Customer Service in 2018
As the year starts, we look at trends for what’s next and what’s required for each company. I lead the customer service team at ClicData, and in the last few years we have seen a growth in how customer service plays a pivotal role in organization success, customer retention and customer onboarding. This is no different in 2018, and customer service continues to be the most critical department every organization needs to develop and flourish to achieve success.

For 2018, we see three major areas of customer service improvement that every SaaS business should focus on.

1. AI is coming, but still not good enough to substitute human touch.

Even with the advent of companies and applications that provide automated responses and solutions for your customers, your customers are not content with them. Human interaction is still necessary and is the only way to ensure you are paying close attention to your customer demands and providing them with a personalized touch. Every organization should ensure a substantial allocation to the development of areas where your customers are talking with a real human as early as possible instead of bots. Use technology to initiate the first conversation, but pivot it to a live human interaction as early as possible in your process.

At ClicData, we have opened different avenues for interaction – In App chat allows customers to reach out to the customer service (CS) team right away, community forums engage knowledge sharing between our team and our customers, and assigning customer success managers to each customer ensures personalized success growth. All these steps are taken with a clear perspective of engaging support reps as early as possible and providing critical human touch.

2. Say no to outsourcing your customer service.

Many times, it’s difficult to add a monetary value to your customer service team since they are not selling your product or generating direct revenue for your organization. It is natural to look for other alternatives to reduce overhead costs related to the customer service department. Many organizations might think of outsourcing their customer service activities. However, if you are in a software-as-a-service business, outsourcing your CS team would deprive your organization of critical feedback that can be captured through customer support.

For any SaaS company trying to capture the market, it is critical to adopt an Agile development methodology. For your methodology to be successful, your development cycle and new features requests should be aligned to your customer requirements. Your goal must be to ensure your customers are heard and their feedback is reflected in the product. Hence, outsourcing the key customer channel to a partner would deprive your organization of this feedback.

3. Provide ongoing training and get experts on your CS team.

All said, if your CS team is not trained to be an expert on your product or you don’t have the right person on your team, the customer experience can be catastrophic. Your CS reps are responsible for representing your organization, and even though your sales team might be involved in capturing the deal, the CS team is responsible for ongoing satisfaction and customer retention. As many know, customer acquisition is key, but customer retention is directly proportional to this activity. In fact, if you do a simple logical evaluation, it takes any organization more money to acquire new customer than to retain existing customer. Thus, if you want to retain your customers, you need to ensure you have the best resources on your frontline.