How do self service SaaS businesses handle customer service?

SaaS businesses with a low annual subscription value per customer (under $25,000, for instance) need to rely heavily on automation to make the financials work. One area is awareness generation and sales fulfillment - they typically employ inbound marketing / content marketing techniques and utilize self-help mechanisms for customers to sign up for a subscription plan.  But what happens to customer service?

Customers will have issues and concerns that need to be addressed, yet these types of businesses need to keep costs low.  The best way to provide a great customer experience while minimizing the headcount in customer care is to develop a self-service model for customer support.  There are two key building blocks for a great self-service customer care experience:

  • A comprehensive, searchable and browsable knowledge base.  Zendesk has a great help center that includes not only answers to commonly asked questions, but also tutorials on how to get things done.  The majority of the cost is in getting enough content to seed the knowledge base with.  Thereafter, depending on the scale of the knowledge base, it should be able to be maintained over time with a very light demand on person-hours - mostly spent adding answers to new questions posed and keeping answers up to date.
  • A managed forum where customers can offer each other peer support.  Zendesk also has a forum where users can engage with each other in a community. A successful community needs at least 500 engaged members and needs a community manager to foster communications and collaboration.


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