Love it or hate it but corporate customer service provides a way for customers to contact the company regarding a specific issue. This is crucial for any startup out there. Allowing your customers to easily contact you regarding any problem can be make or break in the long run.
As a startup you have one really clear advantage over a corporate company – size, speed and personality. Where a large corporate provides customer service, it generally leans towards a faceless agent with lengthy wait times and sometimes no resolutions at all.
Being that you can personally contact each individual customer and answer their problems and even conduct product research you ultimately have a big advantage that needs to be used to your best ability.
In the long run a positive customer service experience ensures that customers stay with you for longer as they have issues solved and their thoughts are listened to. Something else worth considering is that many people expect to have some level of support especially if you are a SaaS platform or tech based. Technical help is crucial for removing any friction when customers are trying to achieve their goals.
General service/happiness statistics/customer expectations
- They expect to be able to reach you via at least three channels – essentially live chat, email and, this is more for stores, face-to-face (especially for complex issues).
- >80% of customers expect a company to respond within 24 hours.
- 3 in 10 customers expect a reply to an email within an hour.
- 72% of customers expect the customer service agent to know their contact information, product information, and service history when they contact a company for customer service.
Let us break down what exceptional customer service should look like to your customers:
- Accessible across multiple channels
This is straightforward, some people prefer talking and some do not, the option should be nice and easy with multiple methods of contact for your customers.
- Very responsive
Waiting for 3 days to hear back that there’s nothing that can be done is very soul destroying, so ensuring you are communicating everything clearly is vital to managing customers expectations.
The last thing that the customer needs or wants is to go through and provide all of the little details of their information. This is incredibly useful not only for the customer but yourself too – time management in customer service is really important so that you don’t get sucked into spending more time than you should.
- Efficient solutions
Problems get solved quickly and with a high success rate otherwise going back and forth will only decrease the customer experience.
The above points on exceptional customer service and not too far out there. These are all things that you and I have complained about with companies before, so there’s no doubt we have first hand experience – avoid making the same mistake as these corporate companies that fail on customer service.
How to implement this high-quality customer service
So you know the importance of exceptional customer service for your SaaS, you know the details of what customers expect and want from customer service and now you need to implement this into your project.
For a startup this can be the tricky part. As a sole founder it can almost feel impossible but do not fear, the next section is here where I will show you some tips and ideas on customer service implementation.
The quickest and easiest way to engage in a customer service conversation is through a simple but versatile live chat widget. This can be anywhere on your website that you feel is applicable, it can operate 24 hours of the day capturing emails and messages and setting customer expectations with automated messages.
I personally hunt down the live chat widget whenever I need to speak with customer service, if I can’t find one I generally assume the email will get missed so already it’s setting a poor customer experience in my head.
This can be a support centre with FAQs or a community section where your customers respond to eachother (this is for the larger startups). Providing a self-service method of troubleshooting really helps to make customers feel that they are at least making some progress even whilst waiting for your reply.
I love a good FAQ, so many times I’ve had a problem answered because of an easy to access support desk that allowed me to search for similar problems. If the problem wasn’t there, something might tick in my head and make me realise a solution. Either way if it doesn’t provide an answer it can at least stimulate some ideas for self fixing.
Focus on Onboarding
A lot of customer service questions, especially with SaaS platforms, generally are about the technical aspects of the platform.
“How to find X” or “how to do Y”
Many of these questions can be answered through an effective FAQ but ultimately this needs to be limited. The best way to do this would be to implement an onboarding session – a demo call, a demo video on Youtube or just a really handy and easy to find documentation system so everything can be followed in an easy 1, 2, 3 method.
Onboarding should eliminate the basic customer service questions and problems but it does require some time to document, record and make public so plan ahead and store all recurring problems that keep coming up.
As mentioned above, customers expect you to know them and their subscription, so you need to ensure that this is easy to access when you are dealing with the customer service request.
The above details are provided within Plumm so when a live chat message comes in or an email, we are pulling in JSON data which can be setup to pull whatever information you need. User context speeds up the process of knowing the little technical details as well as just making the entire process efficient for both yourself and your customers.
Lost or forgotten messages because a channel was not properly monitored is a common issue when you are a small team or have multiple projects. Time and focus are pulled everywhere so it’s always going to be an issue which only affects the long term customer happiness and can increase churn.
As you can see in the screenshot above there are multiple projects which all have multiple support channels, this can be daunting as you would need to switch tabs or log in and out etcc and that’s not efficient.
Shared inboxes like Plumm provide an easy way to pull all of the support channels into one location, partner up with your team to tackle issues and discuss things before double sending or sharing incorrect information.
Overall the customer service experience increases with tools and improving your set up. This is crucial to the bottom line of your business, especially when you are a startup and need every customer to stick around and help you improve the product.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail as the famous saying goes. Take the time to set up a solid customer service experience, no matter how many customers you have, to ensure churn is minimized, customers become advocates and product development comes from genuine feedback that is provided via customer service.