When evaluating customer service technology, you must ensure the solutions they provide will give you the desired impact. Whether you’re looking for higher CSATs, lower operation costs, or a combination of the two, knowing how to assess a tool is invaluable. It can save you time, money, and headaches.
From help desk software to AI live chat to customer feedback surveys to community forums — there are a number of different options to sift through, which can be a daunting task to take on. Luckily, there’s a method for evaluating them.
Check out the must-have essentials of any customer service technology worth your investment.
Customer service technology offers a solution to a problem or helps prevent a problem. But first, you have to know what it is you’re trying to solve. Do you need to improve your response time? Automate processes? Lower your operational costs? Narrowing down to a shortlist of issues — or ideally, a single customer service priority — will help you hone in on the type of technology your company most needs.
So, dig into the data, ask your reps, and collect customer feedback. With a key focus in mind, you can look at customer service technologies with precision.
The best way to understand how your customers will respond to a solution is to imagine your customers’ behaviors, wants, and needs. Build a series of personas (ideally 3–7) that represent the majority of your consumers. For each persona, outline details like their gender, age, shopping style, career, income level, and lifestyle.
For example, you might include James in your lineup. James is 43, a partner at a law firm, and enjoys shopping for new business clothes monthly. James is short on time, but is willing to pay more for great, convenient service, such as a live chat option or an easy-to-use self-service portal.
Having customers like James in mind will help guide which technology would suit his needs. By considering your main customer personas, you’ll have the right frame of mind when comparing technologies.
Customers expect quick answers. Will the technology improve speed for customers? To what degree? Will it bring the average response time from one minute to 10 seconds? Take a look at the factors.
Keep in mind, though, it’s not just about the speed, but how accurate and helpful the response is. If the customer needs to reach out to you again for a better answer, then the solution wasn’t speedy at all.
Customers are no longer looking to be charmed — they want a convenient, frictionless experience. Ask yourself, “Does the solution reduce the amount of effort for the customer?”
Look at each technology to see if it makes it easier for customers to shop or get a question answered. Less customer effort is required by shortening wait times and reducing repeat contacts and transfers. As an example, rather than having a customer wait on the phone to reach an agent, offer an online chat option.
If you’re a smaller or mid-sized enterprise, you might not need the large-scale solution that large corporations are using. While getting the latest and greatest can be tempting, your company might not need it – and it could cost you money or be a misfit solution altogether.
If you don’t have a large volume of customer inquiries, you may not need technology to handle them. Perhaps instead, you need to improve your FAQ page or self-service portal.
With any new investment, the best practice is to look at your probable investment return. Is the technology likely to reduce staffing costs or improve sales long-term? Will it boost CSAT and, in turn, your revenue?
Take a close look at the numbers to predict what the solution will bring to your company financially. Customers who receive excellent service are more likely to shop with you again and share their positive experiences via word-of-mouth referrals. Be sure to include customer lifetime value (LTV), which can greatly impact your bottom line.
A customer service platform might not be what you need to improve CSAT or achieve other goals. Maybe you need to update your language to be more precise about return policies, or train your agents to problem-solve better or offer empathy to frustrated customers. Perhaps you need to ramp up your FAQ content or make videos about installing your product.
You might even need to improve your policies to be more customer-centric, such as offering free returns or replacements for missing packages. Often, it’s not the bells and whistles customers seek but a policy that puts them first.
Before taking the plunge with a new customer service technology, see if a trial is available. Trying out a product can give you an inside look at how it might work for your company.
You could also consider a multi-faceted approach, such as updating policies and training staff as well as implementing new technology. With this type of improvement plan, create a phased rollout that sets your company up for success each step of the way.
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