In this article:
- Why you need customer service software
- How to choose the best Customer Service Software
Questions to ask before choosing Customer Service Software:
- Which channels do you want to use?
- Does the tool help support your business goals?
- What kind of insights would you like?
- Which systems and software should your tool be integrated with?
- What does your customer service team value most in a tool?
- What do you need to easily work together?
- Does your tool allow you to innovate and scale?
- How secure is your tool?
- How stable is your tool?
- Do you need support?
Why you need customer service software
Customer service software offers several benefits. Consumers expect fast responses to their customer service inquiries, Sharpen notes that two-thirds of people hang up if they are left on hold for more than two minutes. Jeff Toister reports, 88% of consumers expect a response from a business within 60 minutes.
Despite customers’ expectations, SuperOffice found that the average response time to customer queries is 12 hours. You can remedy this with customer service software, and automation possibilities such as voicebots or chatbots, providing 24/7 availability and close to immediate answers to customer questions.
At CM.com, we believe in letting your customers interact with you in the same way they do with friends and family, on their channel of choice — whether that’s Facebook Messenger, voice notes, email, phone calls, text, or WhatsApp. Customer Service Software that facilitates an omnichannel approach boosts customer satisfaction and retention when used to deliver great customer experience.
The right software can also enhance the efficiency of your entire customer service approach. When you oversee your customer conversations with the help of centralized software, you can easily monitor and manage your conversations to ensure quality and efficiency.
Moreover, by automating many elements of your customer service initiatives — such as with the assistance of chatbots, you reduce the backlog of menial, dull tasks for your customer service reps. This is both efficient and cost-effective, as you require less manpower to respond to a high volume of frontline support tasks. Customer service software makes it easy to respond quickly and efficiently to a high volume of inquiries across every channel.
Now you know the benefits of investing in customer service software, it’s time to figure out how to choose the right one for your needs.
How to choose the best customer service software
When weighing up customer service solutions, here are the top things to consider.
Which features do you need to best meet the support needs of your customers and your team? Many solutions offer similar capabilities — choose a solution that has the features you’ll actually use.
2. Implementation & training
How easy will it be to implement your tool of choice? How much training does your team require?
3. How well your tool aligns with your business goals
How does the software in front of you match your business goals? Will it help you hit and exceed your KPIs?
Let’s break down these elements further. Here are the top questions you need to ask.
Which channels do you want to use?
Which channels do you and your customers use most frequently? Here are some of the best channels to consider:
- Phone calls
The phone is still the preferred channel for most customers. For complex customer issues, phone calls are ideal. However, phone calls can be stressful and time-consuming for customer service reps and demand a larger team of qualified customer service professionals.
Rely heavily on calls? Go for software that supports call routing — ensuring each call is routed to the right customer service rep. In addition, interactive voice response technology can also be used to route calls and address basic requests. With Conversational IVR, you can create a voicebot to (partially) automate phone calls.
- Live Chat
Live chat can take place via a website or social media websites, like Facebook. Live chat helps deliver the immediacy that many customers are looking for. Interestingly, live chat can also be directly tied to revenue: research shows that consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides live chat support. Customers prefer talking to a live agent.
62% of people say they have a preference for email support. In contrast to real-time customer support, emails can give your reps time to think over their responses and compose an email that best addresses the customer’s needs.
Moreover, it’s also a helpful medium for delivering written instructions that your customers can refer back to. To boost organization among your customer service team, consider tools that facilitate email automation and a shared, centralized inbox.
- Social Media & Instant Messaging Channels
During the COVID-19 pandemic, 36% of Millennials stepped up their use of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger. Just 19% of older customers did the same. When choosing your software, make sure it focuses on the channels your customers use most.
Preferred channels may vary per market or generation. To make your customer service optimally available and agile for delivering omnichannel service, make sure your customer service solution allows multiple channels so you don’t have to limit yourself.
With the enormous usage numbers of Whatsapp, it is inevitable to use this channel for customer service. In other cases, you will combine or add IM channels like Apple Messages for Business or Viber to serve your customers.
To increase efficiency, choose a solution that offers an omnichannel inbox, where you can respond easily to conversations across channels.
- Video calls
Video adds the human touch to digital conversations. Especially Gen Z, even referred to as the "TikTok generation", uses video daily. Not only for entertainment but also to communicate. Another benefit of video calling is screen sharing - making it ideal for talking customers through more complicated problems, or demonstrating how to use an online portal or SaaS solution.
Find a solution offering visual communication possibilities, such as video calling, screen sharing, or co-browsing. Within live chat widgets, it's oftentimes possible to co-browse and help the user navigate through your website.
As you can see, different channels provide different benefits. In addition, several software solutions encompass several of the above channels — reflecting the omnichannel experience of most customers in 2021.
The most important thing? Make sure you know which channels your customers like to use. B2B and B2C customers will likely have different preferences, as will Boomers and Millennials. Reflect on which channels your customers use most and undertake customer research to find out if there are any gaps in your customer service delivery.
