12 Different Types of Customer Support For SaaS Companies

12 Different Types of Customer Support For SaaS Companies cover

Customers aren’t all the same, so you need different types of customer support to address the needs of different kinds of customers.

Some may call you when in trouble, while others want to fix it without interacting with you. As a result, you need variety in your customer service solutions to properly assist each customer.

This article explores 12 of the most important customer support types and how to approach them to consistently deliver outstanding customer experiences.


There are about 12 different types of customer support, including:

  1. Self-service customer support.
  2. Proactive support.
  3. Email support by customer service representatives.
  4. Social media support.
  5. Phone support by specialized customer service reps.
  6. Interactive voice response support.
  7. Live chat support.
  8. AI-powered chatbots.
  9. Communities and forums.
  10. Video customer service.
  11. On-site customer service.
  12. Omnichannel customer support.
  • To determine the best types of customer service for you, consider your business type, product complexity, customer demographic and expectations, budget, and future scalability.
  • Userpilot helps you provide self-service support and deliver proactive support to drive product adoption. Book a demo today to learn more.

Try Userpilot and Take Your Customer Satisfaction to the Next Level

What is customer support?

Customer support is any assistance a company provides to its customers.

It is everything a company does to enable the smooth delivery of services to customers before, during, and after a purchase.

Why is customer service important for SaaS businesses?

Customer service is especially critical for SaaS businesses, even more so than traditional ones. There are three key reasons for this:

  • Product complexity: SaaS products can be complex and may take users time to understand. Excellent customer support ensures users avoid frustration and make the most of the product.
  • Customer loyalty: Good customer service leads to improved customer satisfaction. This builds trust in your product which, in turn, increases loyalty.
  • Increased revenue: SaaS businesses operate a subscription model that relies on recurring revenue. Excellent customer service fosters loyalty and keeps users subscribed.

Put simply, customer service is the bridge between a company and its customers. It is the key to ensuring a smooth and positive experience throughout the customer journey.

12 Types of customer support for driving SaaS customer satisfaction

Thanks to advancing technology, customer support has evolved from just answering phone calls and responding to emails.

Today, customers have various types of customer support channels to choose from. We divide these into 12:

1. Self-service customer support

Self-service customer support empowers customers to find answers to their queries by themselves. It involves providing a comprehensive knowledge base, FAQ, and helpful guides to help users sort through problems.

Self-serve support, thus, eliminates the need to contact a customer service agent for simple or common troubleshooting issues.

Create an in-app resource center with Userpilot.
Create an in-app resource center with Userpilot.

Some advantages include:

  • Reduced workload for customer service teams.
  • 24/7 availability for customer queries.
  • Empowers customers to independently find solutions to their problems.
  • Allows agents to focus on more complex issues.
  • Saves business costs by reducing the need for a battalion of live support agents.

Some disadvantages include:

  • It does not provide personalized assistance and, as such, may be unsuitable for certain tasks.
  • When poorly designed, it can cause frustration and produce angry customers instead.

2. Proactive support

Proactive customer support differs from other types of customer service. Unlike the others, it involves anticipating your customers’ needs and providing the right in-app guidance to prevent problems.

For example, you can anticipate that a user may struggle with a newly launched feature during their first interaction. Rather than wait for their complaint, however, you can provide a tooltip to guide that interaction.

Provide proactive customer support with Userpilot.
Provide proactive customer support with Userpilot.

Some advantages include:

  • Anticipating problems before they occur leads to fewer complaints and better customer satisfaction.
  • Leveraging predictive insights to offer timely tips lowers support costs.
  • Proactive support demonstrates a commitment to customer success and improves customer loyalty.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Proactive problem-solving may come across as intrusive if it is not thoughtfully implemented.
  • It requires a ton of data collection and analysis.

3. Email support by customer service representatives

Email support is a staple for most customer service teams. In fact, about 90% of all organizations include email support in their customer service options.

Here, customers can explain their issues in detail, even attaching screenshots and other media files for clarity. Customer service representatives can, in turn, provide detailed responses and follow up on queries.

email support - types of customer support
Source: Freshdesk.

Some advantages include:

  • It allows for an in-depth explanation of complex issues.
  • Emails provide a record of conversations that can be tracked for future reference.
  • Support agents can handle more than one email at once.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Email response times are typically slower than phone support or live chat customer service.
  • Emails can feel impersonal and lead to miscommunication, thanks to a lack of immediate responses.

