Your customers are the core of your business, and providing excellent customer service is what every successful business owner strives for — but it doesn't happen by accident. Great customer service requires attention and investment, which is why it's often a good idea to invest in reputable customer service software that can make your (and your staff's!) life much easier.
In a time where empowered consumers know they have a lot of options, great customer service is what keeps people talking (in a good way) and coming back for more. But, on the flip side, when consumers encounter bad customer service, it takes an awful lot to win them back — if you ever can. (That's a big miss, especially when you consider that it's more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one — and research from Harvard Business School shows that even a 5 percent increase in customer retention can lead to an increase in profits somewhere between 25 and 95 percent.)
Today's consumer has access to more information — and options — than ever, and they're typically expecting a personalized shopping experience where they feel important. If your brand fails to deliver that experience, you risk negative reviews and unfavorable word-of-mouth advertising. But there are investments you can make to help up your service game, retain the valuable customers you have, and give you an edge over your competitors.
What is Customer Service Software?
Simply put, customer service software is a program used within a company that has tools to track, organize and report customer queries and employee requests. It's the motherboard, if you will, that stores the important details of the customer journey — helping to make daily tasks faster and more efficient while still letting you deliver a personalized customer experience.
With the popularity of businesses embracing customer service via non-traditional means, it's a great way to manage various communication channels, including email, chat, and other self-service means. That's a lot of channels where you have to deliver a great customer experience — so it's valuable to have one central place shared between multiple employees where everyone can see each other's input and stay on the same page.
How Is Customer Service Software Beneficial?
Using customer service software helps provide a better customer experience — more efficiently. Here's how:
These programs help save time on mundane, repetitive tasks that are otherwise done manually. You can set reminders and create auto-replies. Customers will appreciate that it speeds up the communication process for questions and complaints.
Customer service software provides the right tools for employees to coordinate and streamline workflows. This enables them to track communications, reduce duplicated work, and collaborate on solutions. Providing a seamless experience will save a lot of headaches for consumers.
Provide Customer Insights
The software can be used to pinpoint specific issues, collect data, and organize requests so you can make the necessary improvements to better your business. This is a great way to be proactive and locate customers who might have a future issue before realizing they have one.
Analyze Your Performance
You can use the analytics feature to see if there are trends in support cases. This allows you to see changes in support volume and how well your teams work together. Researching these trends can help you perfect your product or service.
It can allow you to grow and scale as necessary without losing the individualized customer service your customers expect. When you provide the same consistent customer service as your business grows, you will maintain customer loyalty, and your customers will be happy to know they were a part of your success.
It's certainly possible to provide good customer service without using specialized software, but it will make life a lot less stressful when you decide to get on board. Many startups do just fine for a while, but customer service software will be essential if you plan to grow.
When you put it in the context of using a washing machine or hand washing clothes, it makes sense: we all have more important things to do than wash our clothes in the sink and hang them to dry, right?
What Types of Customer Service Software Are There?
There are various customer service platforms to meet different business needs, but we'll break it down into three main categories to keep it simple.
Service Desk Software
This type of software is your classic ticketing system and help desk that allows you to notate and track support tickets. This system will make it easier for your business to monitor requests and resolve issues throughout several customer interactions.
Communication software can cover several customer service channels such as shared email platforms, messaging and chat systems, and of course, phone support. Live chat has become widely popular and helps reduce the number of calls or emails that come in. Some of these software companies may provide support for one or all of the means mentioned.
A knowledge base can take form in a customer portal, community forum, or any platform that allows users to self-serve their support issues. It's a place customers can look up answers to questions, read manuals or other documents about your business. Many consumers appreciate this hands-on approach that allows them to find what they need on their own time.
Before selecting a software program, it's a good idea to do a walk-through and evaluate the features and confirm it's user-friendly for you. You may not need all the features at first, or your needs may change over time, so it's important to be flexible but stick with what works for you.
Common Features In Customer Service Software
Here are the different types of features you can find in various support software:
- Collecting features is the first mode of communication for users. It helps you collect data from different sources such as contact forms, support email inboxes, telephone calls, or messaging systems.
- Organizing features allow you to structure incoming support requests so the customer service staff can manage them appropriately. This will include manual or automatic workflows, folders, and tags to label interactions.
- Collaboration features make it possible for multiple people to provide input for incoming support tickets. For example, teams can take notes, assign tasks, or mention someone relevant to the issue.
- Integration features allow the software to work with other systems to condense data and reduce steps to find the necessary information. This offers a smooth interchange between ecommerce platforms, social tools, and other internal systems.
- Response features cover all the ways you're able to reply to consumer questions. That includes text editors for messaging, chats, emails, and knowledge base systems that publish helpful documents.
- Reporting features is a way to locate pain points in your business and analyze stats like response time, customer satisfaction, common requests, incoming volume, and so on.
Some of these features may not be necessary for your business, but it's smart to be aware of what's available because when you know what you can have, you can make a well-informed decision of which software will work best for your needs and budget.
How Do I Choose Which Customer Service Software Is Best For My Business?
Start by assessing your current customer service process and where your business is headed in the next five years. Things to consider include the size of your team, how much collaboration needs to take place, your budget, and how much hand-holding you plan to do for customers.
Make a list of the most important features you'll need and start to narrow down your options. Then, begin to delve deeper into your favorites and schedule a demo to see how you feel about the setup.
Other important aspects include how easy the software will be to implement. Most business owners can't afford to halt everything while they overhaul their current system. If you see significant growth in the near future, make sure you're able to scale accordingly.
Finally, an ideal customer service provider will customize for your needs to handle complex issues and offer apps and integrations for further enhancement.
Investing in customer service software will make a big difference in day-to-day activities that can waste valuable time. Your staff will thank you as they feel more connected, capable, and efficient when utilizing the tools needed to provide the best customer service experience.
Present-day consumers have higher expectations for support and remain loyal to the businesses that listen to their issues and respond promptly. Going above and beyond to honor your customers' needs will grow your business exponentially.
Implementing a software program will help save time, provide a consistent experience when dealing with separate team members, and allow for growth without missing a beat. Choosing the right software for your business should take careful consideration to avoid major transitions later down the road.