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Customer Service software covers any tool designed to help organizations manage multi-channel inbound and outbound communications, including phone, live chat, and email, and resolve customer issues. Typical features include call routing, ticketing, and analytics.
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Customer service software boosts the productivity of customer service agents by helping them tend to customer requests and queries efficiently and swiftly. This improves customer’s experience with your brand, which positively impacts the brand image and boosts your profitability in the long run.
In this guide, we’ll cover key topics related to customer service software selection:
Customer service software is a tool that helps businesses streamline their customer service efforts. It enables users to address customer concerns and communicate with them across different channels such as email, web, and social media.
Users can manage all customer data and interactions on a single platform and retrieve it swiftly for reference. They can also raise tickets about customer queries, prioritize these tickets, and track the resolution status to ensure customer satisfaction.
The first thing you need to do before selecting a customer service solution is to know the different types of software. There are primarily five different types of customer service solutions in the market.
Live chat software: These solutions lets you provide customer service through web chat in real time. Agents can create tickets for unresolved issues while chatting, request customers to fill up automated surveys on chat, queue the chats, and route chats to the most appropriate agents.
Traditional phone software: This solution allows users to handle customer interactions on the phone. It offers features such as IVR, call transfer, call routing, and call recording.
Self-service software: This software offers features that help customers serve themselves using resources such as guides, video tutorials, forums, and FAQs.
Helpdesk ticketing software: Ticketing solutions allow users to convert customer queries into tickets that are stored in a centralized space, prioritized, managed, assigned to customer service representatives, and resolved in a stipulated time.
Integrated customer service software: These solutions combine different features of the software types mentioned above. It allows users to communicate across different channels such as chat, text, phone, social media, and email. Users can also raise tickets and offer self-service tools to customers.
Key questions to ask your vendor before you buy: Do you offer add-on features with the software that you offer? What is the cost of these add-on features?
There are two deployment options that you can choose from based on your business needs:
On-premise: On-premise customer service software allows users to run the software on their own server infrastructure. The vendor is responsible for updates and maintenance. On-premise solutions are suitable for large organizations with centralized teams that require complete control over data access and backups for added security.
Cloud based: This type of solution allows users to access it via the internet. The software is operated from secure data centers and the vendor takes care of backups, updates, and security. This reduces the cost of having a dedicated IT staff.
Cloud-based solutions are suitable for organizations of all sizes and with dispersed teams. GetApp recommends cloud-based solutions for small and midsize businesses.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Are there any additional costs to be incurred with each deployment model?
Here are some of the features that you must look for in the customer service solution you choose to purchase:
Customer management: Allows users to record customer details such as customer information, issues, and interactions. Users can access, track, and view the details in a single database to efficiently assist customers.
Customer information view in HelpCrunch
Case management: Lets users create, manage, prioritize, and assign customer queries in the form of tickets so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Case information in SupportBench
Self-service portal: Gives customers access to resources such as a knowledge base and community forums. They can raise tickets, track service requests, participate in community forum discussions, gather resolutions for queries, get expert advice on issues, and submit feedback.
Self-service portal in Freshdesk
Multichannel communication: Lets users communicate with customers and support them via phone, email, live chat, and social media platforms. They can manage all the communication in one place and redirect/assign communication to the appropriate agent.
Chat window on LiveChat
Workflow automation: Automates repetitive tasks such as workflow creation, case assignment, and notifications. This way, they save the time spent on duplicating processes every time.
Automated workflow in Agiloft
Performance tracking: Provides performance monitoring tools to let businesses measure the productivity and performance of their agents. You can manage feedback from clients and ensure that critical business KPIs are met.
Performance tracking in LiveChat
Analytics and reporting: Helps managers get data and reports on issue resolution, customer service calls, response time, and more. This helps them evaluate all the processes and assess the improvements required.
Reporting and analytics in Zendesk
Collaboration tools: Allows your team to have conversations about tickets, customer issues, and interactions. They can collaborate using the file sharing feature as well.
File transfer in Zoho Assist
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Are there any other features that you offer with your customer service software?
Some software integrations enhance your customer service solution. A few important integrations with customer service software include the following:
Customer service management: Your customer service software should integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) solution. This will help you centralize all customer data such as contact information, interaction history, and any and all communication.
eCommerce plug-in: Customer service software should integrate with eCommerce software so that your web customers also receive a good customer service experience.
Email communication: Integrating an email service allows you to convert emails into tickets, so that agents can easily resolve issues on the core customer service software.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What are other key software integrations that are beneficial for small businesses specifically?
Given below are some trends that you need to know about to stay ahead of the curve in this market:
IoT will improve your customer service offerings: Seventy-three percent of small and midsize businesses (SMB) respondents say that they use or plan to use IoT technology by 2021-22. Forty-eight percent of them believe that the technology is critical to their business.
IoT provides businesses the ability to gather accurate and real-time information through interconnected devices. This can be helpful in improving customer service as businesses can take data-backed actions to mitigate issues. For instance, you can collect real-time data from sensors on your equipment to anticipate when it needs maintenance.
AI, machine learning to wholly transform customer experience: Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning churn large volumes of data to gain insights from it. Fifty-three percent of SMBs are already using AI, or plan to use it, by 2020-2021.
AI will benefit your customer service team in many ways. It can answer customer queries through chat and process all the information from various IoT devices to make customer self-service more intuitive. It can identify customer needs from the chat history, their searches, and preferences. It can also identify issues and prompt proactive alert messages as well as suggestions.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What are the ways in which you plan to use IoT and machine learning in your customer service software?
We referenced the following documents while creating this guide:
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