When most companies take support calls or deal with customer emails, they give those responsibilities to a dedicated team. It’s just the way business is done, right?
The SaaS company, The Receptionist, does customer support a little differently though than the majority of businesses. The CEO himself opts to take direct customer calls and helps settle issues. And they don’t plan on stopping that anytime soon. Why? Because they see the benefits of having everyone, including the CEO, do customer support. And once they saw the benefits, they knew there was no going back.
So to help show you why customer support is a task that supersedes title, we’ve put together the top four reasons why everyone in your organization needs to help with customer support. To kick things off, let’s address why it’s important to start at the top.
Reason #1: Quality Support Starts at the Top
It’s easy to look at a situation where a CEO helps with customer support as more of a publicity stunt. It looks good in blog posts, and it shows the occasional customer that their voice means something. But it’s so much more than just publicity.
High-level individuals in an organization are the starting point of a company’s culture, and that’s a well-documented fact. One particular quote directed at leadership from the Harvard Business Review highlights this incredibly well:
“If you are interested in changing the culture of your organization, your first step should be to look in the mirror and make sure you are setting the kind of behavioral example you want everyone else to follow.”
Change and culture start at the highest levels, and a customer-focused culture is essential to success for SaaS businesses. How your customer experiences your business affects your bottom line. Despite all that, less than one in four CMOs think customer experience is a top concern. That means their organization is likely suffering in the customer support arena.
When all it takes is a single bad experience to lose a customer, that’s bad news for everyone. If you want a great example of a SaaS business that nails their customer experience from the top down, look at Slack. When they were starting out, their CEO had this mindset:
“When key users told us something wasn’t working, we fixed it — immediately.”
That’s top-down customer support, and it’s a strong case for why leadership from every SaaS business needs to be heavily involved in customer support.
Reason #2: It Prioritizes the Customer Journey
Customers have to find your business somehow. When they finally find you, they have to take a series of steps to finally become a customer. That process is called the customer journey, and every business has one.
Just to give you an idea of what that may look like, here’s the customer journey that the developers at Dapper Apps use:
According to their research, this model allows them to approach every customer in the way that’s best for them. And when you approach your customer with their best interest in mind, the customer support perspective is only natural. 79% of consumers in the US only consider brands that show they care. That means if your support is lacking, your potential customers are going to look elsewhere for a solution. Involving everyone in your business is a great way to improve and prioritize your customer journey because it emphasizes experience.
A recent study from McKinsey shows a clear difference between organizations that emphasize experiences over touch points. You can still take the touch point approach, but you’ll miss out on finding new ways to optimize your customer journey.
Why would you orient your business toward a method that may work well when it’s clear that customers want something different? That makes no sense. Instead, you need to involve your entire organization in support efforts. When everyone works together to help resolve issues, it increases awareness of the vital aspects of your customer journey.
- It tells you what your customer is experiencing.
- It tells you what your customer is thinking.
- It tells you what your customer really wants.
And when that knowledge is ubiquitous, it adjusts your emphasis as a business to be more customer-oriented.
If your customer has a question about costs, your financial department should be able to hop on a call. Or if they have a suggestion that could improve your product, why shouldn’t they get to talk to the CEO? This type of improvement in your customer journey can revolutionize your support if you let it. All you have to do is start involving everyone.
Reason #3: It Fleshes Out your Resources
Not all of your customers or potential customers want to call you or send an email about their misgivings. Many will simply see what you have to offer on your website or social media instead. And what happens when those people don’t find a solution in those places? They don’t stay around for very long. So it’s essential to address the needs of your silent customers. The best support staff in the world can’t help customers who won’t reach out to them.
And to make matters worse, many dedicated customer service reps are feeling more overwhelmed, stressed, and underappreciated than ever.
All of this means that the resources you already have are probably stretched thin. The idea of handling more customer support just seems out of the question. That’s where building a knowledge base comes into play. Your goal should be to provide easily accessible resources to your audience that can address common questions about your product. This meets the needs of your silent audience and can help keep them involved in your product. And the process of building that knowledge base is easier when everyone pools their collective knowledge.
Just look at how Asana has set up their knowledge base. They use three different verticals, each of which has dozens of articles and videos to help answer any questions you may have about their service.
While a small team can certainly achieve this, it’s easier to flesh out with more input. Working as an organization, you can fill in your support team’s knowledge gaps and provide top-notch resources to your customers. And by extension, when everyone in your organization pitches in to customer support, it helps you prioritize which issues you need to address. So involving everyone ensures that you don’t miss any crucial pieces of information that could convince a customer to stay. Failing to do so could drastically impact your business, so it pays to involve as many people as possible.
Reason #4: It Reduces Churn
Every decision you make needs to be justified against your bottom line. You have to make money to stay in business, and even customer support isn’t immune from budget-based decisions. But if you’re concerned about how much involving your entire organization in customer support is going to cost you, you’ll be happy to know that it can ultimately make you more profitable. That’s because it reduces churn.
Whether you like it or not, every SaaS business has to deal with churn. Every SaaS product has users that try it for a day or two and then never come back. There are plenty of reasons for that, and the statistics are well documented. On average, companies see a little more than 6% of their customers leave in the early stages of their onboarding.
Finding ways to reduce that figure for businesses is like the quest for the holy grail sometimes: long, difficult, and unfruitful. But as you’ve already seen, involving everyone in customer support creates an environment that emphasizes customer engagement. Supporting your customer from everywhere in your organization emphasizes the customer journey.
When your company’s experience is positive, more customers will be retained longer. And customer retention is proven to be more profitable in the long run than trying to win new ones. And the inverse of higher retention rates is lower churn rates and more profitability. Customers stay around and churn less because they see the value in what you’re offering through your support. That means involving everyone in customer support is a good move for your bottom line. Less churn and happier customers mean more options in the future and better revenue streams as you move forward.
It’s clear that customer support isn’t just an entry-level job anymore. It’s the responsibilities of CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, and every other person in your organization. It’s everyone’s job now. And for good reason. A support oriented culture starts with its leadership, and it can’t be ignored.
It’s not just a publicity stunt. If you want to change your customer support culture, start at the top. But customer support goes beyond leadership. It shows your customer that they matter in a way that nothing else can. If their issues are the top priority, they’ll stay with your brand. When you know what your customer is seeing, experiencing, and thinking, you can adjust your support efforts to match their needs. That’s much easier to do if everyone in the organization is involved instead of just one or two specialists.
Beyond that, it also gives you the opportunity to flesh out your resources and provide a self-service knowledge base that can resolve any issue that may arise. Many customers appreciate not having to pick up the phone and will be more engaged with the right resources. And when all of this is in place, you’ll see less churn and more loyal customers.
That means your SaaS business will have a solid foundation to grow on in the years to come. It may sound daunting, but involving your entire organization in customer support is the only way to ensure that you’re doing it right.