Why SaaS and Low-Code Need AI for Helpful Technical Support

 I use many SaaS tools, data, and automations to run different parts of StarCIO’s business. It’s a very technical and efficient operation, and it was all developed using no-code technologies.

If you’d like an example, watch my Driving Digital Standup video on How to Build Apps, Databases, and Integrations with Low-Code / No-Code Platforms. In the video, I demonstrated using Quickbase to manage a database of all my articles, feeding it with new content via RSS feeds using Zapier, and updating a Tableau dataviz of all my writing.

Why SaaS and Low-Code Need AI for Helpful Technical Support

Developing the Digital Trailblazer Community V2.0

This month, I embarked on a new mission and am creating v2.0 of the Digital Trailblazer Community. I launched the first version of the community after publishing my second book, Digital Trailblazer, two years ago.

Digital Trailblazer Community

The community gets access to exclusive content, including the StarCIO Vision Statement Template, a Digital Trailblazer Career Checklist, and supplemental reading and videos around the book’s chapters.  

The 1.0 site lacked community functionality, which I am addressing in v2.0. My inspiration for the community features stems from the successful launch of the Coffee With Digital Trailblazers event, which I host on Fridays at 11am ET.

The good, bad, and ugly of technical support in SaaS

Along this journey, I am working with a team to build the community site using several new SaaS platforms and other low-code tools we already use. Needless to say, we run into some questions and issues with getting the SaaS and no-code tools to do what we want.

Now, I have a background in software development and am a quick learner of low-code and SaaS tools, so I usually find the answers or workarounds when my team and I hit snags. I’m willing to compromise on requirements, UX, and capabilities to stay “in the box” of a platform’s capabilities and strengths.

But when I get stuck, I’m not shy about seeking the SaaS and low-code platform’s help functions or opening support tickets. Therein, I saw a wide disparity in how well – or not well – these SaaS and no-code platforms provide technical support. 

Here’s a summary of how I rate the customer support experience.

  • The good that can be improved (8) – The platform I was on recognized that I needed technical support’s assistance to make a configuration change, and the platform proactively alerted me on the dashboard. Technical support responded right away to my chatbot message and walked me through the steps. While this addressed my issue, this was clearly a problem that the platform could have automated a solution or provided guided steps to resolve on my own.   
  • The good (7) – Support quickly realized I was an advanced user and stumbling on an issue that was likely a defect. First-level support escalated the ticket, and we’ve been through several cycles of collaborating on the root cause. I labeled this as ‘good’ even though the issue isn’t resolved yet.
  • Needs Improvement (6) – Technical support sent basic documentation around the issue I escalated with a request for more information. I sent screenshots of the issue and didn’t hear back from technical support for 2+ days. They then came back with an explanation of what I would describe as a serious UX issue. 
  • Needs Improvement (4) – The platform forwarded my question to a sales team member. I haven’t heard back from the sales rep in 2+ days.
  • The Ugly (2) – Technical Support repetitively sent me responses that the issue I was raising was in how I was trying to use their product when the problem was several compounding usability issues. I received the same message after escalating the issue. Eventually, my issue reached the dev team, and we received a similar “working as designed” message. I dropped using this tool.

The numbers in parenthesis indicate my satisfaction rating on a 1-10 scale. My scores mean none of these platforms would receive satisfactory net promoter scores (NPS), and one would label me a detractor.

Better AI can improve technical support in SaaS 

The low quality of these interactions surprised me because all but one are well-established platforms used by tens of thousands of users. The results disappointed me, and I looked for answers on how SaaS and no-code platforms can improve their technical support.

AI in CX Benchmark Report 2024

I found one answer in the recently published AI in CX Benchmark Report 2024. Respondents in the software industry stated that 90% of their customers’ interactions with their company, products, or services surpassed their specified satisfaction goals. Software industry respondents achieved a 23% deflection rate, and the percentage of customer support requests was resolved through self-service channels such as knowledge bases, tutorials, chatbots, communities, and portals.

My experience was nowhere near these benchmarks, and the survey provides a potential clue: 81% of all survey respondents use AI in their customer support, and 21% of those who aren’t using AI reported lower deflection rates over the past year.

I leveraged AI through chatbots and knowledge bases in at least two of the SaaS/low-code technical support interactions. Both helped resolve several other questions and issues that came up in our development process.

How SaaS and Low-Code can use AI to improve technical support

Here’s my recommendation for SaaS and low-code tools to improve their technical support using AI:

  • Chatbots are generally weak solutions unless backed by an LLM, and they have quick escalations to technical support teams when automation doesn’t quickly resolve issues.
  • Ensure knowledge bases SEOs well to make finding and resolving questions easier, especially now that Google Search has embedded genAI answers.
  • Leverage personas to help provide smarter answers. Segment prospects from new and experienced customers, identify technical proficiency, and recognize when VIP buyers or social media influencers open tickets.

A SaaS and low-code platform’s technical support functions should be a point of differentiation and high customer satisfaction – not frustration.  

Isaac Sacolick
Join us for a future session of Coffee with Digital Trailblazers, where we discuss topics for aspiring transformation leaders. If you enjoy my thought leadership, please sign up for the Driving Digital Newsletter and read all about my transformation stories in Digital Trailblazer.

Coffee with Digital Trailblazers hosted by Isaac Sacolick Digital Trailblazers! Join us Fridays at 11am ET for a live audio discussion on digital transformation topics:  innovation, product management, agile, DevOps, data governance, and more!

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld, CIO.com, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.