Before partnering with any type of software provider to facilitate their business, wise decision-makers take the time to ensure the product fits well with their mission, purpose and offering. Businesses must be certain their support platforms are fully integrated into their software or services, because doing so is a means to providing cohesive and positive customer service. Additionally, leveraging customer support software that adequately fits your business needs is extremely important for achieving operational efficiency.
Integration drives the customer experience
Any company that hopes to offer an exceptional product in the business-to-business (B2B) space must first prioritize the customer experience. To emphasize the importance of this topic, customer service is considered one of the key qualities clients consider when choosing a partner to work with. In fact, research conducted by Walker found that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Based on existing customer expectations, creating a positive customer experience is extremely important for modern businesses who hope to retain their clients and sustain long-term growth.
The impact on operational efficiencies
Companies cannot improve the way clients experience their products if their help desk software cannot be easily integrated with other services and business tools they employ. For instance, companies that rely heavily on email should leverage an online help desk that blends well with their email platform, and companies that conduct frequent surveys or utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) platform should be able to easily integrate these systems into their support software. A software company should partner with a customer service tool that integrates with developer tools such as Jira and Beanstalk. Moreover it is especially important that software companies utilize a help desk application that can be integrated with their proprietary systems and customized as necessary. The right customer service software will fit the needs and structure of any particular business by enabling those clients to integrate with other applications that are essential to their business.
Beyond the customer experience, businesses need adaptable customer support software that will enable them to conduct their operations with ease. For example, hotel software provider MSI needed help desk software that would allow the company to associate specific ticketing issues with the individual hotels it serves. Choosing a B2C support solution that did not provide this option was not feasible, because it simply would not have aligned with the companies purpose and mission, nor would it support their business processes. Additionally, an article in KM World noted the company wanted customer support software that could be easily integrated with its marketing tools, HubSpot and Salesforce. Not only did the client need flexible software to provide strong customer service, this tool was crucial to the operations of both MSI and the hotels it services, and bolsters the company's long-term marketing efforts.
Businesses must focus on customer service tools that align with their operational processes. Better yet, a strong help desk solution will actually enhance those processes and make them run more smoothly. Customer support is an essential component of any product or offering, so business leaders must intertwine this aspect of the customer experience into every feature of their business. As the walker report noted, companies must "emphasize proactive and personalized customer support to effectively grow and retain customers."
B2B vs B2C: A crucial differentiator
B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) companies are inherently different, so it follows that the software they use to provide customer support will also be different. At a high level, these key differences include:
- Companies operating in the B2B space typically engage with larger clients than B2C companies that focus on the individual.
- B2B providers typically interact with more primary contacts than their counterparts in B2C, where interactions are most often one agent to one consumer.
- B2B customer service teams work with clients throughout sustained relationships, so there is more familiarity.
- B2B customer support teams usually receive more complex issues that require knowledge of technology, software and business operations.
- As a result of this complexity, B2B customer service teams must collaborate to solve problems faster and more efficiently.
The bottom line is that your help desk software should fit your business. B2C customer support software is not a good fit for companies operating in the B2B space, and vice versa. Call centers should use call center software, just as internal IT should use ITSM software. While a small B2C retail provider can use a basic ticketing system to address customer inquiries this approach simply won't work for businesses servicing a large set of clients and helping them solve complex issues. Similarly, while external knowledge bases and customer distress indexes are integral to a strong customer support strategy within B2B, these features aren't as important to B2C providers.
When selecting a help desk software provider, decision makers must focus on choosing a partner whose offerings fit their business. Companies that want to offer seamless experiences to their clients in both customer service and operations should invest in a customer support tool that has robust integration capabilities. Effective help desk software will accommodate growth, integrate with a company's most important systems, and enhance the customer experience as much as possible.