Customer Service Glossary
What Is Customer Support as a Service?
Customer support as a service is a pay-as-you-go solution for outsourced customer experience. This solution allows outside technical support and customer service agents to communicate directly with a company’s customers. Some contact centers refer to this business model as “customer service as a service.”
Outside agents will typically answer customer questions, resolve issues with products or services, and help buyers use a product or service. Customer support representatives may also assist with onboarding, upgrading, or troubleshooting.
Customer support as a service is a relatively modern addition to most companies. This outsourced department performs many tasks that in-house technical support teams once managed, such as taking routine “ankle-biter” questions relating to product assembly or software installation.
Of course as Software as a Service (Saas) has become more prevalent, support teams have shifted away from providing guidance on manually installing or repairing products. Instead, customer support as a service these days typically focuses on building relationships, improving customer experience, and maintaining customer loyalty through timely, personalized communication.
Some companies have large in-house customer support teams along with contracted contact center employees to augment their efforts and/or provide customer care around the clock.
How Does Customer Support as a Service Benefit Businesses?
Customer support as a service takes a hands-on outsourced approach to customer experience. The provision allows businesses to improve sales, reduce costs, and boost revenue for a predetermined fee.
FYI: A Temkin Group study found that companies that make more than $1 billion in revenue each year could earn as much as $700 million more by improving their customer experience.
Some common benefits of customer support as a service include:
1. Increased Customer Satisfaction (Easily)
If a company can’t handle their customer support backlog, a customer service as a service provider will help get back to these customers faster than the company could with their own time. Their job is typically to ensure that each client feels valued, respected, and satisfied with their purchase. Customer support agents can use the channels important to you, such as phone calls, emails, and live chat. They can even provide in-depth assistance while customers set up, troubleshoot, and learn to use products or services (assuming you select a quality vendor).
In addition, many customer support departments use real-time telecommunication to build a trusting relationship between the company and the consumer.
2. Improved Client Engagement
A study conducted by Segment found that 44% of consumers return to the same company after a satisfactory, personalized experience. A proactive customer support as a service strategy can help increase sales, improve customer retention, and keep clients engaged through reliable, consistent interactions.
Both in-house and outsourced call center customer support agents can apply their knowledge and experience to help customers make confident purchasing decisions. Further, customer support agents can help resolve product or service issues quickly, keeping shoppers happy long after completing their purchases.
3. Increased Conversions
Notably, 49% of shoppers make impulse purchases after receiving a personalized recommendation from a customer support agent. When companies support their customer relationship management strategies with consumer-focused support as a service, they keep their existing customers happy while encouraging new shoppers to complete the sale.
Conversions then increase naturally, thanks in part to the added value from customer support departments.
What Is the Difference Between Customer Support and Customer Service?
Some companies use “customer support” and “customer service” interchangeably. However, customer support is a single facet of customer service, which includes the interactions between agents and customers through various telecommunication channels.
Customer service encompasses an overall approach to building relationships and establishing customer loyalty throughout the customer lifecycle. This transactional approach provides helpful solutions and guidance during the buyer’s journey.
On the other hand, customer support provides hands-on assistance and follow-up care that enhances the customer experience instead of simply completing a transaction.
How Does Customer Support Work?
Custom support as a service varies from business to business. However, both in-house and contact center employees typically support a certain product or service, such as a software program or physical product that a company sells.
When a customer reaches out with issues regarding a specific product, a customer support agent may:
- Provide customers with a link to documentation and guide them through the troubleshooting process (can be easy, such as with a toy, or can be more complex like a wireless modem).
- Draw customer-centric feedback from the conversation and log it in a knowledge base for future reference.
- Offer tips to improve the owner experience.
- Follow up with the client regarding their experience.
Customer Support for Businesses
Customer support involves a combination of technical expertise, communication skills, and a commitment to a satisfactory end-to-end customer experience. While customer support as a service is a relatively new addition to the modern business landscape, the quick turnaround for getting support staff on the phone is attractive and businesses continue to use it to help improve sales, reduce customer churn, and enhance brand loyalty.