Your Complete Guide To B2B SaaS Customer Support
For a business-to-business (B2B) SaaS business, the key to success is customer retention. Sure, customer acquisition is still crucial to growing your customer base and getting a significant market share.
But retaining your existing customers is even more important. Not only because customer retention is more cost-effective than customer acquisition. But also because repeat customers tend to spend more on your service and be more likely to refer others.
With that being said, B2B SaaS customer support plays a big role in driving customer success and satisfaction, and ultimately in keeping your B2B customers engaged with your business.
This complete guide to B2B SaaS customer support will cover what customer support is in B2B SaaS businesses, why it’s important, and its common challenges. We will also run down some customer support best practices and metrics that you need.
So let’s dive right in.
What Is B2B SaaS Customer Support?
B2B SaaS customer support is the process of providing customers with services and information to ensure their satisfaction and successful use of your SaaS product.
It involves helping customers troubleshoot technical issues, responding to questions, and providing timely updates on new features or bug fixes.
Speaking of which, it’s important to note that customer success is a whole different department from your customer support team.
Customer success teams are mostly responsible for driving product adoption and usage, while customer support teams are primarily focused on helping customers with technical issues or inquiries.
Why B2B SaaS Customer Support Is Important
Customer support is critical for B2B SaaS businesses. It’s the front line of your customer service and can make or break your customer relationships.
So let’s talk about more specific reasons why customer support is an important aspect of your B2B SaaS business:
It Improves (Or Fixes) Your Customer Experience
B2B SaaS customer support plays a huge role in improving your user experience. If done right, it helps ensure that all of your customer’s questions are answered in a timely manner.
As a result, they can have a better customer experience and easily use your product more efficiently.
What’s more, your customer support team exists to help your users troubleshoot any issues they might have.
No SaaS solution is perfect and there will be issues with yours. But when they do, your customer support team is the one responsible for resolving them quickly.
It Increases Customer Retention and Reduces Churn
As we already mentioned, B2B SaaS customer support plays a big role in keeping customers engaged with your business and retaining them as long-term users.
When customers know that their inquiries will be answered by knowledgeable reps who care about their experience, they are more likely to stick around.
And this translates into lower churn rates, higher retention rates, and even more upgrades by your existing customers.
It Is Often A Big Consideration For Potential Buyers
When B2B SaaS buyers are looking to purchase a SaaS product, they primarily look at features, pricing, and possibly the user-friendliness of each solution they are choosing from.
But the quality of customer support can also be a major factor in their decision-making process. They want to know if they can get help quickly and easily when an issue arises or if they have questions about the product’s features.
So, B2B SaaS customer support isn’t something to be overlooked. It can make a big difference in your prospective buyer’s decision and ultimately result in more conversions for you.
It Helps You Gather Customer Feedback
Another reason B2B SaaS customer support is important is that it can help you gather valuable customer feedback.
Your customer support team interacts with users on a daily basis and they will be able to identify common issues, areas of improvement, and suggestions for new features.
So they should always be looking out for any signs of discontent or confusion from customers in order to quickly address them and prevent churn.
This can also help you make data-driven decisions when it comes to product development by taking into account what your customers need and want from your B2B SaaS solution.
Common B2B SaaS Customer Support Challenges
Even though B2B SaaS customer support is critical for B2B SaaS businesses, it can still present certain challenges.
Here are some of the most common B2B SaaS customer support challenges you need to prepare for:
The Complexity Of Your SaaS Product
The complexity of B2B SaaS products can be a major challenge for customer support teams.
Some B2B solutions are complex and require deep product knowledge to troubleshoot issues or answer questions effectively.
This means that you will need to make sure your customer support team is well-prepared and trained in order to handle the complexities that your SaaS product may have.
What’s more, they also need to be adept at communicating highly technical processes in a way that is easy for customers to understand.
Supporting Multiple Platforms
B2B SaaS products often need to be supported across multiple platforms, such as web, mobile, and sometimes desktop applications.
This means that your customer support team needs to have the resources and expertise necessary to provide effective support in each of these environments.
