A great customer experience can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. This is because on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs). Thus, a positive customer experience can compel a customer to come back for more — and as such, help to increase revenue.
In order to deliver a customer experience that differentiates your company from your competition you have to have the right technology, business processes and organizational structure to support and optimize your organization’s customer support capabilities.
This blog post will help customer service managers and small business owners decide what customer service software is right for your company according to insights pulled from a Forrester Report titled “Choose The Right Customer Service Solution For Your Business”. Here are five different approaches to choosing the right customer support solution:
1. Adapt or reuse an existing tool your company already owns.
Conduct an audit or due diligence of the capabilities of relevant tools your marketing and sales teams are using to determine whether the tool can scale, adapt to your team’s unique call center needs, and has the desired reporting and analytics functions needed for your customer service plans. It is possible that you already have access to technology that is valuable to customer service, such as social listening tools or enterprise feedback management solutions.
2. Outsource operations entirely (or partially).
There are various global, boutique and regional outsourcers that can offer your customer service department a competitive advantage depending on your particular needs – Do you need a solution that can easily scale up and down, adjusting to seasonal peaks? Do you need a provider with industry expertise that offers a differentiated customer experience? Is it important that the call center agents are located remotely to avoid natural disaster or power outage risks? Consider outsourcing as an option so long as you can align agent skill, business processes and technology infrastructure between the provider and your company.
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3. Use a suite solution.
This solution works best for organizations that need their customer support operations to scale up to many thousands, therefore require a tool that is deeply customizable and has solid integration capabilities. As the market grows, vendors are now building more tools and features off of their existing technologies to better serve the enterprise customer that wants an all-in-one solution with a single provider. Many of these CRM suite vendors are offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that are geared for rapid deployment cycles. This type of solution offers greater support to process flows, increases consistency, betters reproducibility and ensures compliance with company policy.
4. Specialty providers that deliver best-in-breed.
Depending on your needs, look for a provider that offers capabilities that strengthen key weaknesses in your current operations, or a standalone solution that can be integrated with your existing capabilities. Some businesses may fall short in a specific area and hence require a specialized tool that can provide consistent customer experiences across communication channels, empower agents and customers with knowledge management tools, or a tool that strengthens customer feedback management.
5. Build a tool from scratch.
If your company has business processes that are not perfectly supported with packaged applications, this route may be taken. Although this option may be more costly and time consuming, building your platform from the ground up allows for greater customizability to better address your customer support needs. If this path is taken, ensure that you use agile project management practices based on interactive and incremental development, invest in capabilities that will be competitive differentiators, and involve your end users from the beginning to truly deliver the unbeatable customer experience you’re looking for.