Does the tool help support your business goals?
The right customer service software should help you reach your business goals. As such, customer service tools should always be reviewed to see if they are powerful and dynamic enough to support your workflows to help meet your current and future KPIs.
Also focus on software that complements the KPIs you set for your customer service team such as tools that help promote fast response times, boost customer retention, and improve your customer satisfaction rates. For example, if you want to improve your response times, utilize tools that provide automated responses, such as chatbots, with the ability to connect customers to customer service representatives for assistance with more complex issues.
What kind of insights would you like?
The most valuable customer service solutions are the ones that offer actionable quantitative and qualitative insights into your customers.
The best software will have built-in reporting features that enable you to easily monitor and organize the KPIs that matter most to your business. For example, tools that utilize AI can monitor customer service transcripts and easily identify common themes in customer service requests.
Top of the list for many companies will be performance and monitoring. Look for tools that help you measure average response times, resolution rates, retention rates, cross-sales, and customer satisfaction rates. Your choice of software will also depend on the channels you use. For example, if most of your customer service interactions take place on the phones, then you may like to opt for software that records calls for monitoring and training purposes.
Seek to pair quantitative data collection with qualitative data collection for an in-depth view of how your customer service team is performing.
Which systems and software should your tool be integrated with?
Many customer service tools directly integrate with other software. Want to pull data from your email database or boost your customer service team's performance with the help of an organizational tool? Go for software that offers the integrations your team will benefit from most.
In addition, you should also reflect on how the tool you choose can be integrated with your central customer database to improve customer service delivery and deepen your understanding of your customers.
Customer Data Platforms are invaluable for overcoming data silos and helping you understand your customers in greater depth. CDPs pool and organize customer data from a variety of channels. They unify your data to create 360° customer profiles that can be used to quickly retrieve relevant customer data during live conversations and drive better customer service by fostering an in-depth understanding of every customer.
What does your customer service team value most in a tool?
As different tools have different benefits and drawbacks, it’s important to know what your team and customers value the most. Customers are looking for knowledgeable service, easy payment processes, and convenience. Most importantly, the best customer service experiences rely on a reliable, helpful, and friendly team that can deliver the one-to-one experience that customers crave.
Ask your team which features and capabilities will make their job easier. Platforms that foster automation? Tools that are easy to use and don’t require extensive training and upkeep? Tools that help reps quickly find the data or features they’re looking for? From a high volume of support requests to issues handing multi-channel queries, every team’s challenges are unique.
What do you need to easily work together?
Which tools will improve your internal workflows and make it easy for your team to work together? Look for tools that make your work easier and won't complicate processes.
Collaboration features are necessary to efficiently work together, both internally and externally. Imagine you have one conversation view, where you talk with your customer, but you can also quickly chat with a colleague or forward the conversation to a supplier via e-mail - all within one view.
Does your tool allow you to innovate and scale?
The best solutions can also help you scale your services in an innovative cost-efficient way. Go for an innovative, future-proof solution, that is dynamic and can adapt to any future changes that take place within your company.
In addition, also go for a solution that’s easy to manage and maintain in the face of a high volume of customer support requests, so you can continue to grow and best serve your customers.
How secure is your tool?
The software you choose has to be safe to use, both for your company and your customer. As such, it is important to invest in a secure tool that can demonstrate GDPR compliance and boasts ISO certification. Boost your customers’ confidence by informing them of the steps your company takes to protect their data and keep conversations secure.
How stable is your tool?
Security also ties closely into stability. You need to ensure any tool you use can be relied upon – no matter the volume of customer inquiries or how long you have been using it. Before purchasing, ask for details and evidence of a software’s ability to function under a heavy load, across different challenging circumstances.
Do you need support?
Looking for a solution that comes with expert implementation and team training? While you may have a capable in-house tech team to implement your software and train your reps, more complex tools may demand higher-level technical skills from specialist providers. Besides, these specialists might have tips to make it easier & faster.
When choosing your software, check to see if vendors also offer assistance with implementation and training. CM.com provides support to help you implement any solution of the CM.com platform.
Choosing the right customer service software for your team
As a recap, here are the key things to look out for when reviewing a customer service solution:
- Its support for the channels your customers prefer
- Whether it supports your business goals
- Its ability to provide your team with the best insights
- Its ability to support the needs of your customers and your customer service team
- If it enables your team to work well together and communicate efficiently
- Whether it promotes innovation and scalability
- The security features of the tool
- The stability of the software
- Whether you can access support with implementation and training
To find the best tool for the job, use this list to help you brainstorm, read online testimonials, ask for referrals, and request demos from each provider.
Paradoxically, the right customer service software will help your customer service reps deliver personalized, human-to-human support. As such, you’re not looking for a tool to do the job of your reps — but the best tool to support your reps in what they do.