This can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools or personnel in place and it could impact your user experience as well as lead to customer churn.
Communication Barriers With Customers
Communication can be a major challenge when it comes to B2B SaaS customer support. Customers may have a difficult time communicating their problems or issues, which can make it hard for your customer support team to understand and resolve them.
What’s more, being a SaaS business, you probably have a global market with customers from all over the world. This means that some of your customers might not have English as their first language and this could create communication barriers between them and your customer support team.
Another potential communication barrier would be different time zones. If you don’t offer 24/7 support, this could lead to conversations taking days or even weeks to resolve.
Scalability Of Support Services
B2B SaaS customer support needs to be able to scale with your business. As you continue to grow, the number of customers and support inquiries will also increase.
This means that your customer support team should always be prepared for any unexpected growth or changes in the number of support requests they need to handle.
You need to ensure that your B2B SaaS customer support can quickly adapt to new challenges and maintain a high level of service even when demand is at its peak.
Different Customer Expectations
B2B SaaS customers have different expectations for customer support than B2C customers. B2B customers typically expect a more personalized service that meets their specific needs and requirements.
Your B2B SaaS customer support team should be prepared to provide tailored solutions based on the individual customer’s needs and preferences. They should also be able to anticipate customer needs and provide proactive support.
B2B SaaS Customer Support Best Practices
When it comes to B2B SaaS customer support, there are some best practices that you should follow in order to ensure a positive customer experience.
Here are some B2B SaaS customer support best practices that you should keep in mind:
1) Build A Customer-Focused Company Culture
The only organic way for your customer support team to be customer-centric is if the whole SaaS company is customer-focused. That means that everyone in the organization — from top to bottom — is dedicated to providing the best customer experience possible.
Let’s talk about some specific steps on how you can ensure this:
Lead By Example
Being the head of your B2B SaaS company, you need to be the champion of a customer-focused mindset. You should demonstrate to your team that customer satisfaction is the number one priority.
Sure, your bottom line is still one of the biggest concerns. But you need to show your team that you’re not just in it for the money. You need to lead by example and show them that a great customer experience is the foundation of your B2B SaaS company.
And if the customer experience goes well, the revenue will follow.
Write Down Your Customer-Centric Values
If you want your team to remember your customer-centric values, you need to make it official. Write down your B2B SaaS company’s customer values and circulate them throughout the organization so that everyone is on the same page.
This will give them a reference point whenever they’re making decisions regarding customers, and help ensure that you stay true to your customer-first mindset.
Hire People Who Are Passionate About Excellent Customer Experience
When you’re hiring B2B SaaS customer support team members, make sure to look for people who are genuinely passionate about providing customer satisfaction.
These people should not only be knowledgeable and professional but also have empathy and a desire to help customers. This way, they’ll be more likely to go above and beyond when it comes to providing excellent customer support.
Of course, making sure that you’re hiring the right people would involve other processes, such as interviewing potential candidates and examining their previous working experience. If they have references on their resume, be sure to check how they were at their previous job.
This may give you some make-or-break insights on whether or not to hire them.
For example, if they have a record of being rude to customers or providing bad customer service, that might be a sign that they’re not the right fit for your customer support team.
Provide Ongoing Training
Providing ongoing training for B2B SaaS customer support team members is essential. That way, they can stay up to date with the latest customer service methods and technology.
This would also be a good opportunity to make sure that your team has the right communication and problem-solving skills. That way, they can provide the best B2B SaaS customer support possible.
You may also have regular team meetings to discuss customer service topics and strategies so that your team is always ready to deal with any kind of issue that customers might have.
Recognize Team Members Who Provide Excellent Service
Positive reinforcement can go a long way toward building your company culture. That’s why it’s important to recognize B2B SaaS customer support team members who go above and beyond when it comes to providing excellent service.
Be sure to show appreciation for their efforts. A simple “thank you” or a shout-out on social media goes a long way in making your team feel appreciated and motivated.
