Hidden costs of customer service software


Share on LinkedIn

In today’s omni-channel world, consumers now expect to be able to seamlessly move from one customer touch-point to another, receiving the same level of service across each of them – effortlessly.

Key to an organisation being able to provide this service is having the right customer service software technology in place. The rewards are two-fold – improving customer satisfaction levels, whilst generating proven cost savings.

With Forrester reporting that nearly 70% of consumers use web self-service and 43% use live chat,  it is evident that the majority of consumers prefer to use a company website to find answers to their questions rather than contacting via telephone or e-mail. Those organisations that offer a multi-channel customer service can, on average, deflect the volume of inbound calls and e-mails they receive by up to 40%.

However, as well implemented and maintained as your customer service software may be, if you choose a vendor based primarily on their product set and overlook their pricing model and account management offering, you may well find your organisation hit by unexpected bills, putting a significant drain on your bottom line.

Web self-service has many benefits for an organisation;

  • Reduce costs / fast ROI
  • Increase FCR / conversion rates
  • Improve customer satisfaction / loyalty
  • Provide valuable customer insight – analytics

A major benefit of web self-service tools is their ability to support your business during real times of need i.e. during seasonal peaks in customer contact or a sudden surge of enquiries caused by an unexpected event – like adverse weather conditions disrupting flights for travel companies or storms creating power cuts for utility providers. It’s during these periods of increased customer contact – often out of contact centre hours – that organisations rely on self-service tools, helping to alleviate the weight of inbound enquiries to contact centre agents.

Leading utility provider: Spike in web self-service visitor levels due to bad weather

Leading utility provider: Spike in web self-service visitor levels due to bad weather

Shouldn’t web self-service support an organisation as well as the customer?

During elevated traffic levels, organisations should be safe in the knowledge that their self-service tools are able to handle an un-limited number of questions by an un-limited number of customers 24/7, however, if your pricing model is based on a pay-per-session model rather than a fixed-cost agreement, you could find your costs spiraling rather than providing you with a fast ROI.

From an operational and cost perspective, pay-per-session can be unpredictable and prove difficult to manage and budget effectively.  A fixed-cost pricing model, based on the amount of data in your centralised knowledge-base – something you control – means budgets can be planned efficiently, with no un-wanted bills when you experience those spikes in visitor levels.

Hidden costs – key questions to ask:

The following questions should be considered when choosing a customer service software vendor.

  • Is billing based on pay-per-session or fixed costs?
  • How will the payment model be affected by predicted seasonal peaks in customer contact / visitor levels?
  • How will the payment model be affected by un-predicted surges in customer contact due to unforeseen events?
  • Will my hosting fee be affected by increases / decreases in traffic?

If you’re considering an investment in web self-service, make sure you’re aware of all the charges you could be liable for, and not just the up-front costs. A robust vendor should offer you a transparent pricing policy – with no nasty surprises.

Free White Paper:  How to choose the right customer service software vendor

Once you’ve identified the need for multi-channel customer service software, deciding which vendor to use can be a daunting task. To help you make a well-informed decision, we’ve written a new white paper.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Neldi Rautenbach
Neldi shares insight and best practice tips on multi-channel customer service from Synthetix. Synthetix is a leading provider of online customer service solutions - working with some of the world's best-known brands. Synthetix create bespoke customer service and knowledge base software that enable customers to self-serve timely, accurate and consistent answers to their questions via the web, mobile, e-mail forms, social networks and in the contact centre.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here