Companies use customer service software to more efficiently and effectively manage customer questions or complaints. Very often, the software is delivered as a SaaS product (web-based software as a service) and includes features, such as CRM (contact relationship management) and help desk/ticketing functionality, or more advanced features, such as Service Level Agreements, business rules and automated workflows.
Service interactions can originate from phone, email, online, face-to-face and social media. Online customer service and support solutions are used by organization all over the world to better manage these service interactions, but there are hundreds of available solutions and it may be challenging to identify the best software for your business needs. Here is a guide to help you select the best customer service software to differentiate your business.
Take Advantage of the Free Trial
Many popular software vendors offer a free trial. A free trial gives you the chance to test out the software functionality and performance as well as the benefits or disadvantages it may have.
Understand Your Business Needs
It’s important to understand that different types of businesses need different types of solutions. Before you select a customer service software, it’s important to understand what type of business you have. Here are some common business types:
- Field service: These purchasers provide service at their client’s location. This will usually require mobile access using a mobile app or responsive web design. Integration with other tools may also be important.
- Small businesses: Small businesses are looking for customer service and support software to help them build their customer relationships. This may include implementing basic CRM and trouble ticket tracking to build a better picture of their customers and service levels.
- High-volume call centers: Whether you are managing a single call center or many, computer telephony integration could be crucial in a software solution. Additionally, managing high-volume call center business processes may require automated workflows, scripts and business rules.
- Enterprise: Enterprise software needs usually include an integrated solution that can support all business units or departments within the business. Enterprise organizations usually have complex functional requirements and, therefore, they are looking for a robust, best in class software.
Customer Support is Crucial for Enterprise Organizations
One of the characteristics of large, successful companies is that they have managed to differentiate themselves with the level of customer service they are able to provide. Customer service software is key in developing customer relationships and creating a customer experience that makes the brand memorable by reinforcing conventional communication channels while also supporting emerging ones. It is important that connecting with customers is easy and that customers can connect with any device and from any location. Self-service can also be a valuable functionality to help manage the volume of requests to support teams, enabling them to better serve the customers who truly need assistance. Tracking NPS (Net Promoter Score) and data insights is also an effective tool in managing the customer relationships.
Customer Service Software Tools
The type of software you need will depend on the type of support you want to provide. Here are four basic types of software based on the support type:
- Preemptive Support Tools: This is a predictive tool that generates or collects information from other applications, databases, or log files. The information collected is used to predict or solve degraded system performance or service interruptions.
- Proactive Support Tools: This is an automated solution that enables 24/7 support and minimizes system downtime. Problems can be monitored and diagnosed without ever involving a support representative.
- Assisted (Live) Support Tools: This type of tool helps facilitate the diagnostic process between the customer and support personnel. A support representative can be given remote access to the customer’s server or software in order to diagnose or resolve the issue.
- Self Support Tools: This usually consists of an online library or knowledge base the customer can use to look up instructions, FAQs, or troubleshooting guidelines.
Must Have Customer Support Features
Most customer service and support software will include the following list of basic features:
- Multi-Channel Management: This manages customer interactions from multiple channels, such as email, phone, live chat, social media and mobile apps. Customer inquiries are received and routed to service representatives for assistance.
- Live Chat: Because of its immediacy, chatting online with a live service representative is a preferred form of communication for many customers. Chat requests and transcripts are recorded and stored in a ticketing system.
- Customer Self-Service: This usually includes a customer portal that customers can use to search FAQs, how-to articles and other documentation to help solve the issue themselves. If the answer cannot be found, the customer may then choose to submit a ticket or initiate a live chat.
- Knowledge Base: This can be either a public or internal use only repository of previous problems or known issues.
- Analytics and Reporting: This allows the business to report on and analyze customer satisfaction and other performance indicators, such as ticket volume, response times, or speed to resolution.
Latest Trends in Support
Keeping your customers satisfied is an important aspect of every business. That is why customer service software continues to develop innovative ways to help businesses achieve their performance objectives. Here are some recent trends:
- Consistency: Consistent service is now a business requirement. Businesses must standardize their processes for collecting and categorizing information in order to flesh out customer insights that can help the company find innovative solutions to problems.
- Customer Self Help: Self-service portals and knowledge bases are popular because it allows the customer to quickly resolve common issues, leaving support representatives free to assist with more complex problems that customers are not able to resolve themselves.
- Personalization: A personal touch to customer service goes a long with fostering good relationships with customers. Canned responses are no longer adequate in providing a superior support experience. Instead, an empathetic and personal response will help differentiate your service from your competition.
Although there are many benefits to providing customer support via an online SaaS product, there are a few things you should watch out for. Here are a few issues you may run into:
- Security: You may be handling sensitive or personal information and you are obligated to keep it secure. Customers may have concerns about the privacy and security of their information. You must ensure that you have the proper safeguards in place to ensure their information is properly handled and secure.
- Downtime: If your support system goes down, customers may lose confidence in your ability to support them. Some customers are already suspicious of online or automated support so it is important to choose a reputable software provider that has consistent system performance and minimal downtime.
- Flat Responses: Even if a portion of your support is automated, it is important that you can still provide a personal touch and make sure your customers feel heard and understood. Be sure that your online documentation or live interactions still feel personal.