Or you yourself could go above and beyond by offering incentives, such as gift cards or bonuses, to team members who exceed customer expectations. This is a great way to reinforce your customer-centric company values and create an atmosphere of excellence within the customer support team.
2) Create A Comprehensive Knowledge Base
Having a knowledge base can help your customers quickly find answers to their questions even without contacting your customer support team. This will also reduce the number of support requests that your team needs to deal with. So, it’s a win-win.
But how do you make sure that your knowledge base does what it’s supposed to?
Below are a few tips:
Create A User-Friendly Interface
Your B2B SaaS knowledge base should be easy to navigate and understand. This will make it easier for customers to find the information they need without having to contact customer support.
Keep Your Knowledge Base Content Organized
Organizing your B2B SaaS knowledge base content will make it easier for customers to find the information they need quickly. You can organize content by topic, category, or keywords so that customers can easily search and locate the content they need.
You may also add tags to each piece of content to help customers find other related knowledge base articles.
Make Sure Your Information Is Up-To-Date
Make sure that the B2B SaaS knowledge base content is regularly updated with new and relevant information. This will help ensure that customers are getting accurate and up-to-date information.
You might guess that you’re in for a lot of content updates whenever you roll out a new feature or a major update. Make sure your team is prepared to update the knowledge base accordingly.
3) Set Clear & Realistic Expectations
Set a realistic and achievable timeline for the support services you offer. This way, customers will know what to expect and won’t be left hanging in limbo when they contact your support team.
Be sure to do the following practices:
Understand The Customer’s Needs
Before you can set expectations, you need to understand the customer’s needs. That way, you can make sure that your customer support team is able to provide the right service and meet their goals and requirements.
Do Not Overpromise
This is extremely important when it comes to communicating with already frustrated customers.
Be sure to set expectations that your B2B SaaS customer support team can meet. Moreover, be transparent about what your SaaS product can and cannot do.
This will ensure that customers are not left disappointed when their requests are not met on time.
When you or your support reps are talking to your customers, use simple language that they can understand. As much as possible, do not use technical jargon as this may confuse the customers and make them feel frustrated.
If you do have to use complex terms, be sure to explain or define them, so that the customer gets a better understanding of what you are saying.
What’s more, it’s also important to provide regular updates on the status of their requests or any changes in the timeline so that there are no miscommunications along the way. This will leave your customers feeling valued and heard.
4) Provide Multiple Customer Support Channels
Your B2B SaaS customer support team should be available on multiple channels to ensure that customers can access your support team whenever they need it.
So what customer support channels should you provide?
Email is one of the most common customer support channels for SaaS businesses today. It allows customers to easily contact your SaaS customer support team and receive a reply within a timely manner.
However, it’s important to note that email is not the best channel for immediate or urgent support. For example, customers may have to wait hours before they receive a response from a customer support rep, especially if they’re in a different time zone.
Live Chat Support
If you want to provide real-time customer support (as you should), then live chat is the way to go. It’s a great way to quickly respond to customers’ queries and resolve their problems as quickly as possible.
Plus, with today’s advanced customer support tools, you can even set up automated AI-driven messages and conversation flows to provide quick responses to common customer service questions or issues.
These chatbots can help direct your customers to potentially helpful knowledge base content. But if they need specialized help, the chatbot can also direct them to a live customer support rep.
And to make things easier for your customers, your live chat tool should be accessible within your SaaS solution.
Social Media Support
With more people using social media to communicate, it makes sense that B2B SaaS businesses should have a presence on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Although social media is primarily for marketing to potential customers, it can also be an excellent platform for providing support services for your existing customers when they need it.
What’s more, it gives you an opportunity to build relationships with customers by responding promptly to their queries or problems and engaging with them directly.
Phone support may not be as popular today as it was a few decades ago, but it’s still an important channel for B2B SaaS customer support. This is all the more true if you’re catering to large enterprises.
Phone support allows users to get direct help from your customer support reps, which can be helpful when they need complex or urgent assistance. Plus, it’s a great way to deliver personalized customer service that builds trust and loyalty.
