A great customer service experience must be a high priority on the list of any organization. But clunky, inefficient, or outdated methods and technologies employed for customer service can often frustrate, confuse, or inhibit customers. Oversights such as this prevent customers from getting the help that they need, and ultimately cost a company time, money, and customer loyalty.
Contemporary customer service software provides a user-friendly and intuitive avenue for customers to get in touch with your support staff. And at the home end, quality customer service software will help enable your customer service agents to provide organized and efficient care to every caller. In this article, we’ll go over the basics of customer service software, must-have features, and how to find the right customer service software for your business.
What is Customer Service Software?
At their core, customer service software are tools and platforms used by customer service and support teams to manage customer requests, complaints, and more. They are systems designed to be as simplistic or complex as an organization requires, and should be able to connect customer inquiries across all modes of communication.
Customer service (CS) software which is prepped for the modern world, such as Gladly, offers a unified communications structure, assigning orders to customers, and not just tickets. Because quality customer service is more than just solving a problem when it arises — it also seeks to build a relationship with the customer by personalizing service and support. Through unified communications channels, your team can ensure the best customer support through understanding a customer’s full history with your company.
Customer Service Software vs. Customer Relationship Management Software
Before we go too deep, let’s briefly talk about the difference between customer service software, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
While good customer service will help fortify customer relationships, this is not the express purpose of CS software. Its job is to help agents deliver customer satisfaction and improve the customer’s experience, building and maintaining customer loyalty through excellent and efficient support.
CRM software, on the other hand, tracks customer loyalty through purchase records and accrued customer lifetime value — or the initial journey of a buyer, before they become a customer. While working towards a common goal of happy repeat customers, each category of software offers a distinct and essential aspect of the work as a whole. CRM lacks the key human element of communication that CS software, like Gladly, offers. From text and voice chats to a continuous customer service conversation, CS software provides business a real connection to the customer over time.
Customer Service Software Features
Customer service software will always have a bevy of features. Below, we’ll break down the modern features of customer service software that are “must haves”, as well as more common features from outdated customer service software.
Common Features of Customer Service Software
The most common features of customer service software include:
- Ticketing: Each time a customer submits an inquiry, even if it’s the same inquiry over multiple channels of communication, a ticket is created for that order, and sent to multiple agents who may give different answers to the same question. This mode easily translates to a single-view, customer-associated method.
- Email features: This includes outgoing, as well as templates for longer emails and messaging.
- Lifetime customer history: Repeat customer profiles are actionable information sources, made from a compilation of data gleaned from their previous inquiries, customer analysis, and notes made by attending support agents.
- Call features: Including call monitoring, click-to-call, and transfers.
- Agent-specific features: Including shared agent inboxes, agent performance reporting, management dashboards, reminders, conversation transcripts, and assignment and customer routing.
However not all Customer service softwares are created equal. These features can be bundled together or separately offered depending on your provider.
Modern Customer Service Software Features You Must Have
Contemporary customer service strategies are efficient, personalized, and easy to use — for the customer, as well as your company’s customer support agents.
- Omnichannel Communication Support – Give customers the freedom to reach you however they choose, and switch across different channels during any conversation. This includes phone, live chat, app chat, email, and SMS text.
- Unified Agent Desktop – Having a unified agent desktop enables your team to always know a customer’s entire history with your brand, and be able to pick up conversations from the last point of contact, all to deliver the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
- Live Chat Support and In App Chat – These days it’s not enough to be able to chat with customers via phone. Modern customers require live web chat, as well as chat options directly from your apps used on mobile devices.
- Customer Service Knowledge Base – Modern customer service software uses a customer service knowledge base that can plug directly into your website, and offer answers based on location and language preferences.
- Social Customer Service – Leverage social listening tools and respond to social messages directly from your customer service system.
- SMS Customer Support – Modern customers use and shop from mobile devices more than ever. It’s essential that your customer service technology leverages SMS text support.
- Voice IVR System – PCI and GDPR compliant call handling, routing, and customer insights are a necessity for any business. Add in programmable IVR and integrated customer history and you have all the functionality you could ever need for your call centers.
Types of Customer Service Software
There exist a plethora of customer service software types, each with a unique purpose designed to solve a specific problem in customer service. These types range from general (an all encompassing program, such as Gladly) to the ultra-specific (such as ticketing and call center tools.) Each can be used on its own or in tandem for a customizable customer service strategy.
These tools include:
- Complete Customer Service Systems – These customer service platforms typically have all of the features you need in a single platform. (This is what Gladly offers!)
- Help Desk Software – Help Desk software focuses on the use of tickets to manage different customer requests. These typically are a step down in terms of functionality and flexibility when compared to complete customer service systems.
- Live Chat Software – Live chat software is limited to a solution built specifically for live web chat with customers. These are used to interact with customers who may have requests but not want to call the support line.
- Ticketing Software – Think of customer service ticketing software as “Help Desk software Lite.” These tools lack much of the functionality that you would want for any team of agents, however solve the basic need of being able to manage customer tickets, requests, and complaints.
- IVR and Call Center Tools – You’ll typically find IVR and call center software included in help desk or complete customer service solutions. However, there are vendors that specialize in call center solutions for customer service teams.
[Read More: Zendesk Alternative]
How to Choose Customer Service Software
Your customer service software needs will depend uniquely on the industry and size of your company. And the best customer service software vendors offer a variety of options to meet the requirements of businesses of all sizes. What your business needs:
- As an enterprise, finding the best customer service software for you means looking for a vendor that offers reliability and flexibility. You’ll want to ensure that you have maximum uptime with your system, and are able to customize and integrate the platform with all your other enterprise systems and machine learning / AI tools.
- Small and Mid-Sized businesses are typically in a period of high growth and need to be able to support customers across different channels. Omnichannel customer service software is a must for companies in this stage of growth, as is the ability scale with your growing demands.
- Startups will be in the process of building their customer base and gaining market share. As a startup, you will look to find something that is cost-effective and offers simple customer management, as well as the ability to communicate with customers at one or two different channels (normally email and/or live chat).
Some Things to Consider
When selecting customer service software for your company, you’ll want to evaluate each platform by a set list of criteria. Below are the 7 things you need to look for when choosing customer service software.
- Features – Make sure to create a list of all the functionality you need for your support team. In most cases, you’ll find that you will need a complete customer service system that encompasses all features from in app chat to IVR and call handling tools.
- Seamless Experience – Conversations with customers should be natural with your agents being able to see the entire conversation history and communicate with customers across all channels without ever missing a beat.
- Ease of Implementation – Find a customer service system that your team can use right away and fits within your overall technical infrastructure
- Ease of Use – Whatever system you choose, you’ll want to make sure your agents and customers are able to easily use the system. Software that you choose should not make it more challenging for customers to request or find support.
- Scalability – The system you choose should be able to scale with your business as you grow. The last thing you want is for your team and company to grow, and find that your customer service software is unable to meet your new demands.
- Customization – Every company and support team is built differently. The customer service software you choose must be able to personalize for your business’ unique needs.
- Reporting – Aligning goals with your performance is critical to continue to offer the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Reports and analytics make it possible for you to spot areas of improvement, and more.
Final Thoughts: Customer Service Software
There are an infinite number of points to consider when searching for the ideal customer service software for your company. From usability by customers and agents alike, to compatibility with the size and shape of your business, how will you know which one to choose? But a little effort applied to sourcing a high-quality support software means time and money saved in the future, and is well worth the search.
If you’re ready for a comprehensive platform that puts customers at the forefront of every interaction, visit Gladly.com today.