4. Social media support

Social media customer service involves interacting with customers directly on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

In an age of growing digital communication, social media support allows businesses to reach customers on platforms they use frequently. Thus, it is ideal for public communication and addressing complaints publicly.

mailchimp social media support
Mailchimp addresses a complaint on Twitter.

Some advantages include:

  • Public responses to customer complaints build trust and transparency.
  • With billions of users between them, social media platforms enable you to reach a large and diverse audience.
  • Social media boasts quick response times that encourage real-time interactions.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Limited character counts, and the public nature of interactions may make it difficult to maintain professionalism.
  • Negative interactions and comments are publicly visible and can easily go viral.
  • Managing multiple social media platforms is resource-intensive.

5. Phone support by specialized customer service reps

Phone support is as old as time itself, with almost 90% of B2B organizations utilizing it. It involves assisting customers through calls – via landlines, mobile phones, or third-party applications.

Phone support offers real-time customer interaction, making it ideal for complex issues and situations requiring a personal touch.

Some advantages include:

Some disadvantages include:

  • Maintaining a large call center with well-trained personnel is expensive.
  • With several customers calling in at once, wait times can be extensive.

6. Interactive voice response support

Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated phone system for answering incoming calls. Standard IVR systems allow callers to select options and specify problems using a keypad or voice prompts.

IVR systems reduce the call load for customer support teams by answering calls with a set of options and providing immediate answers to basic questions. This frees up agents to handle more urgent and complicated issues.

Some advantages include:

  • Because it only routes complex issues to appropriate agents, IVR systems reduce the wait time for callers.
  • Unlike live agents, IVR systems are available 24/7 to provide support.
  • IVR systems collect information from callers, making it easier to resolve customer issues.
  • It reduces overall support costs by automating tasks, streamlining workflows, and deflecting calls.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Long and complex menus can be frustrating for callers who need immediate assistance.
  • Pre-programmed responses are limited in scope and struggle with nuanced problems.
  • IVR systems are impersonal.

7. Live chat support

Live chat customer service refers to any real-time chat functionality embedded in a website or an app. It connects you with online agents who provide instant responses to your queries.

Live chat support can also be useful for problems where screenshots or screen sharing may be helpful. It is no surprise, then, that 52% of customers prefer businesses that offer this type of customer service.

live chat - types of customer support
Live chat provides speedy problem resolution.

Some advantages include:

  • Quick problem resolution.
  • It reduces friction in the customer journey as customers can continue on your product while chatting with an agent.
  • Live chat is more cost-effective and efficient, enabling agents to handle multiple chats at a time.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Customers may still have to wait during high-traffic hours.
  • Some customer issues require more in-depth assistance or assistance from different teams, introducing friction in the process.
  • Responses can sometimes feel inauthentic and “automated” as agents try to resolve issues quickly using scripted responses.

8. AI-powered chatbots

Chatbot customer service is support powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Unlike traditional chatbots, which have been around for a while, AI chatbots use natural language processing to process queries and deliver more intuitive interactions.

These chatbots answer common queries, troubleshoot everyday issues, and direct customers to relevant resources.

hubspot chatbot - types of customer support
AI chatbots mimic human interactions.

Some advantages include:

  • Automated chatbots are great at providing answers to frequently asked questions.
  • They free up human agents by handling high-volume, repetitive queries.
  • They offer 24/7 round-the-clock support to customers.

Some disadvantages include:

  • They have limited problem-solving capacity and are prone to mistakes.
  • AI chatbots often lack a human touch, leading customers to seek the human agents they’re meant to replace.

9. Communities and forums

Why hire a sprawling customer service team when you can create a community for users to provide technical support to each other?

Online communities and forums provide opportunities for customers to interact with each other, share knowledge, and ask questions. In addition to the valuable suggestions on offer, communities also provide users with a sense of inclusion.

HubSpot online community - types of customer support
HubSpot online community.

Some advantages include:

  • Online communities provide users with a central place to ask questions, learn from others’ experiences, and share knowledge.
  • They provide a resource base for customers seeking support in the future.
  • Public forums also help your customer support team to better understand your customer’s pressing issues and concerns.
  • Customers sometimes share solutions that you haven’t considered before, providing a fresh perspective on challenges.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Because anyone can share their opinion on the forum, the quality and accuracy of information can vary wildly.
  • Even very active communities may delay responding to certain queries.
  • Online anonymity can embolden some users to express negativity and create a toxic environment.

10. Video customer service

Video customer service involves utilizing videos – live or pre-recorded to resolve customer issues. It is ideal for troubleshooting software problems or technical issues requiring visual demonstrations.

Thankfully, creating and sharing videos is ridiculously easy today.

