You’ve finally decided on implementing customer service software. You go out into the market, and there are hundreds of suppliers. All of them look like the best option for you. And now you’re confused.
While they may seem like the best fit, they are not. There’s no one-size-fits-all, and choosing the wrong customer service software can lead to severe consequences ranging from:
- Wasted time and resources
- Inefficiency, low productivity, and morale
- Damaged brand reputation and customer relationships
- Frustrated customers and lost revenue
The bottom line is that choosing the wrong customer service software can have far-reaching implications for your business.
Whether you’re a small business just getting started with customer support software or a large enterprise looking to upgrade your existing system, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision and choose the best customer service software for your business.
Flying blind without a customer service software
What’s the alternative to managing customer service without the software? Doing it manually.
When it comes to managing customer support manually, it can be likened to trying to navigate through a dense forest with no map or compass. The path is unclear, and obstacles are everywhere, which can be quite frustrating and time-consuming.
As your business grows, the number of support queries grows as well. Imagine managing all those queries manually—without assistance—pure chaos.
And that’s challenge number one of not using customer service software.
- A high volume of customer queries can lead to a backlog of unresolved issues
- Inconsistencies in responses from different team members can cause confusion and frustration for customers
- The lack of a unified system for tracking customer interactions can result in errors and delays in response times
On the other hand, adopting customer service software can make all the difference. It’s like having a well-maintained GPS that guides you seamlessly through the forest.
With the right software, you can automate repetitive tasks, streamline communication channels, and manage customer queries efficiently.
With customer service software, you’ll get:
- Automated tasks and streamlined communication channels can make support management more efficient
- Tracking customer interactions across multiple channels can provide valuable data for identifying trends and pain points
- Personalized support through the use of customer data can improve customer satisfaction and retention
What To Consider When Choosing A Customer Support Software
The process of choosing a customer support software starts with considering the options. It’s the teeny tiny steps you take to get a taste of what you need, can have and would get at the end of the process. Here’s the steps you will take in consideration of choosing a customer support software.
Step 1: Problem identification
You get medicine only after you’re aware of a disease that needs to be treated. Similarly, before choosing customer support software, you should identify the problems you’re trying to solve.
To start the process, take a step back and assess your current customer service process. Are there any pain points that your team is experiencing? Are your customers facing any challenges when interacting with your support team?
One way to identify these areas for improvement is to analyze customer feedback. Look for recurring themes in customer complaints or suggestions.
- Are customers often complaining about long wait times or unclear responses?
- Are they suggesting you add more support channels, such as live chat or social media?
You can also gather feedback from your support team. Ask them about their biggest challenges and frustrations when dealing with customer queries.
- Are they spending too much time on repetitive tasks?
- Do they feel overwhelmed by the volume of customer queries?
Once you’ve identified the pain points in your customer service process, you can prepare a list of things you need in your customer service software to solve these problems.
Step 2: Define use case
After identifying the pain points in your customer service process, the next step in choosing the best customer service software is to define your use case. This involves establishing specific goals for the software and prioritizing the most crucial features.
When defining your use case for customer service software, start by outlining your specific goals. Your goals could be:
- Reduce response times
- Increase the net promoter scores
- Improve team productivity
- Create smooth workflows
Based on your use case, you choose your software. For example, to reduce response times, look for software with automated workflows and canned responses. To improve team productivity, prioritize software that offers a unified inbox for all customer interactions and streamlined communication channels.
Step 3: Define pricing and seats required
Yes, your customer service software is an investment, but you don’t want to spend too much on it. You need to factor in the cost of the software, implementation, training, and ongoing support to determine how much you can afford to invest.
When calculating the budget for the software, consider the ROI (Return on Investment). Think about how much money you could save by streamlining your support process, reducing response times, and improving customer satisfaction. These savings could offset the cost of the software, making it a worthwhile investment.
You also need to know how many support agents will use the software simultaneously to ensure everyone can access the necessary features.
When determining the number of licenses required, consider the size of your team and the growth potential. If you plan to hire more support agents in the future, it’s better to purchase a plan that includes additional licenses upfront to avoid additional expenses later.
Step 4: Decide Which Type of Software to Go For
Thanks to all the advancements, different types of customer service software are available in the market. And amongst all the types you have to choose yours.
You should compare the various types based on the software’s features and your specific needs.
To determine which type of software is best suited for your needs, consider the following:
- The size of your team and the volume of customer support requests
- The channels your customers use to reach out to you
- The level of self-service you want to provide to customers
- The level of automation you want to achieve in your support process
- Your budget for customer service software
For example, a helpdesk or shared inbox software may be the best fit if you have a small team with a low volume of support requests. On the other hand, if you have a larger team and receive support requests across multiple channels, contact centre software may be more appropriate.