5) Equip Your Customer Support Team With The Right Tools
To ensure that your customer support team can provide the best B2B SaaS customer support possible, it’s important to equip them with the right tools.
Here are some essential customer support tools that you need to have:
A helpdesk solution is the backbone of B2B SaaS customer support. It will enable your customer service reps to log and track customer inquiries, assign tasks to the right people, and provide timely responses.
Some of these software solutions even have knowledge base-building tools, so you can store helpful resources such as FAQs or instructional guides for customers.
Live Chat Software
As we mentioned earlier, live chat is one of the best ways to provide real-time customer support. It allows customers to connect with your B2B SaaS customer support team quickly and easily.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform
A CRM system is a must-have not just for sales teams, but for B2B SaaS customer support teams as well.
It helps them monitor customers’ activities, track their interactions with the B2B SaaS solution, and generate insights about user behavior. With functionalities like these, your support reps can review previous conversations before responding to customers, which can make it easier to provide personalized service.
VoIP Software (If You Offer Phone Support)
If your B2B SaaS customer support team offers phone support, then you need to have VoIP software. This will ensure that customers can easily make calls and connect with customer service reps without having to use their own phone lines.
6) Turn Negative Reviews Into Customer Support Conversations
No B2B SaaS business is immune to negative reviews. However, you can use these opportunities to improve your customer support services and turn a potentially damaging situation into a positive one.
What’s more, if your customer support rep manages to resolve issues on a publicly visible platform (such as social media or SaaS review sites), it can make a positive impression on potential customers.
Here’s how you and your customer support reps can do this:
Respond Promptly & Politely
The first step to handling negative reviews is to respond promptly and politely. Acknowledge the customer’s issue, thank them for their feedback, and apologize for any inconvenience.
This shows that you’re taking the situation seriously and it can help to cool off an angry customer. It also sends a positive message to other potential customers who may be reading the review.
Take The Conversation Offline (If Possible)
Once you’ve acknowledged the customer’s issue in public, take the conversation offline if possible. This could be via email or phone, depending on what works best for both parties.
Having a direct conversation with your customer allows you to resolve their problems faster and more effectively than if you were dealing with them publicly. It also gives you a chance to address any underlying issues that caused the customer to be dissatisfied in the first place.
Follow Up With The Customer
Finally, make sure you follow up with the customer after their issue has been resolved. This lets them know that you care about their experience and it may even encourage them to leave another (more positive) review.
It’s also a great way to build strong relationships with your customers and ensure they stick around for the long term.
7) Take A Proactive Customer Support Approach
Traditionally, customer support is reactive. You merely respond to customer queries, issues or complaints as they come in.
However, B2B SaaS businesses should take a more proactive approach to customer support. This means anticipating future customer needs and providing helpful advice even before they ask for it.
Here’s how you can provide more proactive customer support:
Anticipate Common Issues
Start by analyzing customer data and trends to identify common issues customers are having. This could be anything from trouble using certain features to difficulty navigating your website or app.
Once you have identified the most prevalent issues, focus on proactively addressing these by providing helpful resources such as FAQs, tutorials, and blog posts that help customers resolve their own problems quickly.
Monitor Each Customer’s App Usage
Another way to provide proactive customer support is to monitor how customers are using your SaaS product. This could include tracking which features they’re using the most, where they’re running into issues, or what new feature requests they might have.
By monitoring user behavior and usage trends, you can resolve potential issues even before they become full-blown problems that your customer will need to reach out for help with.
Provide Personalized Support
Finally, B2B SaaS businesses should consider providing personalized customer support whenever possible. This could be as simple as sending out personalized emails with helpful tips or offering personalized consultations to help customers get the most out of your product.
By investing in personalized support services, B2B SaaS businesses can ensure a seamless and high-quality experience for all customers.
SaaS Customer Support Metrics To Track
B2B SaaS businesses should track key customer support metrics to measure and improve their performance.
