Everyone in SaaS Needs to Do Customer Support. At Least Until You Have 50-100 Employees. But Ideally, Forever.


Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 4.39.57 PMA ways back we noted a great rant by David Marcus, now of Facebook, and previously President of PayPal.  Complaining his employees weren’t using PayPal apps.

Well — what did he expect?

Yes, he was right.  It’s not cool if your team doesn’t use your app every day.  But PayPal isn’t Google.  Or Facebook.  It’s ubiquitous, but it’s not a service everyone is necessarily going to naturally use every day, or maybe even, ever.

And I bet in SaaS, that’s even less likely in your case.  If you’re building an accounting application for healthcare — how many of your engineers will use it naturally on a daily basis?  If you’re building, say, a HIPAA compliance app?  I’m not sure it’s something your sales reps would ever use if they didn’t have to sell it.  It’s not natural.

So what do you do?

It’s simple, if you haven’t done it before.  It’s something really you have to do.  I did, we did it, and it works.  I should have done it even more.

The answer: everyone in a SaaS company has to do a 2+ hour stint on customer support (chat, phone, whatever) once a quarter, minimum.  Everyone.

This is a trick I learned from my old bosses who came out of Intuit.  I’m not sure if Intuit still requires it or not, but apparently they used to.  Even up to the biggest corner offices.

Love it.  I implemented it, over some complaints.  And it worked magic.  It worked magic with engineers, who really heard the complaints.  They learned.  It worked its magic with the sales team (believe it or not). While they used Adobe Sign / EchoSign ten times a day, they didn’t really see it from the customer side.  Even my most experienced reps loved the experience — and sales reps don’t usually want to waste time on anything that doesn’t make them money.

Today, there great tools like Gorgias, Front, Intercom, and many others that make support social and can make this 10x easier to implement.

But whatever you’ve got for support, it’s easy.  Have everyone pick up a headset, take a chat session, whatever it takes, to do 2 hours of support once a quarter.  Your customer support team may not appreciate it, 100%.  Because they’ll have to answer a ton of questions, and basically do Level 2 support for your team.

Top execs like David Marcus can make their team use their apps.  At least sort of.  But I’m not sure if you can make yours use your B2B app on a daily basis.  But everyone can still learn a ton about the real customers, the real customer experience — just by talking to them, even just over the ol’ internet.  And solving their problems.

I guarantee it.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic post)


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