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Securing the right customer service software in challenging times

This article originally appeared on Business Matters.

With staff from many businesses now working from home, and customers having increased opportunity to engage with companies and different brands, customer support workers will be increasingly stretched.

Throughout the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are particularly reliant on their customer service teams to provide a consistently positive representation of the company. Subsequently, making sure that these teams can continue to provide the best service expected of them, by finding and implementing the right tools to support them, is absolutely essential.  

However, with many businesses now imposing spending cuts, obtaining board approval for investments, such as purchasing software that can support customer service providers, can be difficult.  Below are some of the ways customer service managers can navigate this challenge and demonstrate to the budget holders the importance of a customer service support software and increase the chances of being allocated the budget to implement it during this pressing time.

What needs to be considered?

Before writing the business case the following points should be considered. Most importantly the case should be interesting, clear and concise. It should describe the vision for the future of the business and should demonstrate the value of the software both in the current climate, and the organisation’s future.

To secure the business case and receive the budget for the software to be implemented, the following points should also be considered.

The structure of the presentation

Before the business case is ready to be presented to the boardroom, getting the structure of the presentation right is key. To demonstrate why a customer service software should be implemented, the presentation must be well researched with a straightforward narrative.

For example, if there is a software already being used that helps customers interact with the business but provides no coaching or opportunities for reflection for in-house agents, addressing this concern through stages can help the board visualise the concern. Placing this concern in the current context and demonstrating that the quality of customer service cannot be improved if agents are not being trained, will be a clear indicator to the board that now is the right time to allocate the budget for this to be implemented.

Addressing the companies’ short and long-term objectives

Being able to demonstrate what’s likely to be of interest to the board, is important. For example, if the company is putting lots of time allocation toward customer satisfaction during this time, using facts that highlight the importance of customer service, alongside the reasons for implementing a customer service software, would help the board to see the value this system could bring to the wider company.

Employee engagement is another pertinent example. 75% of customer support employees struggle to remain consistently motivated at work at the best of times and, in the current business landscape, there is an immediate short-term need for businesses to remain engaged with their customer service agents who work remotely.

Subsequently, demonstrating how the right customer service software can improve employees’ engagement, performance and wellbeing while working remotely – by monitoring their progress and delivering tailored feedback for example - could be another avenue to demonstrate the value for its implementation.

Outlining return on investment will also be a great way for board members to visualise how the software meets their businesses long-term objectives. This could include examples of how the software could help to reduce unnecessary costs being spent on external and costly employee training or how the software could generate a profitable return for the business.

Present what to do moving forward

Finally, when the business case has been outlined with tangible evidence for why the software should be implemented, listing all of the available options to the board moving forward will be essential when calling for action.

For the software that is being recommended, giving a time frame for installation, costs associated with the purchase and any additional considerations for implementing the software for remote workers to use, will all help to provide a thorough case and an immediate plan of action.

Equally, it is necessary to show how this problem could be made worse if no action is taken. For example, if the business case is trying to encourage the implementation of a new coaching system for agents, detailing how the company’s current process of multiple Excel spreadsheets is currently unfit for purpose during these remote working conditions can demonstrate the importance of why something new is needed, and fast!

Choosing the right customer service software for any business is the first step but communicating this to those who hold the purse strings can be a major barrier to getting software implemented quickly.

With customer service agents having to respond to customers in pressing times, there is a range of software available that can help to support operations as well as keeping agents up to date with the skills needed to manage the increased load of queries. Therefore, ensuring that a business case weighs up every option, backs up any recommendation with clear evidence, and provides immediate steps for moving forward, will greatly increase its chances of being successful.

Check out the webinar with Freshworks if you’d like to find out more about preparing a successful business case.

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