Some of the most important metrics include the following:
First Contact Resolution (FCR) Rate
The FCR rate is the percentage of customer inquiries that are resolved on the first contact. This metric provides valuable insight into how quickly and effectively your team is addressing customer issues.
To calculate your FCR, divide the number of customer inquiries successfully resolved on the first contact by the total number of inquiries.
The thing about FCR is that it may not be a fair metric for SaaS products where it’s common for customers to have complex issues. Some technical issues just can’t be resolved on the first go.
For example, if a customer’s problem is related to a bug in your product, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to resolve it without further investigation. Or it won’t be completely resolved until you release a product update or at least a patch.
That’s why you should also track your Net FCR Rate. This metric does not count inquiries that cannot possibly be resolved on the first contact.
Average Resolution Time
The average resolution time, also sometimes called average handle time, measures the amount of time it takes your team to resolve customer queries.
The shorter this number, the better.
However, each SaaS product is unique. One SaaS solution may be more complex than another, meaning it might require more time to resolve customer queries.
Average Response Time
Prompt response is essential for B2B SaaS customer support. Your customers should get an answer to their query within a reasonable timeframe, and your response time metric lets you know whether this is happening or not.
The average response time is the amount of time it takes for your team to respond to customer inquiries.
A shorter number here indicates that customers are getting answers quickly, which can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction levels.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score
B2B SaaS businesses should measure customer satisfaction using a customer satisfaction survey. This survey should be sent out after each customer support interaction so you can gauge how well the issue was addressed.
It would involve a question asking the customer to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “Very Disappointed” and 5 being “Very Satisfied.”
To calculate your CSAT score, divide the total number of positive (4 or 5) responses by the total number of responses.
For example, let’s say you had 100 responses in a month and 80 of them were either 4 or 5. That would give you a CSAT score of 80% for that month.
Since you are already posing a question to your customers, you may also add more questions that further ask for more specific details on what your customers think about your B2B SaaS customer support.
This insight will help you to better understand their needs and provide a higher level of service in the future.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score is a metric that measures how likely your customers are to recommend your B2B SaaS product.
To start monitoring your NPS, ask the question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our SaaS product to your friends and colleagues?”
SaaS businesses generally send out a regular NPS survey with this question every quarter of every few months to get a general feel of customer loyalty and advocacy.
However, asking your user this question right after a customer support conversation can help you get an idea about how your customer service affects customer loyalty.
Now, there are three main segments of your NPS survey respondents:
- Promoters: Those who answered 9 or 10.
- Passives: Those who answered 7 or 8.
- Detractors: Those who answered 0-6.
You can calculate your NPS score by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the promoters (or multiplying those numbers and then subtracting 100).
For example, let’s say you have 70 promoters, 30 passives, and 20 detractors in a survey – your NPS score would be 50.
When it comes to calculating your NPS anything above 0 is considered good. But ideally, you should have a score of 50 or higher.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Finally, B2B SaaS customer support should also measure the amount of effort it takes for customers to get their issues resolved.
This metric is measured using a Customer Effort Score (or CES).
You can measure this score by asking customers the question: “How much effort did you have to put in to get your issue resolved?” and offering them a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being “Very Little” and 5 being “A Lot”.
To calculate your overall customer effort score, take the average of all the responses you received.
With a scale like the one we used above, the lower your score, the better. This means that customers were able to get their issues resolved with minimal effort on their part.
It also suggests that you are providing helpful solutions and eliminating friction points in the customer service process.
Final Thoughts About B2B SaaS Customer Support
Customer support is absolutely essential for B2B SaaS businesses. It ensures that each customer has an excellent user experience by responding to their inquiries and addressing the issues they may encounter.
As a result, you can build relationships with your customers and have a positive impact on customer satisfaction levels.
Each SaaS business is different, so customer support will also vary. However, the tips and best practices we discussed above should help you create an effective customer support process for your B2B SaaS business.
At the same time, there are certain metrics that can be used to measure the success of your customer support efforts.
Overall, excellent customer support should always be a priority for any SaaS business. Investing in it will go a long way in ensuring happy customers and even turning them into brand advocates.
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