Some of the most popular types of customer service software are:
- Helpdesk Software: Helpdesk software is designed to manage and track customer support tickets.
- Shared Inbox Software: Shared inbox software is similar to helpdesk software but more focused on managing email communication.
- Knowledge Base Software: Knowledge Base software provides a self-service option for customers to find answers to their questions.
- Chatbot Software: Chatbot software uses artificial intelligence to automate responses to customer queries.
Step 5: Decide your Evaluation Criteria
Once you are done with all the above steps, the next step in the consideration process is deciding the evaluation criteria.
You don’t have to overcomplicate your criteria using too many levels or filters. A simple way to evaluate the various customer service software options available is to prepare two lists.
- A list of must-have features that directly address the pain points you identified in step one of your consideration process
- A list of nice-to-have features that would improve the customer experience or streamline your team’s workflow
Prioritize the must-have features that directly address your most significant challenges and frustrations.
It’s also essential to consider your budget when deciding on your evaluation criteria. Determine which features are worth investing in and which ones you can compromise. Remember, more expensive doesn’t always mean better. You may find a software solution that meets all your must-have criteria without breaking the bank.
The Final Few Steps
We’re past the consideration process; there are only a few steps before you have your customer service software. Here are the final steps to be followed:
01. Select your vendor
Since customer service software is essential to your business, selecting the right software supplier can make all the difference.
Researching the suppliers in the market starts with looking at the must-have and nice-to-have lists you’ve prepared in the previous steps. Look at these lists and prepare a list of potential suppliers out of the huge pool of suppliers.
Once you’ve found a few potential suppliers, it’s time to compare options based on your evaluation criteria. When comparing suppliers, it’s essential to ask the right questions.
- What features do they offer?
- How easy is it to set up and use?
- What kind of customer support do they provide?
- Do they offer customization to suit your needs?
You want to ensure you compare apples to apples and not just look at the price tag.
Now it’s time to get perspective, aka validation from other people. These people will be your suppliers and employees and will check the reviews.
Just like you’d take a test drive before buying a car, you should be asking for trials and demos for your potential customer service software. Getting a demo of your top choices will allow you to see the software in action and test out its features and functionality.
It’s important to ensure that the demo or trial is comprehensive enough to give you a good understanding of how the software works and how it can benefit your business.
Once the testing is over, you should collect internal feedback. This feedback can be collected from the following:
- Customer service representatives
- Other stakeholders
Basically, people will be using the software regularly.
Be specific when asking questions to these people. The questions must be related to how the software has improved the workflow, the ease of use, and any challenges or issues they’ve encountered.
For the final validation, google the reviews for the top choices. This can give you a broader perspective on the software’s strengths and weaknesses and any common issues or complaints that other users have experienced.
03. Create a consensus
Creating consensus involves engaging stakeholders in decision-making and working together to agree on the final software choice.
Engaging stakeholders in the decision-making process is essential because different teams and individuals within your organization may have different customer service software needs and priorities.
For example, customer service representatives may prioritize ease of use and functionality, while IT professionals may prioritize security and compatibility with existing systems. Involving all relevant stakeholders ensures that everyone’s needs and concerns are heard and addressed.
Methods for engaging stakeholders are:
- Hold meetings or presentations to share your research and findings on the top customer service software options
- Provide access to demos or trials of the software to allow stakeholders to test out the options for themselves and provide feedback
04. Close the Deal and Onboard the Team
Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect customer service software for your business! The final step in the process is to close the deal and onboard your team.
- Finalizing the purchase
- Signing agreements
- Developing a training and onboarding plan
Once the purchase is finalized, it’s time to start preparing your team for the transition. Developing a training and onboarding plan is essential to ensure your team is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to use the new software effectively.
This may involve creating training materials, scheduling training sessions, and assigning mentors or coaches to help team members navigate the new system.
There may be some initial challenges or hiccups as team members adjust to the new software, so it’s essential to provide ongoing support and feedback to help them navigate any issues.
By being proactive and responsive to your team’s needs, you can ensure a successful transition to the new customer service software and set your business up for long-term success.
To sum it all up
We’re at the point where customer service software has become an indispensable tool for modern businesses looking to enhance customer satisfaction and streamline their support operations.
With the right software, companies can not only improve the efficiency and consistency of their customer service but also empower their agents to provide personalized and practical support at scale.
Whether you’re looking to automate repetitive tasks, centralize customer information, or provide multi-channel support, a software solution exists to meet your needs.
You’ve read the entire piece and you’re aware of how customer service is becoming a competitive advantage. So, now, think about where you stand in this market? If what you imagined is not the place you want to be, customer service software is the key to bridging this gap. Try Helpwise, perfect for SMBs to support their customer in an omnichannel manner.
Check out these top 10 omnichannel customer service platforms.