How to choose the right customer experience platform for your organization
Given the importance of customer experience and customer service, organizations understand that they need to use technology wisely to help them deliver consistent, high quality and efficient service that meets consumer needs, whichever channel they use to make contact.
While you can handle customer experience with existing desktop programs, such as email, and share knowledge through internal systems or even through written notes stored in folders, this quickly becomes difficult as your volumes scale. You won’t be able to respond quickly enough, information will soon become out of date and you will find it hard to support agents and monitor their performance.
That’s why organizations switch to a customer experience software platform to underpin CX. But with a wide range of solutions on the market, what should you look out for? Here are five tips to make sure you choose the best fit for your business:
1. Understand your current and future needs
Customer expectations and demands are increasing all the time. Therefore, the solution you pick needs to support you for the long-term, rather than simply meeting current needs. At the same time you want to deliver a fast ROI to unlock future budget for CX programs. I recommend taking the time to understand what your business requires now, and how this will change over time. How will volumes scale? How easy will it be to add new channels as you grow? Can you increase flexibility through SaaS implementations that are easy to expand? Do you need to cover multiple languages as standard?
2. Write a RFP
Once you have a good idea of your needs write this down as a Request for Proposal (RFP) document. Make sure that you are clear on what the solution must have, and what is an optional extra. Customer experience involves multiple departments, from customer service to marketing and sales, so ensure that they all have involvement in the RFP to ensure it captures everyone’s needs. As with any technology purchase check with IT that your requirements fit with overall strategy to ensure easy interoperability with existing systems.
3. Research the market
When putting together a shortlist, be rigorous when doing your research. Look beyond analyst reports to find vendors that are a fit with your organization. For example, check where they are based, where support is located and their size – how important a customer will you be for them? Again, look forward and find out about their future development roadmap. How much are they spending on research and development? How expert are they at key technologies such as Artificial Intelligence – and is this expertise home-grown or simply licensed from another provider?
4. Talk to customers
To get an independent view, ask people in your network for recommendations around their CX platforms and experience. Make sure that you speak to existing customers with similar needs to yourself to find out how they are using a vendor’s platform, and their experiences to date. What value are they getting? How responsive is the vendor to their needs? What training and support is available to get the best from the solution?
5. There is no single solution that does everything
According to Gartner, an organisation needs to work with solutions from four vendors on average to properly deal with customer engagement, . That means that there is no ‘one size fits all’ platform that will cover all of your needs. Instead, look at choosing the experts in each area, whether that is AI, CRM or Voice of the Customer. Make sure that these solutions have open APIs and are easy to connect together so you will be able to create a best of breed platform that better serves your customer.
Every organization has different requirements when it comes to customer experience. Take the time to understand your own needs and how they are likely to change. Research the best fit, look at multiple solutions and talk to existing customers to gain an independent perspective. Remember, your customer experience platform is central to your business competitiveness – so ensure that you follow a rigorous selection process to ensure that your solution will help you thrive now and in the future.