There are any number of customer service and support software solutions out there. You need to make sure the one you go with is going to meet your needs. And price should not be the single deciding factor. If you cannot afford the solution that meets all your “must haves” it won’t be worth the work to set it up and adoption rates will stall. Everyone will go back to the “old way” just to get everything done.
Tip #1: Determine Your Requirements
How can you select the best software when you aren’t sure what you need it to do?
- Map your current process
- Eliminate unnecessary steps
- Identify the bottlenecks and biggest areas of concern; for example:
- lost tickets
- SLA violations
- fragmented or incomplete knowledge
- common issues that require little effort to resolve such as password change requests
Tip #2: Get Input from the Users
Talk to the people who are on the firing line. They will have very definitie ideas about what is missing from your current process and what would be the most helpful. Nothing is more demoralizing for your staff than to be excluded in the requirements identification and software decision making process. It is easy to tell yourself you know what is best, but do your really? Unless you do customer service and support, you will find out the hard way what the shortcomings of any new system within the first day of implementation.
Tip #3: Decide on Budget
Money shouldn’t be the first thing you think about but it is definitely in the mix. Remember that some of the cost of the system will be made up in increased productivity, customer and employee retention, and streamlined processes. The new system may help deflect calls, freeing up staff to perform other duties. It can identify trends and keep an issue from burgeoning out of control. It can keep you from missing service calls and losing tickets.
That being said, be realistic about what you can budget for this type of system. It usually isn’t difficult to get pricing information to give you a ballpark. Use this information when starting your list of possible vendors.
Tip #4: Understand what you are getting
Make it a point to clearly understand what you are getting, especially in terms of licensing. You must understand the differences in licensing presented to you so your can compare prices effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific explanations of concurrent versus named licensing or any other scheme put to you. If the vendor can’t or won’t explain it, I would walk because that is a sure sign that unexpected fees and charges will occur.
Tip #5:Don’t forget the back end
Your incident management system should do more for you than keep track of tickets and let you know when an SLA deadline is looming. It really needs to give you reports of aggregate activity for trend analysis as well as reports on aging tickets and notifications of escalation, among other things. With a system like this, keeping up can be automated. No more sitting down with a spreadsheet, a pencil, and a calculator.
Be sure to find out whether all the reports are canned or if you can customize to your business. If you find yourself trying to fit your business processes and reporting to the software it means you need to look further for a better fit.
These 5 tips should help you on your journey to customer support software nirvana. You just need to identify where you want to go before starting the trip, then make sure you continue on the right path to the end.