If you’ve ever wondered which customer support channels you should invest in, you know there’s no easy answer to that question. Mention did a great job at highlighting the main pros and cons of social media, email and phone support in this post.
So how do you choose your support channel(s)? Email or SMS? Twitter or phone or chat? And more importantly, where should you put it on: on your homepage? At the end of your FAQ? In your customer’s interface?
Our hypothesis is: having a phone support can catapult you to (SaaS) stardom – read this post to discover why having a phone support is key for SaaS businesses.
Phone support as a business differentiator
The trend have been there and well established for a few years now: demand for SaaS enterprise applications is exploding. According to a Goldman Sachs study, the worldwide B2B SaaS market is expected to generate $50.8B in revenue by 2018.
Startups are increasingly numerous to try and get their share of the pie, so the question arises: how to differentiate yourself in this lucrative yet crowded scene?
I’ll give you a hint: from the first time your prospect hears about you to his daily use of you wonderful product (obviously), it all comes down to your interactions with your Customers. And what a better way to truly understand their desired outcome and drive them to success than talking directly to them? Having a phone support can propel you to the top.
Phone support for pre-sale inquiries or post-sales nurturing
Is your service fairly easy to understand or do you need a Ph.D. in advanced-technology to set it up?
If you answered the latter, putting your support upfront, in the pre-sales process, can help you boost website visitors’ conversions. Your support team will actually be part of your sales process, so make sure you train them well and you provide them all information and tools they need.
Start by implementing a chat solution, or even better, display a phone number on your homepage, and engage the conversation with your visitors. And don’t forget to track and follow-up with your prospects – close.io is a great solution for that.
For a self-service application, questions will mostly arise after signing up, for further personalization of the tool for instance. Some of the questions may be tackled by buffing up your FAQ and self-service resources. But I strongly recommend adding a point of contact inside your app, such as intercom. And once again, don’t forget the phone option: only by talking to your customers will you be able to really understand their usage, help them reach their desired outcome, get feedback, and create this sacred link that will last forever.
Leveraging phone support for earning your customers’ trust
Are you selling a heart monitoring solution, a virtual bank account or a medication app? In other words, how much trust does your product require for a prospect to sign up?
If your SaaS app asks for a high level of trust from your potential customers, and unless you are Salesforce or Dropbox, your first interaction with your prospects is all you have to earn his or her trust.
Marketing gimmicks such as sharing use case and testimonials from your current customers or displaying press coverage will play their part. But your number one choice for trust-building is definitely your phone support. Talking to your customers will help bonding with them and putting a human face on the web app.
Whatever channel (or channels) you choose, my last recommendation if you’re longing for trust: don’t you dare hiding your access to your support team from your customers! Put them up and visible on your homepage, your pricing page, FAQ, and even during the onboarding process. And obviously: answer quickly to any inquiry or issue your customers may face!
Using phone support to solve time-sensitive issues
How urgent are your customer tickets? Do they need immediate, real-time answer? Or would you rather have an asynchronous answer to allow for backstage treatment or search?
For instance, at Aircall, we provide a phone system, which our customer need to have up and running 24×7. They absolutely cannot bear a 24h interruption of their phone system. In this case, having a phone support makes a lot of sense – and can even be a GO / NO GO argument for running to a competitor.
On the contrary, for all questions that need some investigation or in-depth technical support, you need an asynchronous support. Keeping someone on hold while you’re hunting down the problem can be quite unpleasant, for you and for your customer.
Adding a phone support for a premium touch
Before picking one (or several) customer support channels, you must consider the cost of running each one and what it can bring you back. Both chat and phone require a continuous availability of your support team, at least during the opening hours of your customer support. And for a startup, time is your most valuable asset. Hence, lots of startups are wary of putting their phone number on their website.
While it might be sufficient for low-priced, easy-to-use SaaS applications, it won’t be sufficient for more expensive applications or plans. You must offer a service for the price.
Indeed, before signing up, your potential customers are likely to have questions, and even need help to set up their account. But even if they don’t call you, adding a phone number can make your customers feel privileged.
Convinced? Now the only thing you need is the right tool. With Aircall, you can set opening hours, define call cascading rules, and finally collaborate on customer calls.