Dear SaaS: You Can Actually Make Money Out of Your Phone Support

Use Case

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For a lot of people, phone support equals “losing time”, and since time is money, well they think it’s necessarily costly. If it’s true in a lot of cases there are also ways to leverage your phone support in order to cover your costs and even to increase your revenue. Here are two of them.

Include Phone Support In your Pricing Plans

This tactic is very useful for SaaS businesses which generally offer multiple pricing plans. Pricing plans are often based on features. The more a customer pays the more features he gets. Including a direct phone support option in one of your plans is a great way to appeal to bigger accounts who are ready to pay more to get a better quality of service.

Benefits from the customer perspective:

  • They feel reassured: phone support means a serious startup with a real support team behind.
  • They buy tranquility and trust: they know that they may not need to call you every day but that the day they have a problem they will be able to speak to a human in a matter of minutes.

Benefits from your perspective:

  • It enables you to target bigger companies / accounts who need phone support ( with exactly the same product).
  • It enables you to offer phone support only to premium accounts and not to free / lower range ones.

If you have a good and stable product then your phone support can help you increase your revenue. It’s a misconception to think that your customers will spend their time calling you, they will use it only when they really need to. If you get too many calls about how to use or set up some features then the problem might not come from your customers but from your product.

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statuspage.io is making a very good use of phone support in their pricing plans: from basic phone support to direct access to the CEO 🙂

Use Phone Support Calls To Upsell

For those who may not know, upselling is simply the act of selling an extra product or an extra service to an existing customer. Upsells are becoming a very important component for SaaS businesses to increase their revenue per customer.

Upsells are usually done by inside sales (via emails, newsletters, sales calls etc…) A lot of SaaS startups don’t have a sales team, but 99% of them have people to do support (whether it’s a dedicated team or the founders themselves at the beginning etc.). In this case, it can make sense not only to offer a traditional email / ticket support but also a phone one.

Support calls are an interesting time because you have a direct and personal contact with your customer while he has questions or problems to solve. You can precisely see what their needs are and answer them through extra services or features when appropriate. If you’re an early stage start-up, it helps you get a very qualitative view on your customer needs as we discussed already here.

Don’t misunderstand us, support calls are first and foremost made to support your customers and not to sell extra stuff. So please focus on taking care of them. That said when you don’t have inside sales it can be a good addition to your startup and a “lean” first step before recruiting your first sales.

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