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How to Reduce SaaS Customer Support Load Effectively - a Guide

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    Home / User Onboarding / How to Reduce SaaS Customer Support Load Effectively - a Guide

    A few days ago, I was going through G2 doing research, and one thing really struck me.

    No matter the industry, the size of the business, or the number of customers, reviewers care about one business element a lot.

    Customer support.

    Be it good or bad; there will most likely be a mention of the customer support team.

    userguiding customer support review
    For example, users love the UserGuiding support team 👏

    And looking into it, I found out that 61% of customers say that they have written a bad review about a brand upon experiencing a negative customer service experience.

    Shocking, no? Well, not really.

    That's because customer support gets down to be a huge part of customer experience especially for platforms with potentially complex issues inside.

    But that also indicates the existence of a huge burden on your customer support agents' shoulders.

    A burden that can easily be fixed.

    And so today, we are talking about:

    • What customer support load is,
    • Why reducing customer support tickets is important,
    • How you can start with reducing support tickets today, and
    • Some success stories to exemplify the solution

    Let's start with a definition:

    What is customer support load?

    Customer support load or customer support average ticket amount refers to the load of tickets and tasks that your customer support team handles. The greater your customer load is, the more risk there is for your response times to increase, and customer satisfaction to decrease. While customer support load can derive from a set of reasons like technical issues with the product or a lack of organization and prioritization of incoming tickets, it can also be caused by the lack of a reliable knowledge base or help center.

    We also come across customer support load being referred to as customer support ticket volume.

    Customer support ticket resolution time is also a relevant term that refers to the amount of time it takes for the support team to resolve customer issues.

    In any case, the density of all these terms increasing points to negative results for your business, knowing how great an effect customer service has on customer retention

    And to resolve the common issue of customer support load, we must first understand why it needs to be resolved.

    Let's take a look at: 

    Why reducing support load matters

    In a commonsensical way, there are a ton of reasons to reduce support load, from the mental state of your customer support team to the satisfaction of your customer base.

    Here are the top 3 reasons why:

    1- Customer service as the company's face 🧑‍💻

    One thing is for sure; your support team is the second people after sales - or the first people if you offer a freemium - that your users interact with.

    So in participating in live chat, answering support emails, community forums, and solving complex tickets, they fully represent your brand.

    And keeping a smile isn't that easy when the team is swamped with client requests.

    This also brings us to:

    2- Lower support load, higher support quality 📈

    Lowering your customer support load can automatically help increase the quality of the support you receive since:

    ✅ Your support agents would have more time for each help request,

    ✅ Tickets could be organized and handled in a more efficient way,

    ✅ Customer support tools would be used more effectively,

    ✅ Support tasks could be handled with a smaller team,

    And more, depending on your specific business size and team. 

    3- More opportunities for self-serve 💁

     Lowered support loads can come around in very specific ways, all of which entail the adoption of self-serve customer support, where customers handle their own problems using knowledge bases and help centers.

    Interestingly, in 2022, 81% of consumers say that there should be more options for self-service.

    So, it is only favorable that the ticketing load is taken off of the shoulders of support agents to be replaced with a better solution.

    "But how?" I hear you ask.

    Let's take a look at:

    How to reduce support load?

    With good planning and execution, the support load is easily reducible.

    Here are 7 steps to start with it right away:

    1- Consider reviews and employee feedback

    To solve the problem, you must first recognize the problem.

    Looking into customer reviews and employee feedback considering customer support is a good starting step.

    It can be optimal to:

    👉 Check business review websites like Capterra and G2,

    👉 If you have a mobile app, Google Play Store and App Store,

    👉 Collecting answers to in-app surveys regarding customer support, and

    👉 Anonymously asking employees what is wrong and what can be done

    Then having some data at hand, you can move onto:

    2-  Examine existing workflow

    Collecting the customers' and employees' input on the issue is one thing, but you still need to closely examine the substantial proof.

    Start by diagnosing what might be going wrong that clogs up your support team's workload. As we discussed above, it could be:

    👉 The team size to customer base size ratio,

    👉 The tools and systems in use being inefficient/inadequate,

    👉 A lack of help and knowledge base content to enable self-serve,

    👉 A lack of proper customer education and user onboarding

    Once you pinpoint the problem(s), have people's accounts on it, and have concrete evidence of what is wrong, you can start with the solution.

