Support and Success Symbiosis

In a post-sales journey for SaaS organizations, the two departments with the most customer contact are the Customer Success and Support teams. The people using your software will base their experience on how well they are supported because their success is contingent on the support a company provides. Support can be a general term and is often thrown around in an organization to fit whatever the current definition calls for and can be on the front lines or an accompaniment to teams within an organization. Support is like customer success because everyone should think about it.

I’m an Implementation Team Lead and it’s part of my job to ensure that new customers are onboarded efficiently and take away a stronger understanding of their product. During the onboarding process, customers are introduced to the fine details of their purchase. This can be overwhelming for a busy person who needs to multitask between their day to day tasks and implementing a new product. Onboarding is there to guide them through setup, training, and adoption. During the weeks or months, it takes to move through this process. They may not remember what was demonstrated in the demos and the many conversations with sales.

I spend a lot of my time answering questions that vary from the simple to the complex. These questions are a crucial part of the onboarding process because it is an indicator that the customer in engaged and using the product. I love it when my customers ask questions but still will get tripped up when things of a larger technical nature get asked. Just because I can’t think of the answer doesn’t mean we can’t work together as a team to get that to our customer. Success professionals should strive to be that internal support champion because it helps to create even more confidence in our relationship.

Through seniority and time in the role, you begin to anticipate the questions and keep a mental backlog of the technical solutions. Customers greatly appreciate it when small issues and questions are resolved quickly. Eventually, every success rep will need to call in a support representative for customer questions that are too technical. The reasoning for this is 2 part; the product can be hefty and complex, and success reps will want to get the right answer to help keep the relationship’s foundations strong.

While this isn’t our primary focus, it’s a part of everyone’s job to create an environment where we want people to resubscribe. By doing all of the above, we should theoretically be closer to renewing the contract together. We support the people using our product because we want them to feel good and be successful. One last thing that can’t be overlooked is the relationship we have together as a team.

At G2 Crowd, the Customer Success department is chair rolling distance from Support and Product. I literally turn my chair around and ask the team my questions or give additional background to a technical ticket. I have found this to be invaluable on calls where I am caught off guard by a question, a new feature was rolled out, or when a bug occurs. We’ve built a relationship where this is accepted and encouraged. By asking for answers to something I don’t know, I’ve built credibility as an agent and internally as someone that wants to improve.

This is why it is crucial for a Support team and Success team to have open lines of communication. Depending on the issues, I’ve even had the support team do a screen share in real time so we all can problem solve an issue. Ultimately, I rely on Support and Product every day to keep the product running optimally and to answer questions that are beyond my technical expertise.

Support and Customer Success need a symbiotic relationship in order to delight and retain customers. It may not be necessary to sit right next to each other, but there must be some way to facility unencumbered communication between the two. The partnership between Support and Success will help make every customer successful.

Bliss Billingsley is a Team Lead for the Implementation team at G2 Crowd and is a guest contributor.

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