Companies need satisfied customers to enjoy long-term success. For this reason, a firm needs to properly equip their customer service teams with the right software. The software can provide a centralized workspace that teams can use to work together to ensure every customer issue receives an appropriate resolution.
Some firms attempt to manage customer service with a variety of disparate tactics that may include shared email inboxes, spreadsheets and manual notes. Such an approach often makes collaboration difficult and can lead to a loss of knowledge when employees leave the firm. So, the decision to buy customer service software makes sense.
When businesses begin shopping, how can they know what software will work for them? After all, no two businesses have identical needs. Similarly, no two software products are the same. Every software vendor touts different advantages while providing unique price structures. So, effectively comparing them may seem almost impossible.
A structured approach for the acquisition process can make an otherwise confusing process both simple and efficient. Business owners and managers can use the following steps to make sure they end up with the customer service software that best fits the needs of their company.
Ten Steps to Pick the Right Customer Service Software
- Define customer expectations.
- Describe the service the firm wants to provide.
- Ask what must change to deliver that level of service.
- Create lists.
- Identify options
- Assemble a team
- Test the customer experience
- Test the user experience
- Evaluate support
- Develop migration plan
The Top Ten Explained
Before taking any action, companies should make sure they understand their target market. They need to understand the challenges and desires of their customers so they can meet their needs and expectations. They should either survey or interview as many of their customers as possible to understand their past support experiences and what they expect in the future
In addition to knowing what their customers need and want, businesses should think about the type of support they want to provide. For example, they might insist on a certain timeframe for resolving all issues. Also, they may want to provide robust self-service options so customers can get on-demand support.
As businesses define what customer service should mean for them and their customers, they should analyze existing workflows. They need to identify what policies and procedures will have to change to achieve their goals.
After understanding what they want to accomplish, companies should start making lists. For starters, they should make a list of features their customer service software must have. Next, they should write down the features they would like to have if their budget could accommodate them. Finally, they should write down features to exclude from consideration. These lists should be continuously updated and accessible throughout the acquisition process.
After laying a solid foundation, companies can start identifying available options in the marketplace. Right away, they can exclude some products based on their lists. Meanwhile, they should keep a list of the applications that meet their initial criteria. Afterward, they should get other people involved to narrow their search.
Businesses should create a team that will work together to select the right customer service software that includes customer service agents and managers since they will use the software. By considering all relevant perspectives, companies can ensure they get a product that everyone will use.
The software evaluation process should begin with an assessment of the customer experience each software product provides. Customers are the most important part of any business, so companies can rule out any option that fails to make customer service options easy to understand and access.
Next, teams should try the software from an in-house perspective. They should assess the user interface as well the as reporting and analytics capabilities of each product. Companies should also consider how easily they can customize their software to meet their current and future needs.
Before making a final choice, businesses should thoroughly investigate the training and support services provided by the software vendor. Firms that have an in-house IT team may get by with a product that includes either limited or no support. If not, they should choose software that comes with enough support to ensure that teams can always quickly get the answers they need to avoid downtime.
When companies have chosen their customer service software, they should avoid the temptation to jump right in. Instead, they need to create a migration plan that lets them transfer existing data to your new platform. Also, they must allow enough time for training, so that team members can become productive as soon as the software goes live.
Companies should use the above steps to help them pick the right customer service software. During the process, they should expect to learn a lot about themselves and their customers. They may also discover new opportunities in the form of features and capabilities that will revolutionize the quality of the customer service that they provide.