    3-Use the right tools

    Before getting down to solving the problem once and for all, you need to equip yourself with the right tools to help the transformation. (Jump to the tools section of the article here 👈)

    Using the SaaS tools most appropriate for your problem is a quick way out of customer support load issues customers and your employees suffer from.

    These tools include:

    👉 An all-in-one customer service platform like Zendesk or Freshdesk,

    👉 Live chat and chatbot tools like Intercom or ChatBot,

    👉 User onboarding tools like UserGuiding and Appcues,

    👉 Automation tools like Zapier or Airtable,

    👉 Email hubs like HubSpot or MailChimp,

    👉 Social media support tools like Buffer, and

    👉 Survey solutions like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms

    👉 Knowledge base software like Document360 or Helpjuice

    And any other tool depending on your specific problem, customer and employee needs, tech stack, and budget.

    But before you make the final decision, you can also decrease the need for a bigger set of tools by considering to:

    4-Opt for self-serve

    Self-serve has been increasingly becoming a bigger and bigger trend in the SaaS space, and as we mentioned above, 81% of customers will opt for self-serve rather than talking to a company representative.

    This could be because of processes becoming more and more automated, Gen Z getting into the customer stage, or many other reasons.

    The point is, offering self-serve before traditional support will only benefit you.

    And while we're at it...

    A new look at self-serve support: Resource centers 🧑‍💻

    When it comes to customer support, I have no problem talking to a representative.

    I even enjoy it.

    I love seeing how businesses handle one of their most important business fronts with my own two eyes.

    And so last week, I was trying to reach a tool's (it shall not be named 🤐) customer support team.

    Not being able to find a link visible on their website, I googled it and found a pretty outdated help center.

    It was definitely not a good look, and it really was a shame when they could have...

    A UserGuiding resource center:

    userguiding resource center for decreasing customer support tickets
    That's UserGuiding's own resource center on the UserGuiding Panel ✨

    UserGuiding, a no-code user onboarding and digital adoption tool offers resource centers as a substitute for help center links that take you nowhere.

    It is in-app, available 24/7, and integrable with your existing knowledge base solutions and chatbot.

    And if you are interested in making sure your customers don't need support in the first place, UserGuiding also offers:  

    ✅ Interactive guides, product tours, walkthroughs,

    ✅ User onboarding checklists,

    ✅ Hotspots, tooltips, in-app messages,

    NPS surveys,

    ✅ Powerful analytics and customization,

    User segmentation and targeting

    And more!

    👉Try UserGuiding for FREE 👈 

    5- Lay out new support workflows

    Now that you have detected the problem, equipped new tools to fight it, and even considered self-serve options, you can start laying out how the new support system will work for you.

    There could be changes to the number of tools or the nature of tools you are using; for example, you might have been handling all support through Mailchimp, and now you might have started out with Zendesk.

    Similarly, you might have introduced new systems like social media automations or a new customer survey integration.

    It is thus important to properly onboard your team to the new systems through software onboarding.

    Moreover, if you have embraced self-serve support, your customer support team must be extra careful and tedious with the incoming tickets now that they will be more serious problems coming from more high-value customers.

    What matters is that your team is well prepared to switch to a new work system.

    Otherwise, your support load problem might just get more out of hand.

    6- Track results

    Now that everything is set up and ready to roll out, you can start observing the results.

    It is necessary to note that, much like most other business processes, your new system in use might take a while to give results.

    But there is no need to worry.

    As long as you:

    👉 Offer hands-on, interactive onboarding to make sure users don't need help to begin with,

    👉 Make support more available by featuring resources on your front page or inside your product where it is easily accessible, and

    👉 Use low-friction and channels compatible with your product and work with a knowledgeable and friendly support team to solve customer issues,

    There is no way your customer support load won't get resolved.

    7- Test, optimize, and update

    Our final step focuses on preserving the no-load customer support status.

    As results, especially strongly positive or negative results, start to roll in, it is time to start taking more action.

    The first step of the last step is testing.

    Testing for customer support load can range from trying new tools and processes to A/B testing, and the aim is to come up with the most optimized version of the customer support process possible.

    Testing leads to optimizing the step which is adopting the positive options that you've tested.

    Once everything is tested out and optimized, updating the process by revising the documents at hand and making necessary announcements to the team (and the customers if there is a frequent stream of complex tickets) is a must.

    If you think your customer support workflows are close to ideal after these steps, it means your load is already on a decreasing trend.

    If not, you might want to go over the list with different decisions once more.

