Software Support — Why Is It a Crucial Part of Customer Service?
⏱ Reading Time: 7 minutes
Many businesses often forget about the importance of customer service. When the budget is low, it’s especially easy to downplay the importance of investing enough money in customer support. You need to ensure the necessary financing for marketing and your product team so why should customer support be on your list of priorities?
The truth is that your customer support is no less important than sales or marketing because it serves as a direct connection channel between your business and its customers. Investing enough money and effort in customer support offers numerous benefits for your business!
For instance, proper customer support enables you to improve customer retention. Even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profit. Moreover, repeat customers tend to spend 67% more on products and services so you can also decrease your operating costs.
Your customer service has a direct impact on the number of loyal customers since as much as 73% of customers note that good customer support is the main reason why they stay loyal to brands. Another reason to provide high-quality customer support is that happy customers generate word of mouth. According to statistics, 77% of customers share their positive experiences with brands and recommend companies that provide good customer service.
Software support is usually offered by software publishers, but sometimes, users may also choose third-party solutions. In this article, we will focus on some of the key features of software support, consider its main aspects, and think of why software support is a crucial element of customer service.
What Software Support Is
Software support is a service provided by the publisher of a software product. Usually, help from support engineers is available for registered users. Support engineers may respond in different ways, and the response time may also vary depending on the type of issue and the support team’s responsibilities outlined in the support contract. Usually, such services are on-demand, and support representatives only get actively involved when users experience complex issues.
Customer support consists of different levels, or tiers, which determine the type and extent of technical assistance. For instance, the lowest level of support is self-help. In some situations, you only need to provide users with the necessary information so that they can follow clear instructions and solve the problem themselves. The next level is basic support that may address such problems as password reset or other basic issues. In this case, you need entry-level support staff.
The higher the level of support, the more trained and skilled staff you need. For example, to provide operational support and solve application performance problems, you need support staff who know the operational side of the product and have the necessary engineering background. To help users with more complex problems, including architectural issues and unknown issues, you need skilled product experts, including developers and architects.
Picture 1. Software support
Why Software Support Is Important
We’ve already mentioned the importance of customer service for customer retention and revenue growth. If you offer a software product, you must make sure that your users are able to get all the necessary assistance. However, not only is software support important for software publishers, but it’s even more important for users. For example, if you have a B2B company, it means that whole businesses depend on your product.
Your product is a tool, and your customers expect it to run smoothly. If something goes wrong, the consequences can be severe so providing a perfect customer experience becomes a necessity. Without it, you will quickly lose customers, and your reputation will be damaged. According to research, 76% of workers note that technical problems have a negative impact on their productivity, with a slow connection and crashes being the most common problems. Different industries, including marketing, professional services, and healthcare lose on average more than 262 hours every year because of software issues.
Adopt a Proactive Approach
No matter what kind of software you offer, it should be improved and updated regularly. First, some bugs can be identified after the product has already been launched. Secondly, you should constantly improve usability and add new features to withstand competition. Besides, you might need to address security vulnerabilities. It’s also important to update your software in response to updates in operating systems to ensure the best stability possible.
To choose the right software support method and focus on the right aspects, you should understand why you’re offering assistance, in the first place. The main reason why you need to provide software support is that all your customers expect it. If they have any questions about your product, you should be ready to provide answers. If your customers who paid for your product cannot receive the experience they’ve expected because of performance issues, you must help them resolve these issues.
Given that you can provide different levels of software support, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of each level. You should make sure that users can get help with all problems, from the simplest to the most complex ones. Even your guides and self-help materials that address the simplest problems must be easy to understand so you may need good writers. Fortunately, you can check out professional writing services reviews and read a reviews page of any service to choose experienced writers who are familiar with your niche.
When providing a higher level of customer support, you should also make sure that your support team has the necessary knowledge. Your help must be timely and professional. If you put enough effort into providing good customer support, you’ll be able to stand out from competitors. The main thing is to understand how much support you should provide and how you should do it.
How To Determine the Level of Software Support That You Need
To understand what level of software support you should provide, you need to consider many important factors. Depending on the type and specific features of your product, you may choose different approaches and systems. First of all, you should decide whether or not your service will be free, and if it will, how long you’re going to provide it. If you’re going to charge for your service, you should form the pricing system based on the features of your software package.
You should also consider your customers’ demographics data. For example, you may need to provide support in different languages. You may also use different communication channels so you must think of what channels will be most convenient for your customers. After this, you should also define the response time. Obviously, you should also identify what kinds of assistance your customers will most likely need, and what support they expect to receive.
You need to analyze all these factors so that you’ll be able to develop an effective support plan that will meet your objectives and correspond to the needs and preferences of your customers. Most companies that realize the importance of high-quality support would like to provide every customer with real-time support 24/7, but such an approach is impossible to implement in practice. Therefore, you should have clear expectations and plan an optimal solution.
Types of Software Support
You may choose different approaches to customer support, and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s consider them in more detail.
Such an approach implies setting up an in-house support team so you can manage all customers’ requests internally. In-house support enables your team to have immediate access to all the necessary information and sources. Besides, having an in-house team means that if any processes need updating or can be optimized, you can make the necessary improvements and provide the staff with the necessary training quickly. However, this is also the most expensive option, and the costs of in-house support outweigh the benefits for small and mid-sized companies.
You can also outsource software support to a third-party provider. Such an option is significantly less expensive than having an in-house support team so other areas of your business can get more funding. However, in this case, you should make sure that the third-party provider knows your product well. Besides, such an approach means having less control and more supervision issues. When choosing third-party support providers, it can be difficult to ensure the required level of support because the provider’s management is out of your reach.
Such an approach has become very popular recently, and one of the reasons is that this is the cheapest option that requires fewer resources than other models. Offshore support also puts less pressure on your team so it can focus on other tasks. However, this approach also has some significant disadvantages. Offshore support means language barriers and cultural differences. Many customers expect to receive a more localized kind of support so the satisfaction level may be low.
Software support is a crucial part of customer service because your customers expect to be able to get answers to any of their questions. Your customers expect that you will help them if they experience any problems, and if you don’t meet their expectations, you won’t be able to withstand competition. Your customer support has a big impact on customer retention, and even minor improvements in customer retention can have a significant positive impact on your revenue.
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