It’s time to put on the right lens. When looking at customer service tools, you need to ensure the solution will give you the impact you desire. Whether you're looking for higher CSATs, lower operation costs, or a combination, knowing how to assess a tool is invaluable. It can save you time and money and headaches.
With so many options out there, it can be daunting to try to weed through them all. No matter if you're looking for a self-service portal, helpdesk software, AI live chat, customer feedback survey, or community forum, there's a method for evaluating the different options.
Before you make an investment, check out the 7 essentials for evaluating customer service technology.
1. Pinpoint your focus
Customer service technology offers a solution to a problem or help prevent a problem. But first, you have to know what it is you’re trying to solve. Do you need to improve your response
That's why you should narrow down to a shortlist of issues—or ideally, a single customer service priority. This focus 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.
2. Develop user personas
The best way to know how your customers will respond to a solution is to imagine your customers. Not other companies' customers, but your customers.
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 Michael in your line-up. Michael is 43, a partner at a law firm, and enjoys shopping for new business clothes monthly. Michael 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 Michael 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.
3. Consider speed but don’t forget accuracy
Customers expect quick answers. Will the technology improve the speed for customers? To what degree? Will it bring the average response time from one minute to 10 seconds? Take a look at the facts.
But remember, 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.
4. Keep an eye on customer effort
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. By shortening wait times, reducing repeat contacts and transfers, and providing self-service options, less customer effort is required. As an example, rather than having a customer wait on the phone to reach an agent, offer an online chat option.
5. Compare your ticket volume with the size of the solution
If you’re a smaller enterprise, you might not need a large-scale solution that the bigger brands are using. While it can be tempting to get the latest and greatest, your company might not need it. Even worse, it could cost you money or be a misfit solution altogether.
If you don’t have a large volume of tickets, you may not need technology for handling them. But perhaps instead, you need to improve your FAQ page or self-service portal.
6. Look at ROI
With any new investment, the best practice is to look at your probable return on investment. 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. In general, customers who receive excellent service are more likely to shop with you again and share their positive experience. Be sure to include customer lifetime value (LTV)—an item that can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
7. Be sure to question whether a technology is even what you need
A customer service technology might not actually be what you need to improve CSAT or achieve other goals. Maybe you simply need to update your language to be more clear 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 how to install 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 that customers are looking for, but a policy that puts them first.
Before taking the plunge with a customer service technology, see if a free trial or contingency contract is available. Trying out a product can give you an inside look at how it might work for your company.
You might also consider a multi-faceted approach, such as updating policies, training staff, and implementing a new technology. With this type of improvement plan, create a phased rollout—one that sets your company up for success each step of the way.