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When you’re working for an SaaS company, your product is under constant customer scrutiny. Customer service cannot be considered merely a series of reactive, one-off responses to customer issues. The subscription product is ever-evolving, and CS needs to evolve alongside it to stay current. This is the support structure to strive for, but with it comes typical ‘traps’ to be aware of.

That was the key premise from our April ‘Support Superheroes’ Meetup speaker, Mike Roberts. Roberts is currently the president of Xaasegy, a consulting and advisory firm for SaaS companies, and has previously served as the SVP & Chief Customer Officer of CallidusCloud and president of HA Advantage.

Below are some of the customer ‘traps’ that Roberts outlined, and some advice on how to spot and address them properly.

1. Beware of ‘friendly fire’

After the sales process wraps up and the actual product is implemented, issues due to misaligned expectations may crop up. You may need to therefore address customer issues that are out of the scope of your traditional support responsibilities. So while it is important to maintain clear roles and responsibilities between account management, support, etc… it’s important to prepare for these scenarios by also collaborating with these other teams, like sales, and taking the time to really understand the customer issue. You may be able to find another workaround for their issue, and if not, being prepared with responses for a wide-range of scenarios based on ongoing cross-team communication is the best way to avoid this trap!

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2. Re-think your segmentation strategy

It’s always necessary to prioritize customers, but how you do so is very important. It’s not just about how much customers spend, but how to effectively address specific inquiries. Even some of your VIPs’ questions can be accurately addressed through an automated system, and assuming it is efficient, they won’t mind. You still want to prioritize these customers, but there are times when even enterprise doesn’t require ‘high-touch coverage’, and using this structure can allow more resources for those inquiries that do require the highest tier of support.

3. Sometimes customer problems can be an opportunity

If customers are inquiring about why specific business or technical needs aren’t being effectively addressed by their current subscription, try using this as an opportunity to upsell!

Published April 24, 2017
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