Choosing the best customer service software (CSS) solution isn’t easy. One solution may have a low price but may not offer the features you need. Another can have everything you’re looking for but their pricing structure doesn’t work well with your budget. Or maybe you’re just overwhelmed by the number of choices and you don’t fully understand all the features and functionality. Whatever your situation, here’s some important information to consider when evaluating customer service software solutions…
There is no unanimous software decision-maker – Choosing a customer support software can be a major decision for a company that takes times and involves many different people. Outside consultants, operations management, and IT leadership are just some roles that can factor into a software choice. However, one key thing to be aware of is many purchasers of customer service software, 31% to be exact, come from the software and IT industries. This means the software is often held to a high standard because the professionals in these industries can tell almost instantly what is and isn’t a good piece of software. Think of it as witnessing a renowned chef frequenting a local restaurant – if they go there often, you know it’s probably good. Look at the popular solutions in the industry closely, especially if you’re a B2B (business-to-business) company where customer relationships are very important
Focus on your specific software needs – It’s easy to be swept up in features or functionality you don’t need because they look cool, especially with some of the higher priced customer service software solutions. This is where it’s important to prioritize what you really need. Maybe it’s a sophisticated ticketing technology, a modern live chat solution, or a SLA (service-level agreement) management feature. Or maybe all three of these! With this said, don’t forget to also evaluate all the capabilities of the software, especially if there’s a “premium” tier available. You may fall in love with a certain piece of software because it solves an urgent need, but there may be limited growth potential if it can't grow with you in the future.
Don’t hesitate to overshoot the total number of seats required – Recent research from an online technology reviews firm really emphasizes this point. As you can see above, there has been a significant drop in the amount of “smaller” (2-5 users) customer service software implementations but an increase across the board for larger user groups. This indicates people are making the jump to add more people to their software solution. Why? Customer service software is where conversations are happening. Many of the new users are people in non-traditional support departments (i.e. sales) who are looking to receive more information about customers so they can interact more efficiently. For example, no salesperson wants to waste time upselling an unhappy customer and thus they will look at company and contact records before reaching out. If you have extra user seats, you’ll likely find someone who wants access to your software sooner than later.
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SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solutions are now preferred – There are generally two types of software solutions – on-premise (hosted on one physical server) and SaaS (hosted on many servers online). Not only is it easier to change the amount of software users you have with a SaaS solution, but there are also other benefits to utilizing this modern technology. From lower implementation and maintenance costs to increased access and information security, there isn’t much to dislike about SaaS solutions. In fact, the amount of decision makers seeking only a SaaS customer service solution grew from 67% in 2014 to 98% in 2016. Barring some industry-specific regulations, SaaS solutions in the customer service industry are the new norm.
In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when evaluating customer service software solutions. If you gather the correct info internally, stay focused on your needs, and plan for growth you should have no issues finding a software that will improve collaboration and save time. If given a choice, SaaS solutions are becoming universally preferred by customer service professionals and are usually a better long-term option.