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Can Exceptional Customer Service Lead to Higher Conversions?

Here’s a tip: if you want to sell anything to a SaaS company, just tell them that it increases conversion rates.

It’s sad but true; “increases conversions” has become the cliche rallying cry of hundreds of products around the web.

It sounds nice, but in many cases, it’s totally meaningless.

Let’s say a product failed to help hundreds of businesses, but somehow increased conversions for a single site. That product now has enough proof to claim that it increases conversions.

Claims like that need to be taken with a grain of salt, just like the “helps lower cholesterol” banner you find on sugary cereals in the supermarket.

conversions-box

To say that something increases conversions is a nice soundbite, to be sure. But that doesn’t make it usefully true for all of us.

So when I set out to determine whether exceptional customer service does, in fact, increase conversions, I did so cautiously. I didn’t want to make bold claims that wouldn’t ultimately be helpful.

Did I find a definitive answer? You’ll need to read the post and judge for yourself.

But I did find some fascinating evidence to suggest that customer service and marketing are far more related than most people might think.

My hope is that these examples change the way you look at support and the impact it can have on your marketing efforts.

Does exceptional customer service lead to higher conversions?

A year ago, Groove released the 2013 SaaS Small Business Conversion Survey.

More than 1,500 companies shared their conversion data, in the hopes of creating benchmarks that would help the SaaS community take a more informed approach to conversion rate optimization.

One of the questions we asked was:

Which channel did you put the most focus on in 2013?

The choices included referrals, email marketing, content marketing, customer service and a handful of others.

And while customer service was far from being a top answer (only 7% of the respondents selected it), there was an interesting correlation in the data:

Companies who said that their biggest focus was on customer service reported, on average, 11% higher overall conversion rates on their websites.

11-percent-higher-conversions

An interesting data point, but is it enough to conclude that focusing on support equals higher conversions?

Probably not on its own.

Let’s look at some more data…

Proposify’s amazing 156% support-driven conversion rate increase

Proposify is a SaaS company that builds proposal software for agencies.

As the company began to grow, Kyle Racki, Proposify’s CEO, decided to invest in their customer service. He signed up for help desk software and began to read everything he could about how to deliver better support.

(Disclaimer: Kyle is a Groove customer, but you can do this with a number of different tools.)

Customers began to take notice, and the company’s growth began to accelerate. For the past several months, Proposify’s revenue has been growing at 40-60% month-over-month.

And while this can’t simply be attributed to good customer service, there’s a part of this story that surprised Kyle (and even me, the guy who’s constantly trumpeting the value of great customer service).

It’s all about reducing customer effort

As part of Kyle’s customer support efforts, he wanted to make it easier for customers to get help. After all, research has shown that reducing customer effort creates customer loyalty.

As it turns out, that same principle can help increase conversions, too.

Proposify added customer support help widgets all over their website. These widgets allow visitors to easily contact the support team, or to find an answer for themselves in Proposify’s knowledge base.

proposify-widget

When Kyle looked at the numbers in Proposify’s KISSmetrics dashboard, he was stunned.

Over a period of two months, the company’s overall average trial-to-paid conversion rate was 9.85%.

However, users that clicked on one of Proposify’s help widgets converted at 25.23%!

2-times-higher-conversions

That’s a 156% increase in conversions, simply from making customer support easily accessible (and drastically reducing abandonment in the process).

Proposify isn’t alone…

At Groove, we’ve found much of the same to be true.

Early on, we learned that trial users who emailed us for support were nine times more likely to convert to paying users.

9-times-higher-conversions

When the customer rated their support interaction as “Awesome,” that number jumped another 8%!

In fact, the results were so compelling that we decided to test whether we can get even more customer support emails.

We tried everything from adding support widgets to more of our pages, to dozens of different email campaigns to nudge trial users to ask for help.

In the end, one approach stood about head and shoulders above everything we tested. It took a little bit more time to set up, but it was well worth it, and we continue to use it to this day.

Here’s what we did

We know how long certain tasks in Groove are supposed to take:

  • Creating a rule should take between 10 and 30 seconds.
  • Integrating a Twitter account takes about 20 seconds.
  • Customizing a support widget? 2 to 3 minutes.

We had an inkling that users that were spending significantly more time than that might need a hand. So we built a simple system that would alert us when a user would spend too much time on a particular task in multiple sessions.

Why multiple sessions? Because we found that if we only used one session as the trigger, many of the users weren’t actually stuck, but had simply left a tab open and gotten distracted or gone off to do something else, and didn’t actually need help.