    But for now, let's take a look at a few examples that did manage to make it work: 

    3 Support Ticket Reduction Examples (Success Stories)

    Resolving an overflowing number of tickets and handling other forms of customer support at the same time can be a stressful experience for your team.

    But we have 3 examples of companies who successfully took the burden off of their customer support team like a boss 😎

    1- Grove HR

     The problem Grove HR was going through was not necessarily customer support related.

    At first.

    They were not able to create good onboarding flows with their developers busy all day, and the processes they managed to create were nowhere near perfect.

    Knowing this would also entail a big load of customer support in the end, they decided to take matters into hand.

    Here's a look at their onboarding modal and resource center for more available support:

    grove hr welcome modal reducing support tickets
    Created using UserGuiding
    grove hr resource center support load reduction
    Created using UserGuiding

    Using UserGuiding, they managed to offer help to users 24/7 and decrease the need for support with quality user onboarding.

    Read the full story here 👈

    2- Cuepath

     Cuepath, a tool designed as a medical-monitoring solution that had a bigger-than-usual elderly user base, needed help with customer support.

    Since one of their user personas was elderly people, they had no option but to offer perfect customer support.

    And they did.

    Using UserGuiding, they created onboarding patterns and self-serve options which ultimately enabled them to see a 72% decrease in support calls.

    userguiding cuepeth how to reduce customer support load

    Read the full story here 👈

    3- CitizenShipper

    CitizenShipper is yet another good example of a customer support load eased with an in-app widget.

    Their essential need was to onboard their users properly to ensure security as a transportation and logistics company.

    But that only covers half of the process of reducing tickets.

    They took further steps to make the process even more self-serve-oriented and they managed to keep it inside their platform using a resource center:

    citizenshipper resource center how to reduce support load

    This, in turn, helped increase the activation rate by 25% using UserGuiding.

    Read the full story here 👈

    Now, finally, before we end our guide, let's take a look at my top 3 tools that I would recommend to get your customer support load eased quickly.

    Top 3 Tools to Reduce Support Load

     Let's be honest; it can take a whole lot of tools and systems designed perfectly to solve some problems.

    And it can take one simple solution for some others.

    Here are 3 tools I think are essential in resolving your customer support load problems 👇

    1- Zendesk - All-in-one customer service

    zendesk for customer support load

    Zendesk is one of the most popular ticket management systems on the market today, and it is so for a reason.

    Zendesk has been proven to reduce support loads significantly.

    It is objectively one of the best customer support tools that bring together many functionalities, integrations, and even teams since it is widely used by both customer success agents and salespeople.

    Among its integrations are Ticket Analytics, Jira, Shopify, Asana, SurveyMonkey, Slack, GitHub, Google Drive, Dropbox, and more (UserGuiding integrates with it too!)

    2- UserGuiding - Onboarding to decrease load from the start

    Now, if you're in it for decreasing the need for customer support from the beginning, UserGuiding is the tool for you.

    With interactive guides, user onboarding checklists, and resource centers, UserGuiding offers not only user onboarding but also a widget to increase the availability of support with the resource center feature. 

    The feature helps users access help articles on your knowledge base from your product, integrate chat options in it, and even a search bar.

    Wanna give it a shot? Try UserGuiding for free here 👈

    3- Helpjuice - A better knowledge base

    A good knowledge base is the first step to a better customer support experience for your customers AND for self-serve.

    And Helpjuice has been the master of better knowledge bases since 2011.

    To be able to help users help themselves with easy formatting, intelligent analytics, customization, and integrations like Zapier, Slack, and Salesforce, Helpjuice is easily fit for the job of handling your customer support load.

    Wanna see more options? Head to our best SaaS knowledge base software article here 👈

    To Wrap Up

    Customer support load may sound like a big problem, but when you get down to the source of it, it's really easily solvable.

    It takes revising systems and processes, adopting new tools, and considering self-serve as the primary solutions.

    But the real challenge is realizing that it can all be solved with proper onboarding.

    Good luck with both!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you manage support tickets?

    Support tickets can easily get overwhelming for your team, and the best way to fight customer support load is to adopt a customer support tool that will work best for your specific product.

    How do you deflect support tickets?

    To reduce support tickets, the best practices include but are not limited to redefining work processes, using new tools and systems to interact with the customers and keep records, considering self-serve, and giving more attention to user onboarding.

    How do I reduce ticket resolution time?

    To reduce ticket resolution time, chatbots and live chat can be great solutions. At the same time, encouraging self-serve with better knowledge bases and help centers and reducing the need for support by better onboarding users are even better practices.

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