The pivotal role of customer support in SaaS BI

  • Richard Thelwell
  • October 29, 2014

An increasing number of organisations are turning to software-as-a-service applications to run their business intelligence operations. Handing over control of these procedures can often be a challenging process, and it is therefore crucial that SaaS BI vendors have a strong customer support infrastructure in place to facilitate this change.

As the demand for SaaS BI solutions rises, so too does the competitiveness of the vendor market. Having a great product, at a great price, is no longer good enough. Vendors must also provide accessible, reliable and professional support to users in order to ensure they derive the greatest utility from the system.

The importance of this customer support cannot be overstated. As the primary point of contact for users, the quality of support provided has a significant effect on customer satisfaction and retention rates.
In this article we take a further look at the benefits that a strong vendor/user relationship can have for both parties.

Cost savings

Implementing traditional business intelligence projects can often be a long and expensive process, requiring a significant amount of investment just to get these systems up and running. Even when this is complete, there is no guarantee the systems will be ready to use, as staff will often need additional training and support to use them effectively, complex as they are. This additional support could come at a significant cost to the business, whether it be through the strain it places on internal resources or the external consultancy that may be required.

These on-going costs will have to be fronted by the business themselves and escalating costs are one of the major reasons behind the extremely high failure rates associated with traditional BI projects.

With SaaS BI solutions, all training and on-going support is covered under the price of your monthly subscription, providing users with professional support as part of the overall service offered. This means that you have a team of experienced business intelligence professionals just a phone call or email away – there is no need for increased consultancy costs or additional staffing.

Promoting usage

Effective customer support is also heavily linked with the increased usage of SaaS BI systems.

The complexity of traditional BI systems combined with inadequate user support can often result in these systems being left idle. This means that companies may be ploughing large amounts of money into something that is not being utilised and is therefore not providing the business with any discernible value.

With SaaS BI, on the other hand, vendors are able to track usage statistics such as weekly log-ins and the number of reports created by individual users. Being able to analyse this data makes it much easier to highlight situations where the systems are not being used to their full potential. SaaS BI support teams will hold regular update calls with customers to discuss these usage figures and together they can set actionable targets to promote increased usage across the business.

SaaS BI customer support usage meeting
Customer support teams hold regular meetings to discuss SaaS BI usage figures

Increased communication

Through the experience we have had of working with hundreds of customers, we have found that effective communication between both parties is one of the most important factors behind a successful SaaS BI implementation.

Having someone on the end of the phone at every stage of the implementation process allows you to stick to a clear and concise implementation strategy, knowing help is always at hand. And this support doesn’t stop once your systems go ‘live’, it continues throughout the duration of your subscription.

We believe that it’s important to always keep our customers in the know. That’s why we provide regular updates, even when something is taking a little longer than we expected. We believe that this transparency helps us foster more open and honest relationships with our clients, ensuring they are never kept in the dark about important issues.

Improving products

As the most customer-facing role within a SaaS BI organisation, the customer support team will be largely responsible for relaying user issues to other areas of the business, particularly the research and development team.

SaaS Bi customer support development
Customer support teams have a big say in terms of product development within SaaS BI organisations.

This communication will benefit both parties, as vendors will be able to decipher common issues users experience with current systems and reflect these in subsequent software releases. This will aid the product development process and help to keep customer satisfaction levels high, resulting in higher retention.

If you would like to know more about the customer support offered by SaaS BI vendors, download our free E-Book today.