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How to Choose the Right Customer Service App
By Kathryn Casna
In today’s customer-centric business environment, service is king. Great customer experiences can launch the underdog ahead of Goliath-sized competitors, while an angry customer with a robust Facebook following can impact enterprise-level corporations in an afternoon. Meanwhile, Yelp and other review sites empower consumers to share their experiences with the world — the good and the bad.
At some point, most companies struggle to provide top-notch customer service. The good news is, there’s an app for that. Tons of them, actually. The right app for customer service can make for more efficient, empowered, and successful agents, as well as higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
Why Invest in an App for Customer Service?
Along with a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, an app for customer service is one of the most important tools small businesses can use to nail their customer service. A customer service app is a go-to resource for both customers in need of assistance and the service agents who help them. It can provide ways for users to find answers to questions, get instructions on how to use products, troubleshoot technology, and resolve issues. When used by well-trained agents, the app can take service systems from informal or disorganized to streamlined, problem-solving, loyalty-inspiring processes.
How do you choose the right app? First, let’s take a look at how such an app might fit into your overall service structure.
Customer Service Overview
How Does an App Fit In?
Take Stock of Your Needs
How can a customer service app benefit your company? That all depends on your needs.
If you already provide great service, you may want an app that helps you continue pleasing customers while becoming more efficient and cost effective. Building additional self-service options will be the focus for these companies. Businesses that struggle to keep up with their customer service needs, on the other hand, should prioritize creating positive, empathetic interactions via phone, chat, or social media. Not sure which category you fall into? Your customer service platform and your customer service app, with their robust data collection and analysis, will help you learn more.
Savvy customer service managers, no matter what challenges they face, know finding the right app means getting into the heads of their customers, prioritizing features, and shopping around for the right products.
Who Are Your Customers?
Create a Criteria List and Budget
Agent and Customer Interfaces
An app on your customer’s phone will make accessing service easy, as well as keep your brand top of mind. An integrated agent interface will make it easy to quickly address issues that come in on the app — and perhaps other sources, too. Look for apps that streamline both sides of the coin.
Support for Multiple Channels
Facebook, Twitter, your call center, live chat, and email are the main channels customers want to use to get help. Apps that support them all in the same ticketing system and workflow ensure that moving between them is seamless and fast.
Social Media Support
It’s not enough to just talk to customers on social media; you also need to use social media listening in case people decide to circumvent your service app and hit you up — directly or indirectly — on Twitter or other social media sites. Look for apps that allow you to set up alerts for those types of mentions. It will be far more efficient than having agents scour the internet for anyone who may have an issue.
Sixty-three percent of adults in the United States use mobile devices several times each month to seek customer support. If your customers want help on the go, make mobile customer service a priority. Similarly, will your agents need to provide assistance from multiple locations, or from out in the field? Make sure your app’s agent interface travels well, too.
Sophisticated Search and Queuing
When support tickets come in, agents may need to route them to the proper recipient. When the right person gets the ticket, it should be easy to look up any necessary customer details, including their previous interactions with your company. This will cut down on service time, boost productivity, and create a seamless experience.
Reporting and Analytics
How can you improve your customer service if you don’t know quantitatively how you’re doing right now? Key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, resolution time, and complaint escalation rates will give you the big picture, while the ability to drill down and look at specific metrics and tickets will help you understand the reasons for any trends.
Users who prefer self-service options need lots of easy-to-find, clearly explained content. Therefore, your service team needs an easy way to update and add new content as needed. A great app will do both. Customer service apps that do it well also give agents the ability to use those same articles to increase their knowledge about products and services.
Do They Practice What They Sell?
Don’t invest in an app for customer service without trying a demo of the product first. This can be in the form of a free trial, but it’s even better if it’s a demo that a salesperson has set up for you. That way you get a demo that’s tailored to your needs and concerns, as well as a bit of training to get you started.
Before making a final decision, have your experienced customer service agents and other customer-facing employees test drive the apps as well. They know more about what it will be like to use the app on a daily basis. Test the interface as if you were one of your own clients. Is it easy to use, even if you were already frustrated? Can you get to a real person in just a few taps?
Finding the right customer service app can be challenging, but managers who understand their customers can prioritize their needs and choose an option that will help them meet and exceed all of their service goals.