(It may not even be cheaper - in the long run.)
While no Customer Service manager in 2021 has "extra" budget to throw around, it's also unwise to compare Customer Service platforms simply on their advertised monthly charge per seat. Factors like inadequate functionality, costs of training, and the expenses of implementing and coding customized solutions can have major impact on the price you'll ultimately pay for your solution.
Fortunately, protecting yourself from unwelcome surprises can be accomplished by asking a few key questions at the outset:
Does the platform integrate easily with our other enterprise systems?
Achieving true service optimization requires new levels of enterprise visibility. And while all forms of integration require a serious effort, many popular platforms require extensive customer interface work—if they even accommodate real-time integration at all.
It's important to calculate the value of being able to give customers the latest information—from a single "source of truth" within your organization. Similarly, the ability for your Customer Service team to contribute to the updating of enterprise-wide data from a single interface can be extremely valuable in both time savings and accuracy/reduction of errors.
Multiply that by the proven customer satisfaction "dividend" of proactive communications (based on dynamic information and triggers from all your interfaced systems) and the value of the right system becomes readily apparent.
Can the platform manage our external and internal customers as required?
Maybe you're trying to accommodate many different customers with different SLAs...Maybe you need to serve both external and internal customers in an integrated way...Maybe you manage several different brands within a larger parent company...
In any of these cases, it will be important for you to easily adapt the rules, scripts and processes for each of these groups of customers. Make sure the platform you choose can easily make these kinds of distinctions—without a lot of custom re-coding.
The more functionality you have out-of-the-box with your Customer Service platform, the sooner you'll be boosting your KPIs for optimized service.
How dependent will we be on outside consultants to make it work for us?
Some of today's popular platforms require extensive implementation assistance. To make the product appealing, the monthly cost may not appear too high—until you begin to add-in consulting fees.
Being able to easily do more with your in-house resources not only save you money, but can get your initiatives moving faster as well. After all, who knows your company and processes better than your own people?
Look for platforms that allow for easy configuration as opposed to platforms that demand extensive re-coding and customization.
A closer look can make a big difference
Peeling back the label of low-entry pricing can reveal many hidden costs of a Customer Service platform. Finding a partner that has the right features to support your full list of needs—today and in the future—is where you'll realize the ultimate value and keep your total cost of ownership exactly where you want it to be.
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