For a SaaS company to survive in this industry, it needs to rely on steady customer acquisition and healthy customer retention strategies.
By now, you must have realized that the cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than that of retaining an existing customer. Therefore, your most cost-effective option is holding onto your existing customers.
Retention and the Value of Customer Support
According to Groove, the probability of selling your service to a prospect ranges between 5-20%, whereas the probability of selling the same subscription to an existing consumer ranges between 60-70%.
Your customer base is your value, cash flow, references, money, intelligence, and everything that is working well for your business. Churn is the enemy and exact opposite of retention. How do you retain your customers?
SaaS companies deal with a challenge that is unique to the industry. Traditional businesses will sell a product to a customer. This product does not change over time. For SaaS companies, the customer is repeatedly paying on a subscription basis. Over time, the product may need updates and tweaks. Issues like downtime and unplanned interruptions are also factors to consider.
Customers rely on your products for daily use. Interruption of service will warrant a call or email from the consumer. The customer will also send you an email when they are not sure of what to do and how to do it.
Customer support is about helping clients resolve the problems that they come across when using your platform. The way you handle your customers will determine whether or not to stick with your services or to move on to another service provider. Adequate customer support is the key to retention in SaaS.
How Support Teams Can Reduce Churn
1. Easing the Onboarding Process
The most critical stage of customer retention is convincing your target to sign-up for your service. Getting your customer to find success and realize the value of your service should be your goal. You can get thousands of users to subscribe to your services, but if they do not experience a 'win' in a timely fashion, a huge chunk of these customers will churn.
Customer engagement is essential during onboarding. Taking a proactive role in messaging or calling the customer on Day One or Day Three can go a long way in easing the onboarding process. Such actions open the lines of communication. It shows the customer how your support team is invested in their success on your platform.
Customer engagement will determine how your customers will interact with your services in the long-term. Do not wait until your customers stumble upon problems and issues, introduce yourself as a valuable resource early in your relationship.
2. Improving Customer Experience
Dependable customer support makes it easy for the customer to find answers to their problems. You can accomplish this vision through an efficient self-service program or effective support teams. All customers want one thing; answers to their questions, as fast as possible.
How can your support strategy achieve this? Invest in building a support structure that stocks useful content about your service. You should also make it easier for the customer to access this content. This type of organization will save your customers and support team a lot of time and money. Customers do not have to flood the phone lines fo a solution that they can find on the FAQ section.
You may offer help on all the communication channels under the sun, but if your customers have to wait for long periods to get a response, they will churn. Take some time to evaluate your support strategy. Design it to meet your customers' expectations. A customer's experience with the support team leaves a lasting impression. One that will influence how the user perceives your business.
3. Acting as the Feedback Loop to the Marketing, Sales, and Production Departments
As businesses grow, they start to attract the wrong customers. At the end of the day, if a customer's needs do not match your company's offerings, they will churn. Of course, there are instances where you can address a mismatch in expectation.
Support teams stand in a unique position where they can receive customer feedback. Support teams have the opportunity to identify alignment and misalignment in customer expectations. Your customer team can diagnose why your customers are churning in the present and the future.
In the case of a mismatch, a support team can be the feedback loop to the sales, marketing, and production departments.
Your support team is the voice of the customer. Support can identify:
- Product limitations
- Confusion with product parts and features
- Areas of a customer's journey that causes churn (pre-sales, onboarding, assistance, etc.)
- Areas where customers need the most help
How SaaS Companies Should Design Their Support Teams
Now that you understand the role of customer support in retention, how should you go about building your support team? Below are some useful tips:
Divide Your Team into Channels
Routing tickets and inquiries to support agents should be an aspect to consider when building your support teams. To simplify this task, you need to assign each support agent to a primary channel.
Most SaaS companies have phone and email channels of communication. Some organizations go further and include live chat and social media channels. Some support agents are more suited to some channels more than others. Evaluate the strengths of your agents and assign them accordingly.
Establish Subject Matter Experts
While working on your support teams, different agents will develop proficiency in specific topics or questions. Take advantage of this situation and designate various subject matter experts to their matching type of inquiry.
A customer can achieve complete resolution of his/her problem when he/she interacts with an agent who is knowledgable in the field. A satisfied customer is likely to churn.
Create Opportunities for Growth
All employees need room for growth within the company. It would be best to determine where these opportunities lie. Lack of growth opportunities can get in the way of employee retention. The best way to address this issue is to ask your support agents about their career goals.
Align Your Customer Support Structure with Your Goals
No support structure should be rigid to change. Your support team should be flexible to adapt and evolve. Structure your support team to compliment your goals and objectives.
If your goal is to improve your product, instruct your support teams to look out for bugs and issues. If your goal is to mitigate churn, show your agents how to inspire brand loyalty. As your company grows and evolves, so should your support structure.
The Role of Support Teams in Customer Retention
Churn is a complex problem that every SaaS company has to deal with. Mitigating churn rates should be a collaborative effort from all organs of your organization.
Customer support plays a critical role in identifying the reasons for churn. By partnering with different departments, support teams could reduce churn rates an create a better customer experience.
We often place emphasis on growth while overlooking customer retention. What we fail to appreciate is that customer support teams hold the key to mitigating churn and improving conversion.