As any successful business owner can tell you, keeping customers happy throughout the entire relationship with your brand is essential. That’s why customer support has taken the center stage over the last couple of years. Many companies have understood this shift in the tides – and it shows. According to recent data, 58% of US customers believe that customer service is getting better.
Of course, believing that an attitude adjustment was the only thing that made that possible is naive. There are several reasons that can explain why customer support satisfaction has risen but probably the biggest is the irruption of software development services working on new customer-centric tools. These digital platforms are helping to address issues more quickly, keep organized customer records, customize client attention, and even detect patterns to work on preventive measures.
In that context, software development companies have become fundamental allies for modern businesses, as they can provide with solutions to boost customer satisfaction and improve your reputation. How so? Read on to find out.
How software development providers are transforming customer support
As software grows and evolves, businesses have used it in several ways to address their customer support needs. The basic objective is to count with a platform that eases the communication with the clients across multiple channels and in a variety of situations.
Naturally, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of solution, even when the centralization of customer support tasks is ever-growing. That’s why there are 3 different types of customer support software you can use in your business:
- Help Desk Software: these are the applications that keep track of user requests and help in dealing with them. It’s usually fed by different channels (email, contact form, phone, SMS) and centralized in a software. Each request is recorded in a log that’s tied to each customer, so any operator using it knows the client’s history with customer service. Additionally, there’s a ticketing system that makes it easier to follow each case, prioritize them, and check their resolution. Examples of these include Zendesk and ZohoDesk as the most famous alternatives.
- CRM Software: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications are more comprehensive solutions than Help Desk tools. These platforms store information about current and potential customers and provide different tools to engage with them. They are very useful, as the data stored there can be analyzed to refine marketing efforts, create better-segmented campaigns, automate communications, and many other things. Examples of CRM software include Salesforce and HubSpot CRM.
- Live Chat Software: have you ever seen those popup chat windows that appear when you visit certain websites? Those are Live Chat tools in action. These apps were designed to invite visitors to chat while also having the possibility to offer specific actions to returning customers (such as troubleshooting or assessment on certain topics). They are mostly automated, thanks to the use of AI and machine learning, that makes them sound like real humans. Popular examples include Olark and ClickDesk.
Though working with one of the software development companies out there can bring you a combination of these applications or custom-made tools just for you, these 3 categories are comprehensive enough to understand the customer support software. All of them deal with different parts of your interaction with the customer, allowing you to cover all sensitive points that can lead to friction.
Off-the-shelf or custom-made software?
A quick Google search will show you that there are several tools you can pay for already available to start using right away. These off-the-shelf tools are constantly growing and adjusting to cater to the needs of users of all kind of industries. That means that they are customizable to a certain degree, so if you are to use them, you’ll need to flexibilize your customer support routines and activities to adjust to what the platform offers you.
On the other hand, you can hire a development team or resort to software development outsourcing to create your own customer support software. This can free you up from the built-in limitations of the “off-the-shelf” solutions and get you precisely what you need to address the issues of your own particular userbase.
How can you decide which one is the best alternative for you? Well, it’ll depend on how specific your needs are and your available budget. Sometimes, fitting your way of understanding customer service in a prefabricated platform is next to impossible, as it would require you to rename certain things, broaden your concepts, or simply ditch others. In that case, tailor-made software is perfect.
There are other cases in which you just need a way to speed up certain basic processes and manage general information about your customers. In those scenarios, off-the-shelf software can be the perfect solution, as they aren’t as pricey as custom-made tools and they have most of the features you’ll need to cover those basic needs.
Which features you’ll need in customer support software
These applications can be valued for a number of things, but the features they offer are the key to learn if a customer support software is valuable or not. Some of the ones you should be looking for are:
- Automatic ticketing: among the many customer support tasks that can be automated, ticketing is the most basic one. Defining the kind of request, assigning it, setting up reminders, and tracking the whole process can be done automatically, which will let you focus on solving problems.
- Sentiment analysis: thanks to AI, now the software can interpret the tone of a text and define potential actions accordingly. Want to tag incoming hostile tickets as a number one priority? AI can make it possible.
- Product tracking: your customer reps need to know who they are talking to and how they are related to your brand in a glance. That’s why you need product tracking – so the software shows the products (and model/version, when applicable) the customer has in possession, giving the operator the possibility to jump right into the problem without having to ask basic questions.
- Real-time reports and alerts: all of the data that’s being gathered in the customer support software can lead to fantastic insights. A real-time reporting module can take all that info and display it into easy-to-understand data that lets you understand the impact of your customer support channels.
- Mobile support: most people work with smartphones nowadays, so it’s important for customer support software to uphold mobile access. In other words, it should be easily manageable from a mobile device, as certain requests should be addressed whenever they appear – and even on the go.
To sum it all up
Customer service is improving and getting better by each passing minute thanks to digital solutions and tools. Software development services have been the key that has unlocked the potential that was laying around in that department. The ability to monitor, track, centralize, and address vast amounts of data have put customer software in the center of businesses’ relationships with their customers.
The benefits are there for all to see. Quicker response times, easier issue management, higher customer satisfaction, and actionable data for the brands. Given how many customer support applications are available in the market, you could already be having those benefits for your brand. And if you don’t find the right solution for you, software development providers are already seasoned enough to develop a custom-made software that can help you offer better customer support.