Today’s digital times demand that businesses be agile and responsive to consumer needs. Businesses, in turn, require IT to be agile and dependable at the same time, that is, follow the newly advocated Bimodal IT or Two-Speed IT model.
What should IT look for in a software for customer service and support? How can they know which support software will allow them to do what businesses need—minimize risk, maximize ROI, and encourage innovation?
Successful customer service and support software have some common traits. They are:
If businesses want to engage with omnichannel customers, they have to avoid silos. Therefore, they need an omnichannel customer engagement hub (CEH) platform.
The hub houses a core set of features and capabilities—knowledge, customer interaction history, analytics, case management, workflows, routing—that all channels in the organization can access.
Benefits: 360-degree view of the customer, consistent answers across channels and agents.
Results: Customer satisfaction, agent satisfaction, increase in productivity, millions in savings in operational and customer service costs.
Aggressive marketing and tall claims by software vendors lure many into deploying incomplete solutions. This only becomes apparent when the cost and effort of switching and renewals become known much later.
An effective solution will have proven best practices embedded in it. This allows businesses to tap the power of well-architected systems. A few essential best practices-based features are:
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Benefits: Ensures that your customer service and support interactions are compliant with industry regulations. Saves time and cost.
Be aware of the hidden cost of user resistance. Many systems fail because of lack of adoption. Pay attention to these kind of questions.
Benefits: System adoption as customers and advisors find it easy to get to the right answer at the right time. Agent satisfaction improves as does cost of training and speed to competence.
Vendor claims need to be corroborated by the actual users while making your selection. This would also be borne out by the iteration the UI has gone through.
RAS (reliability, availability, and scalability) is the critical factor in a successful enterprise-class deployment, apart from being an often overlooked part of TCO analysis. Make sure your solution has RAS support in terms of distributed server support, self-monitoring, fault-tolerance, and hardware redundancy. Uptime of 99% are offered by leading vendors today, look for that.
Certain sectors like the financial services, insurance, and healthcare have strict regulatory controls. Then there are customer privacy issues and country-specific regulations, especially relevant for global companies. Businesses cannot afford to err on either security or compliance. The customer service system must support:
Lapses in compliance can be very costly for businesses, and security and compliance components have to be baked into the solution at the onset.
The biggest reason for customer service failure is lack of knowledge, for customers and among agents. Acquisitions and mergers, contact center consolidation, outsourcing, product proliferation, regulations, all these only exacerbate the situation.
Benefits: Sophisticated customer service knowledge management solutions reduce training and staffing costs, lowering operational costs for the contact center.