Then, we reached out with an email:

onboarding-email

The email got a 10% response rate, and 30% of the users were still customers after their trial ended; more than 350% higher than our average free trial users.

So what’s the answer? Does better support = higher conversions?

In a scientific, inarguable sense? We don’t really know.

But to me, these case studies suggest that for many companies, focusing on customer service can lead to big long-term conversion benefits.

We already know that good support can lead to other big business wins: 86% of customers are willing to pay more to do business with a company that provides superior customer service.

86-precent-will-pay-more

Good customer service has been shown to increase retention and referrals, too.

And with all this encouraging data, it’s worth testing to find out if better customer service can increase conversions on your campaign-specific landing pages, too.

Sustained, consistently excellent customer service can build a strong halo effect – a powerful psychological phenomenon – around your business; when people hear how good your support is, they’ll assume that you do other things well, too. When a prospect who’s heard of your company (and your great support!) reaches your landing pages, they’ll be primed to buy.

So, will exceptional customer support help you increase your conversion rate?

It’s impossible to say whether it’ll help you without giving it a try.

But with the rest of the undeniable business-growing benefits that good customer service brings, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to try.

— Len Markidan

Listen to Len on the Call to Action podcast:

proposify-widget

About Len Markidan
Len Markidan is the head of marketing at Groove, makers of simple help desk software for teams. Read his weekly posts on the Groove Customer Service Blog and follow him on Twitter.
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Comments:

  1. Faiz Rasool

    i love this post and i agree to bloger.customer service and marketing are more reliable.

    (1)
    Reply
  2. Romaisa

    I wanted to thank you for your time I have also same question Who will need administration when the client will get answer to his question following 3 days?

    (1)
    Reply
  3. Sarah

    Great article! Ditto on conversion extends beyond marketing. Marketing gets you the first date. Customer service keeps you coming back for more. :)

    (0)
    Reply
  4. Michael Leck

    You know, I hadn’t really thought too much about using support to assist with the conversion nudge, but now it seems so obvious. The Here’s What We Did section is just excellent. Thanks Len!

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    Reply
  5. Michael

    Yes, my philosophy is just treat others as you would like to be treated, its not really mine but you know what I mean. I take my time with each person who is interested in one of my watches, discuss their questions and thank them. I have no interest to rush any one or ignore someone who has been kind of enough to pay a compliment or show interest. Always make time for people, easy as that.

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    Reply
  6. john grace

    I have used your tips and it increase my coversions so that why today i am here to told you thanks :P

    (0)
    Reply
  7. Aviva Pinchas

    Love this post – great data & really unique perspective. Also, thank you for the very practical advice!

    (0)
    Reply
  8. Andrei Stanila

    This arcticle is a great one, it helped me make a difference between Marketing and Customer Service. Thank you!

    (0)
    Reply
  9. Zubair ismail

    Yeah well said…I myself prefer services with great customer support. Who will want service when the customer will get answer to his query after 3 days? Absolutely no one :D

    (0)
    Reply
  10. Maher Abiad

    The Proposify results are certainly amazing. I totally agree though that if you make things easy for your customers, they will want to stick around and do more business with you. The last thing you ever want to do is to create unnecessary hurdles between you and the people that make your business grow. Cheers.

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    Reply
  11. Kyle Racki

    Thanks for including us on this post, Len! Glad it can help other companies consider investing more fully in their customer service.

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    Reply
  12. Marty Mcfly

    This is absolutely true. We use LiveHelpNow for our customer support and live chat software. Totally recommend it to anyone looking to up their conversions.

    They have a 30 day free trial here: http://try.livehelpnow.net/

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    Reply
  13. shahzad

    Amazing! Its really awesome piece of writing, I have
    got much clear idea about from this piece of writing.

    (0)
    Reply
  14. waleed

    I was very happy to uncover this site. I wanted to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!!
    I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to
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       hashmi. . . . . .  .

    (0)
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  15. zohaib

    I don’t learn article on blogs, however
    I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it

    (0)
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  16. crackedtool

    No doubt well said… I myself lean toward administrations with incredible client support. Who will need administration when the client will get answer to his question following 3 days? Truly nobo

    (0)
    Reply
  17. Romaisa

    great data & really unique perspective Nice Blog Marketing and Customer Service. Thank you!

    (0)
    Reply
  18. Saim

    Thanks admin,
    actually I was searching for this from 3 hours in google.

    (0)
    Reply
Comments