The allure of switching software solutions is always so attractive. You have salespeople barraging your email, sometimes offering you gifts for a moment of your time and promising you the moon, all while treating you like you’re the most important company in the world. But, as we all know, switching software isn’t a sure thing. It’s important to evaluate all factors to understand the “risk vs. reward” component of these critical decisions. Making the right switch could result in a promotion and be a career defining moment, but the wrong switch (or not switching at all) may lead to to a demotion, department transfer, or even worse.
To get it right when it comes to switching customer support software solutions, here’s what you need to know...
Make sure to read the fine print – Some companies will try to impress you by highlighting a low price in a complicated pricing structure on their website. Make sure you read all the details before including that price in your analysis of vendors; sometimes prices are contingent on certain product packages and/or terms being present (such as a minimum number of user seats). Always reach out to a vendor for specific support software pricing and information to make sure prices displayed online are accurate and relevant to the product specified. Something else to keep in mind – a common trend with B2B software companies is that if their pricing is complicated other aspects of working with the company will likely be complicated as well. Simple and clear answers from the start is usually a good sign.
Ensure the new solution actually has what you need – After you discuss and evaluate your needs internally, understand why you truly want to switch. Common reasons for changing your help desk software include…
- Undesirable vendor/customer relationships
- Features not present in current software solution
- Poor customer support experiences
- Technology capabilities (or lack thereof)
- Failure to meet security and compliance needs
- Selected a B2C solution when business needs are B2B
Whatever your reason for switching may be, it’s important to make absolutely sure your new solution will address your needs. Don’t trust a blurb on a website, take the time to schedule a demo of the software and ask all of your important questions during this time. When offered, try out the new solution yourself – if customer service was a pain point in the past with your old solution, choose a software that lets you speak to customer support during your free trial period to see if the experience with the new solution is better.
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Make sure the software provider matches your company culture – This is a very important factor to consider when switching that many “billion dollar” software providers often try to pass off as being trivial. While choosing software from a large company has its benefits, there are also drawbacks. Most customers will be merely a number and a drop in the bucket from a revenue perspective with these providers, making it more difficult to push a feature request you really need across the finish line and into production. They also tend to have more "distracted" support teams who may not be able to provide the level of customer service you need.
If time permits, attempt to have employees at multiple levels of the business connect with people at the new solution. Remember, this is software your employees will use every day and a conversation between CEOs may certainly be relevant to make sure your two companies are on same page culturally. If a potential provider doesn’t have the time for an executive meeting when you’re evaluating them, there’s a good chance they won’t be interested in doing this when you’re a customer either. Choose a vendor that will improve your company culture, not clash with it.
Make sure you have the resources to support a switch – Even if the new solution proposes to give you the “white glove” service and do everything for you around switching your software, this isn’t always the best idea. A company that doesn’t get involved at all in the transition process can experience problems once it’s actually time to use the software. This can lead to confusion after the switch has been completed, which in turn results in slower ticket response times and frustrated customers as well as agents. When undergoing a switch, make sure you have a key person to lead the process internally and make a plan for changing providers. This person can be there alongside the new solution provider to learn as changes are made and can lead training processes with customer support software users to get all agents up to speed quickly.
It’s also important to allot time to iron out any kinks that may pop up during the switch. Attempting a switch during a low ticket volume time, such as Saturday evening, is ideal to provide breathing room for switching providers. Make sure not only tickets and users, but also self-service support offerings including knowledge base articles, wikis, and forums made the transition successfully. If possible, look into the availability of on-site assistance with your new solution for the final steps of the switch, especially if you are switching software in a non-technical industry.
In conclusion, switching customer support software solutions isn’t always as easy as some people make it out to be. Read the fine print, in particular on pricing, and do your homework to select a solution that aligns with your company culture. Finding software to meet your needs is obviously important, but so is making sure the transition between software solutions is smooth and doesn’t impact your customers and their satisfaction with your business. Switching software, when done properly, can completely elevate and revitalize a customer support operation.