Whether it’s semi-annually, annually, or even after several years, software contract renewals are a crucial moment for technology buyers at every company. From picking CMS infrastructure to choosing customer service software, these third-party solutions play an integral role in an ecommerce brand’s success for the next year — and beyond.
Software renewals are an opportunity to evaluate current solutions and decide whether to stick with that partner or find a better fit. CX leaders should keep a close eye on their technology to identify the gaps, strengths, and likelihood of the same solution operating just as well for the following renewal period.
To help, we’ve put together a checklist of key considerations and questions to ask when you’re going into a customer service software renewal process and negotiations.
The Importance of Software Renewals in CX
With customer expectations reaching new sky highs, brands need to be on their toes if they want to win transactions in the increasingly competitive landscape. The key to winning customer loyalty is providing long-term value — and achieving that through well-structured support centers and CX solutions.
Customer service interactions can either lead to a loyal, lifetime customer or a dissatisfied, one-off sale. As we found in our Customer Expectations Report, 42% of consumers would stop buying from a brand after just two bad service experiences — while on the flip side, 72% are willing to spend more with brands that provide great experiences.
Technology partners can make all the difference, which is why choosing customer service software wisely is so important come renewal time.
Top 5 Considerations When Choosing Customer Service Software
Your CX software is crucial to how you manage relationships with customers — and by proxy, how you generate revenue from customer relationships. When choosing customer service software, consider whether your solution does the following.
1. Covers all your bases and channels
Customers are reaching out from every angle, requiring you to be prepared and equipped to handle traffic on all channels, new and old. From classics like voice to growing new avenues like SMS and social media, your CX software should be optimized for all channels and let agents seamlessly move from one channel to another with minimal friction.
2. Comes equipped with AI
With modern CX, AI isn’t just nice to have. Now, AI is a crucial piece to a high-functioning support center. It ensures your agents can do their jobs well and your customers can get the answers they need, when they need them. Tools like Hero AI from Gladly can suggest quick responses and contextual answers in any channel while also aiding agents with automatic conversation summaries so they can quickly move from one to the next.
3. Prioritizes conversations over tickets
Legacy CX software suffers from the old-school CX process of ticket-based systems. Customers don’t want to feel like another number on a list — and software like Gladly recognizes that. Modern CX provides a conversation-driven system that tracks the entire history of a customer’s communications with your brand, ensuring the clearest picture possible for the agent on hand.
4. Can scale for the future
Though contracts have renewal windows, many CX leaders and other IT professionals would prefer to choose and stick with a solution for a while. Choose a partner with pricing and technological prowess to easily grow alongside you, rather than hinder you as your business expands.
5. Works year-round, not just during renewals
Be aware of when renewal time is approaching, and ask: how is your software partner treating the renewal process? How were they reacting to your needs before renewal time? Were they proactive or reactive in their service? How important do I feel to them when I need to renew compared to the rest of the year?
Top Questions to Ask During the Software Renewal Process
Don’t rush the process of reviewing your existing technical solutions. Ask yourself and your team these four key questions to see if you might be leaving some potential areas for improvement on the table.
Read more: How to Evaluate Customer Service Technology
1. Am I getting what I need from my current software partner?
Probe around with your existing software and thoroughly test each element, keeping a sharp eye on functionality, any roadblocks that arise, and ease of use for your staff.
2. Am I spending too much for the return I get?
White-glove customer service is going to be a big-ticket item, but there’s also a high ROI to be earned. However, if those costs aren’t resulting in repeat, loyal customers, you may want to cut your losses and look elsewhere.
3. Is my CX up to par, and if not, is my software a cause of that gap in performance?
Take a look at your performance with customers — are you finding your CSAT scores are plateauing or even lagging? The first place you should look is your CX technology, which should not only be performing in a way that makes customers happy but also in a way that makes your agents’ lives easier.
4. Has my software been helpful in delivering results, answering questions, and aiding with implementation/onboarding?
Nothing is more important in a CX technology partner than the attentiveness of your designated account manager, particularly how well they respond to your needs promptly and effectively.
5. Is my current CX platform pushing my team and I beyond our limits?
There’s a difference between a CX platform that gets the job done and one that helps you get it done even better than before. But do you have any proof on if your platform is truly the best compared to others? If you like your platform, have you been using all the tips and tricks to optimize its value?
Consider talking to your platform’s Customer Success Manager or Support Team to identify reports, data, and tools that can take your performance to the next level. Comfortable is easy, but in order to grow – we all need a little nudge so we can take our performance to the next level.
6. When was the last time I attended a CX event in person?
Whether you’re sticking with your current CX platform or thinking about switching, meeting up with local CX leaders is the perfect way to learn why others love their current system and stay up-to-date on the latest technology. Events like Gladly Connect Live and G2 Crowd can help you get a full-industry perspective, but nothing beats hearing other leader’s personal experiences first-hand.
7. I have a good deal, why would I want to switch and pay more?
Don’t be too quick to judge a potential CX software based on its sticker price. The right CX software for you may be flexible on price when asked, which means getting more features you actually need while staying within your budget.
CX Tool: The Ultimate CX Software Renewal Checklist
Use the below checklist and take the following steps during your software renewal process to make sure you get all the pertinent information to make the best decision possible.
Knowing You’re Ready for Software Renewal
Upon reviewing your above responses, consider whether you feel ready to renew and/or select a new partner. You can continually refer back to this list throughout the process of choosing customer service software in order to make the best possible decision for your brand.
As our G2 performance indicates, Gladly is a superior choice compared to numerous CX competitors, with the AI solutions and future-proof scalability that makes our clients want to renew time and again. Try a demo of Gladly and see how our technology can fuel your support center and act as a long-term partner for you and your ecommerce brand.