For example, you can generate hyper-realistic AI videos using Synthesia and embed them into in-app UI patterns with Userpilot, or embed Loom videos into your product.

video support -types of customer support
Create and deliver video support easily with Userpilot.

Some advantages include:

  • Video support allows for visual demonstrations and screen sharing, making explanations clearer and easier to understand.
  • Live video support fosters a more personal connection than phone support.
  • Video chats also eliminate the need for far-away customers to make long trips to the store.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Video chat requires additional technology, bandwidth, and know-how, which may not be suitable for all customers.
  • Poor internet connections may hamper effective communication.

11. On-site customer service

Digital communications may have limited in-person interactions, but in-person/walk-in customer service remains valuable today. This is especially true for brick-and-mortar stores and retail outlets.

But it can also be useful for SaaS companies who want to interact directly with customers and understand their needs.

Some advantages include:

  • Physical interactions are ideal for demonstrating product features and offering technical support.
  • Customer service reps can interact with customers to identify and resolve issues on the spot, providing instant satisfaction.
  • In-person interactions also help you build rapport with customers and boost customer loyalty.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Support will be limited to the physical location of the store, making it unscalable for a large customer base.
  • Costs of training staff and maintaining physical locations can be expensive.

12. Omnichannel customer support

Omnichannel customer support integrates all the channels above to create a consistent customer experience. This means that customers can switch between different communication channels (email, phone, social media, etc.) without starting over or losing context.

For this to work, you’ll need to invest in omnichannel software solutions that act as a central hub for your channels and customer data.

omnichannel communications
Source: Zendesk.

Some advantages include:

  • Omnichannel support provides customers with flexibility in how they contact support.
  • It allows for a smooth transition between channels, enabling customers to pick their preferred channel at any time.
  • It creates a consistent customer experience across different channels.

Some disadvantages include:

  • Requires extensive investment in a robust platform and staff training.
  • Differences in experience, knowledge, and training make it difficult to deliver a truly consistent experience.

How to select the best types of customer service for yourself

Now for the million-dollar question: given the different types of customer service you can choose from, how do you determine the best type(s) for your needs?

To answer that question, you must evaluate some factors, including:

  • The nature of your business: Hardware products and brick-and-mortar stores benefit from on-site customer service. Digital businesses, though, like SaaS and e-commerce should lean more towards self-service options, live chat, etc.
  • The complexity of your product/service: SaaS businesses can generally reduce their support needs by introducing proactive and self-service options. However, very technical products requiring regular troubleshooting may also benefit from video chat support and in-depth knowledge bases.
  • Customer expectations: What do your customers prefer? Younger audiences may favor chat or social media support, while older ones prefer phone support or emails. So, evaluate your customer personas to determine their industry preferences and align your strategy accordingly.
  • Budget: How much you can afford to spend on support will determine your preferred customer service types. Live chat and phone support, for example, require the hiring and continued training of customer service agents, making them expensive. Self-service and email options, however, are less resource-intensive.
  • Scalability: When selecting customer service models, ensure you consider future scalability. A good model for you should be easily scalable to accommodate a growing customer base without compromising customer support quality.

How to provide excellent customer service with Userpilot

Ready to supercharge your customer service delivery? Userpilot is a no-code product growth platform that enables you to connect with users and deliver personalized support and consistent customer experiences.

One way Userpilot does this is by empowering you to create a self-service knowledge base to help users quickly find the answers they need. You can add different formats of resources, such as documentation articles, tutorial videos, FAQs, and other internal/external links to your resource center.

You can also tailor the resource center to show certain resources to specific users via segmentation. And, thanks to Userpilot’s localization feature, you can make your resources appear in the user’s preferred language.

userpilot resource center
Userpilot’s resource center.

Userpilot also enables you to deliver proactive support through engaging UI patterns.

Using tooltips, slideouts, modals, and driven actions, you can draw attention to specific features and create flows to guide users to success.

UI patterns in Userpilot.

Finally, Userpilot enables you to deliver contextual email support using webhooks. You can do this by triggering a specific email (or email sequence) when a user completes a task or interacts with a feature.

userpilot email webhooks - types of customer support
Create webhooks with Userpilot.


Ultimately, you cannot have a successful SaaS business without excellent customer service. You must carefully define your support strategy and identify the best types of customer support for your needs.

If you’re interested in implementing the self-service options and delivering proactive in-app support, look no further than Userpilot.

Book a demo today and a representative will be in touch to show you how Userpilot can improve your support.

Try Userpilot and Take Your Customer Satisfaction to the Next Level

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