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Providing great customer support with a small team is possible when you plan your strategy and goals.
At Sagenine, we do not have a large support staff... we have 2 support staff. But, it's not an issue because we have thought through support.
Customer support is often viewed as a hassle. Something that HAS to be done, not something that is essential. In today's world, lawn care business apps and software companies that do not provide great customer support, will not be in business much longer.
Great SaaS companies realize that putting your customers at the top of your priority list is essential to creating long-lasting relationships with customers. Great customer service also creates brand advocates for your business, and also provides a huge advantage over the competition.
What is customer support?
Customer support is helping your customers get the most out of your software for lawn mowing companies. Resolving customer problems and putting them on the path to success with your software is the goal. Customer support includes activities like: successful customer on-boarding, troubleshooting, and answering customer questions.
For software companies, these services can be phone support, email support, self-serve wikis, support videos and tutorials. The goal for all these activities is to make sure your customers get the most success possible from your software.
Customer Support Must be Personal
If you're reading this thinking: "How can I provide personal customer support with just me and my cofounder" don't worry, there's a lot of methods to solve this problem.
If it's just 2 or 3 or 4 people in your SaaS company, responding to emails or support tickets can be overwhelming. The key is to be upfront with your users. Let them know your situation. Tell them it's just you, and not 100 support people waiting for you to call.
Even when there is only 2 people in your company, customer support can be personal. Customer happiness, engagement, loyalty and feedback are 4 keys to a successful lawn care business software company.
How to Make Your Customers Successful
One of the best things I did at my last SaaS business was to create a "university" video program. The program was video based. Each video ranged from 2 to 5 minutes in length. And the total program was about 40 minutes long.
The university program was hosted on Udemy, and is totally video based. BTW, for this audience, videos worked SO good, compared to written articles.
Here's how it worked:
Users sign up for the course, watch the videos, then answer a quiz at the end.
This video "university" course turned our support tickets from 100 per week, to less than 10 per week! Now, that's one excellent method for creating personal customer service with a very small team.
Defining Your Customer Support Level
This is a very important question for your home service software company. At the end of the day, "what gets measured, get's done." So, you need to think about this, and decide what level you will provide.
If you are a very small team, you simply cannot provide a ton of phone support. Better to go with an in-app support system like Zendesk or Intercom. Phone support is awesome, but when you're a small team, phone support can eat-up a crazy amount of your time. And, this is time you do not have.
For smaller SaaS companies, support should include:
- A detailed help site.
- Detailed videos on how to use your software.
- On-boarding that answers questions before they are asked.
- A "university" course users can go attend.
If you can create these 4 customer support levels, you will make your customers very happy. And, you will not spend all day on customer support.
As your software for lawn care professionals scales, you'll need to make some critical decisions around how you use automation and self-service help software.
There are so many great tools out there than will make your 2 person company feel like a 100 person support company.
Key Features of Your Software Support System
Below are some of the key features of your support program that you should think about and dial-in as soon as you can.
1) What's your style?
When supporting your customers, what should be your style? Will you have long, drawn-out conversations with them? Or, send a simple link to a video or blog post that describes how to solve their problem?
For us at Sagenine, sending a link to a blog post with an embedded video is the best solution. As I said earlier, we do not have a huge support staff, so we need to make decisions that will make the best use of our time.
A very detailed blog post with a nice video works perfect in our situation.
2) What's your voice and tone?
How do you plan to "talk" to your customers? Rigid or loose. Formal or chill. Happy or more direct.
There's a lot of choices here. The best choice is to follow your own personality. With Sagenine, we are chill and loose. I mean, give me a break, the tag like is: "Kick ass software to run your home service business."
I like the chill vibe. Look, we make amazing software for home service based businesses. But, that doesn't mean we need to use bullshit verbiage like "synergy". For us, talking to our customers like we'd talk to our friends is number one on the list.
For your company, make the choice. I'm not saying one way is better. But decide and stick with it.
3) What's the quality of your support?
Some software companies need to rely on delighting the customer more than others. Some companies really look at speedy response times as the number one factor in determining the quality of support.
My best advice is to choose the level of quality you wish to provide. Then create systems and strategies to ensure this quality gets delivered time and time again.
Look, it's not realistic to provide customer support responses within seconds of a user asking questions. I think responding to in-app questions within 30 minutes is perfectly acceptable.
4) When do you provide support?
Here's another question that you should really think about. Are you going to provide support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Or, are you going to provide support Monday - Friday during business hours.
The choices you make here will last for a long time. For us, Monday - Friday is totally fine. That's when our customers use the software. So, that has worked out well.
Of course, if you have an outage of some kind, you need to respond quickly, day or night, weekday or weekends.
Sometimes the best response is: "Hey, we know there's an issue. Not quite sure what it is, but our engineers are working on it."
For us, this is an easy question... we have to have support for our Spanish speaking customers. Because Sagenine works amazing in Spanish, we need to support that audience.
It's way more work, but we have to do it. So, with everything I've talked about above: University, Videos, Help Sections, ect., we also have it in a Spanish version.
If you're going to have i18n in your app, you need to have customer support for those languages as well.
Final Thoughts on Supporting Your Customers
Your customer support process will change and grow as your software evolves. But, if you put in place policies and procedures early, the customer support issues will be so much cleaner and easier to implement.
Take your customer support process seriously! It's such an important part of every SaaS business. Ignore it at your peril.