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Managed Services
December 18, 2023
7 min
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Solve the Challenge of Fluctuating Demand for SaaS Customer Support

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Imagine these scenarios:

  1. You launch a new product or roll out a significant software update. In the days before and immediately after the launch, your support team experiences an influx in requests.
  2. You experience high demand due to seasonality. For example, if you sell tax preparation software or your company offers seasonal discounts, your support team sees significantly higher request volumes during tax filing season.
  3.  A system outage or a security breach leads to a sudden and significant surge in demand. Users affected by the outage or concerned about the security of their data flood the support channels seeking immediate assistance.

If any of these sound familiar, you’ve experienced the pain of fluctuating demand

But What is Fluctuating Demand?

Essentially, fluctuating demand means customer support needs are not constant and can vary significantly, resulting in unpredictable spikes or drops. This irregular pattern can cause periods of uneven support request volumes, making it difficult to manage resources efficiently and provide timely customer assistance.

For example, a typical SaaS organization with a product or service that is prone to fluctuating demand might need the following support resources throughout the year:

With a 200% support resource difference for such a short time, it can be hard to find the perfect solution. For this example, three solutions come to mind: 

  1. You can hire temporary support engineers to cover periods of fluctuating demand, but the cost of hiring and training them for a limited time will likely outweigh the benefit.
  2. You can increase the number of support engineers permanently to avoid the need for short-term hiring, but you’ll be severely overstaffed during regular operations, not to mention significantly over budget.
  3. You can meet somewhere in the middle by hiring, say, ten additional support engineers, but you’ll still be overwhelmed during fluctuating demand due to a lack of support resources and overstaffed during regular operations.

So, how do you manage fluctuating demand without negatively impacting your bottom line? That’s what we’re here to answer! Let’s dive in.

Solutions to Manage Fluctuating Support Demand

With all the above scenarios, you’re probably wondering if there’s a solution, right? There is: outsourced support with a partner like ServiceRocket.

ServiceRocket can guide and support you by providing varying service levels to match demand, acting as your safety net. Our flexible managed service options can be customized to support your customers on a part-time, full-time, overflow, regional or seasonal basis while simultaneously fitting into your budget.

Here are just a few examples of the type of outsourced support we offer:

Demand Forecasting Prediction

By reviewing your historical data, ServiceRocket can determine peak periods during the year and assign extra support only when needed. For example, if you have an annual Black Friday sale, ServiceRocket can review your historical request data and use it to predict ticket volumes for that period to provide outsourced support to cover the influx of tickets.

ServiceRocket can also assist in predicting demand based on what we’ve seen from other partners in similar situations. For example, if you’re launching a new product or feature, ServiceRocket can assist with support so that if issues arise, enough resources are available to handle the spike in demand. This can help avoid over or underworking agents, lead to faster resolution times, reduce customer wait times, improve budget management and increase customer satisfaction.

For example, using demand forecasting, we did the following for one of our customers:

Continuous Training and Skill Development

One of the many benefits of outsourcing your technical support services to ServiceRocket is access to a roster of support engineers skilled in database management (such as Java SSL, web server, Tomcat, etc.), SQL database querying, code tuning and scripting.

With ServiceRocket, you can ensure your support teams receive ongoing training to handle diverse inquiries, including those requiring technical, product-specific and customer service skills. We cross-train our engineers to handle a wider range of customer inquiries and distribute the workload more evenly, reducing the burden on your most experienced engineers.

Plus, we have experienced support engineers with technical skills and prior support experience that enable them to provide a:

Knowledge Base and Self-Service Portal Updates  

Creating knowledge bases and self-service portals takes time — time your support team likely doesn’t have. With ServiceRocket as your outsourced support partner, you can allocate that time to us. Because we don’t charge you for resources or time that isn’t being used, if ticket volume is low, we can spend that time reviewing and updating your knowledge base as part of a pre-planned ticket deflection strategy.

ServiceRocket will consult fluctuating demand by providing customers with readily accessible and comprehensive information that enables them to find solutions to their issues independently.

By empowering customers to resolve common issues independently, knowledge bases and self-service portals can significantly reduce resolution times for those inquiries that reach the support team.

For example, when one of our customers experienced a large backlog of tickets due to a lack of customer knowledge, we stepped in to review and update knowledge bases during off-peak hours, which contributed to a:

Fluctuating Demand Hurts Your Business

Fluctuating demand is often hard to recognize until it’s too late. The snowball effect can seriously impact customer retention rates, revenue and more. For example:

Overworked Support Engineers

During spikes in demand, support engineers are consistently under pressure to meet high demand and may become overworked, stressed and disengaged. This is commonly known as burnout. If you notice a decrease in productivity, increased absenteeism and increased turnover, you have overworked engineers.

Underworked Support Engineers

During times of lower support demand, your engineers may be underworked, bored, and not fulfilled with their work. This can lead to disengaged employees, low morale and high turnover. That turnover can lead to decreased productivity, increased errors from less experienced employees filling the gap, and reduced customer satisfaction that can hinder your company from reaching its growth targets.

Poor Customer Experience

When demand is high, customers may have to wait longer for assistance. Customers don’t call unless there is an issue and the situations are most likely urgent and time-sensitive. Customers can’t achieve their goals without a timely resolution, leading to frustration, dissatisfaction and churn.

Geographical or Time Zone Disparities

For SaaS companies serving a global user base, where your staff is located matters. If your support engineers are concentrated in one area, they may be unable to cover all the time zones your company serves, resulting in poor international growth.

Complex Support Schedules

It can be difficult to plan and staff for fluctuating demand. On one hand, too few engineers during a spike in demand can lead to long wait times and frustrated customers, forcing engineers to work overtime to reduce the ticket backlog or leaving the backlog to grow during non-working hours. On the other hand, too many engineers during a lull can waste resources and budget. To compensate, support leaders often cut back available hours for engineers, which leaves customers under-supported and engineers frustrated due to reduced pay.

Inconsistent Support Quality

When customer service agents are overworked, they may become fatigued, leading to decreased performance and productivity. In contrast, when agents are underworked, they may feel disengaged and unfulfilled, resulting in a lack of motivation and decreased quality of service. Both situations can lead to inconsistencies in service, longer wait times, lower-quality responses and increased errors that can negatively impact the customer experience.

Outsource Your Support with ServiceRocket

Managing fluctuating support demand can be a significant challenge for any company. Whether it's due to a product launch, software update, seasonal usage peak, or system outage, it's essential to have a plan to handle these situations. 

You can avoid stress and mitigate potential issues by taking proactive steps, like partnering with ServiceRocket. ServiceRocket can provide timely assistance to your customers in a way that meets your support goals, all while adhering to your budget. With our help, you can drive retention and growth while ensuring your customers receive the support they need.

At ServiceRocket, we offer more than just tech support; we offer tech-enabled support, which aligns human talent, processes and tech resources to build smoother workflows that minimize friction. With ServiceRocket’s 20+ years of tech-enabled SaaS support experience, your customers get the best experience every time, guaranteed. #WeGotYourBack

Find out how ServiceRocket’s Tech-Enabled Support empowers fast growth.

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