businesses.

Bonus tip: To stay on a safe side, we also have within our team a system of setup alerts and notifications. So, if there is a failure in our CRM or if an anomalous number of requests falls on one of the projects, we can quickly respond to any changes and make quick decisions.

Set the right SaaS customer success metrics for achievable KPIs

If your team has loads of customers and it’s challenging to reply to all at once, it’s time to prioritize SaaS customer success metrics. Here are some crucial KPIs with suggested best practices:

  1. Response time: A good practice is to have set response time goals for free and premium users, with paid users getting priority support as a part of the deal. For instance, for free users—aim for a response time within 24 hours for non-critical issues and 48 hours for critical issues. For premium users—aim for a response time within 12 hours for all issues, with critical issues addressed within 4 hours.
  2. Resolution Rate: Track the percentage of tickets resolved within the designated timeframes for both free and premium users. This helps measure efficiency in problem-solving.
  3. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Use CSAT surveys to directly measure customer satisfaction with response times and overall support experience for free and premium users. Aim for a higher CSAT score for premium users.
  4. First Contact Resolution (FCR): Track the percentage of issues resolved on the first interaction with a support agent for both user types. First contact resolution indicates effective problem-solving skills and reduces ticket turnaround time.
  5. Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measure customer loyalty and potential for word-of-mouth marketing through NPS surveys. Aim for a higher NPS score for premium users compared to free users.

At EverHelp, each person within a team has clearly set goals definition, knows how and where to track these goals, and has a personal skills-development plan for growth. It all plays a huge role in our growth strategy.

Organize Training and Development of Support Teams

The SaaS world moves at warp speed, and your support team needs to be agile enough to keep up. Invest in continuous training and development programs that equip them with the latest features, industry trends, and best practices. Think immersive boot camps like Salesforce's training programs, where agents become tech ninjas ready to tackle any customer conundrum.

At EverHelp, we have boards in the knowledge base for each customer agent and manager with goals and progress tracking, where we prescribe which skills need to be improved and conduct training specifically on these weaknesses.

Invest time in the Feedback Loop

Don't let valuable customer insights languish in a digital void. Create a robust customer feedback system that captures their experiences, both positive and negative. Integrate tools like Slack's feedback channels to seamlessly weave customer voices into product updates and service improvements. Remember, their whispers can become your loudest victory cries.

Apply data-driven optimization

Leverage advanced data analytics (check this full guide for more info) to gain actionable insights into customer behavior, agent performance, and recurring issues. This data-driven approach empowers you to optimize resource allocation, predict customer needs, and proactively address concerns before they escalate.

Data-driven analytics

Prioritize data security and privacy

Remember, trust is your most valuable asset, and a single breach can shatter customer confidence and loyalty. Prioritize data security and privacy in every customer interaction and consider these practices:

  • Craft a clear and concise privacy policy: Disclose how you collect, use, and protect customer data in a language they understand. Look at Apple's privacy policy for clear, user-friendly examples.
Apple Privacy Policy Dashboard

  • Communicate data breaches promptly: If a breach occurs, be transparent and notify affected customers immediately. Clearly outline the steps to mitigate the situation and regain their trust.
  • Offer opt-out and data deletion options: Respect customer data preferences. Allow them to easily opt out of marketing communications and control how their data is used. Tools like HubSpot's consent management tools can help.
  • Educate your support team on data security best practices: Train them to handle sensitive information responsibly, spot potential phishing attempts, and avoid accidental data leaks. Look into security awareness training platforms like KnowBe4.

Bonus Tip: Leverage external security audits by reputable firms to gain an independent assessment of your security posture and identify potential vulnerabilities.

Bottom Line: Moving to the New Era of SaaS Customer Support

Remember, excellence in SaaS support is not a destination but a continuous journey of learning, optimization, and exceeding customer expectations. Embrace these tips, and let your commitment to customer-centricity become your winning formula in SaaS market.

Always keep in mind that excellent SaaS support necessitates exploration, improvement, and going above and beyond for customers. Use these tactics, and your dedication to customer service will propel your SaaS to new heights.

Are you prepared to elevate your support capabilities and propel your SaaS enterprise to new heights? Journey with a companion! Choose EverHelp, the premier outsourcing service for SaaS customer support, as your partner in growth. Sign up for a call with EverHelp team now and learn how we can assist you in crafting extraordinary customer support experiences following the tips above and beyond.
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