How to minimize your customer support - 8 steps to inbox hero

Get fewer support emails, without losing customers.

Too many customer emails? 👻

Great customer support is a super important part of SaaS (software as a SERVICE). It increases perceived value, creates customer evangelists, boosts sales, and establishes a competitive edge

But there's a high cost to spending all your time in support. Things like stress, burnout, and other parts of your business suffering. 😣Things you definitely want to avoid.

How to get fewer support emails (without losing customers) 😌

Besides fixing bugs that cause requests—you're working on that, right?—here are other ways you can be proactive. They're listed from quick and easy, to big and difficult. There's more info on how to choose one at the bottom:

1. Edit your auto-responder. 🤖

Auto-responders can either help or hurt your efforts. To make sure yours helps:

No one likes sterile robot messages with hella long ticket numbers. 😱 Definitely avoid those. 

2. Start with ONE support channel. ☝️

If you're a small team that can only handle one support channel, that's fine—don't set up email, live chat, Facebook, AND twitter support. Start with what you can manage. Since almost every customer uses email, that's a great first option. When your team grows, add another channel based on where your customers hang out. 👭

3. Improve your FAQs.❓

Customers don't mind self-service—in fact, many prefer it. If you don't have the resources to build out a full knowledge base (#6), you can set up FAQs with little effort. To do these well:

  • Make them easy to find
  • Limit the total number of questions OR
  • Collapse answers and group by category
  • Make each question a link so you can reference it
  • Keep things short and concise
  • Use terms customers will understand (no jargon!)

Just remember FAQs aren't an excuse to be lazy with the rest of your site. Your FAQs shouldn't answer the customer's biggest questions about your product and its value. That's what your landing pages should be doing.

4. Don't over promise on your marketing site. 🎁

Absolutely tell customers how awesome your product is on your website. At the same time, don't exaggerate or lie about what it does. That'll lead to more questions, complaints, and refund requests. ("I signed up for your service expecting it would...") Be clear, compelling, and truthful instead. Set expectations that are realistic, not unreachable. 🎯No one likes feeling hoodwinked.

5. Set up email or in-app onboarding. 📩

Educate your customer with email or in-app onboarding—or both. Give them what they need to be successful or experience the "ah-ha!" moment of your product. 💡This option is a total powerhouse because it helps reduce churn (#10) and prevent questions. It's preventative x2! 💪 

6. Build a knowledge base. 🛠

Knowledge bases help customers find solutions before coming to you. As Alex Turnbull at Groove pointed out, it "lets you deliver 24/7 support, even with a small team." The caveat is your knowledge base has to be well-designed, intuitive, and helpful. It also takes maintenance to keep it useful after each release; it's not a set it and forget it kind of thing. But if you can sustain a base, it can make a big dent in your support load.

7. Raise your prices. ⬆️

A lot of customers at a low price point means a lot of requests. Easy Digital Downloads, a WordPress-based company, recognized this back in 2016. They were drowning in tickets and wanted fewer, more valuable, customers so they significantly bumped their prices. Within just three months, the total number of tickets they handled plummeted by 43%! If you read about pricing as your biggest growth lever, you won't be surprised to learn they experienced a 36% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017 too. 💥

8. Reduce churn. ⬇️

New customers have more questions than existing, satisfied ones. Reducing churn is a final way you can keep support more manageable. There are hundreds of ideas for doing this, so we won't explore them here. We realize you have other emails in your inbox. Suffice it to say reducing churn helps!

Easy vs. impactful 

The first four options take the least effort. The last four are the most impactful. The option you need will depend on how much bandwidth you have and how big of a dent you need to make.

If you're drowning, you might need to carve out time for a higher numbered option. If you need a tiny bit of relief, the first few might just do the trick. 

The only question now is, what are you going to do with all that extra time? ⏰

“It's not selfish to want to reduce your support workload—most people want to be able to solve their own problems.” –– Jess Byrne, Customer Champion at Zapier

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