Choosing the right software for your business is not easy, that’s why we asked our friends at Software Advice to answer a few questions about this topic.
Here’s our conversation with Ashley Verrill, customer service analyst.
How hard is it for buyers to find the right software for their own needs?
It can be very difficult, especially for small businesses who might be evaluating help desk software for the first time. Buyers in the SMB category will most likely be evaluating the top best-of-breed software, as opposed to an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) suite. These applications have features that are really specific to IT servicedesk operations, while they might lack CRM features that are important to sales and marketing professionals. An integrated CRM suite, on the other hand, will have features for all of these operational roles. These kinds of systems are typically designed for larger businesses that need tools for keeping these departments on the same page.
This distinction, which I’ve written about briefly here, is one of the most significant sources of confusion among buyers we speak to. It’s an important concept to grasp, however, because in the case of a small business buying an integrated suite, they might end up getting sales and marketing features they don’t need, while not getting the really niche help desk capabilities they really bought the software for in the first place.
What are the most requested features for a help desk software and which are the ones that can make the difference?
While I haven’t analyzed the data yet for the most-requested help desk software features specifically, I did recently release my BuyerView report for customer service software, which includes research on the most-requested features in that market. I imagine that a few of those features would cross over into help desk–trouble ticketing, flexible reporting, interaction history and escalations management, for example.
In compiling that research, I also found that first-time and veteran software buyers alike were looking for a solution to improve overall efficiency. This is also a trend we see persisting across all of our software markets, and trouble ticketing and reporting are created specifically for this purpose. For that reason, if you’re looking to invest in a solution, I would definitely recommend reviewing systems with comprehensive ticketing, as this feature is going to be the most key in tracking/organizing your interaction histories, improving knowledge sharing, reducing customer service costs and increasing customer satisfaction.
What are the top reasons for purchasing a customer service software for the first time and what makes businesses change their mind and realize that they need it?
Going back to the research I mentioned, a large percentage (42 percent) of the sample were actually first-time customer service software buyers. The vast majority of buyers looking into a solution for the first time cited the need for better overall efficiency and organization as their reason for purchasing. They are generally hoping to streamline processes they were previously managing with spreadsheets, email and even paper. The problem with using more manual processes to store customer information is that you might have purchase history in one spreadsheet, with contact information and interaction history stored somewhere in your email. A customer service solution centralizes all this data, keeping everyone up to date and able to access important information in one place.
Business owners often realize they should invest in software when they notice how storing customer information in multiple places slows down important processes, like time to resolution. With a disjointed customer service process, requests can often fall through the cracks until a customer asks for a status update. By then, the customer is likely already frustrated – hurting the relationship and slowing down the time it takes to resolve the problem.
Why is cloud-based the most common solution?
Cloud-based solutions are typically preferred by smaller businesses because they often have a lower cost of entry and don’t require the user to maintain their own servers. It is also often easier to enable mobile access with a Web-based solution as opposed to on-premise. If your employees depend on tablets or smart phones to access customer information, cloud-based software would more than likely be the better choice, as you can quickly get this data regardless of from where or what you’re pulling it.