Customer service is like most things in business — it’s easy to forget about it when things are going well, but a few bad experiences can throw the entire company into turmoil. Especially in this age of social media, a bad customer service experience can quickly spread across the internet. In the United States alone, it is estimated that the cost of customers switching providers due to poor service is $1.6 trillion.

That is not to say that companies should maintain acceptable customer service standards only to avoid mass loss of customers or giant PR disasters. In fact, the opposite is often true — the best companies realize the value of actively promoting a culture of good customer service within the company. An overwhelming ninety-seven percent of global consumers cite customer service as important in their brand choice and loyalty.

Good customer service then, is smart business. It’s also the reason why so many companies are now turning to cloud-based helpdesk software to help them keep up with demand. With the recent surge in customers who turn to online channels for customer service, the demand for swift online response is increasing, and this no longer means simply replying to emails.

Online queries can now come through email, messaging systems, or a number of different social media channels, making a helpdesk ticketing system an essential software must-have for a company that wants to keep up with each of these channels and resolve issues quickly.

The customer relationship management (CRM) market is booming, which means that CRM software is better than ever. However, it also means that it can be a process to figure out exactly which features each business needs, and which helpdesk solution is the best fit. While different companies will be looking for different things, there are a few universal traits that a good software solution will have.

This is the bread and butter of a CRM, the tools that make it work. Here are some to look for:

— Helpdesk ticketing system.

Eighty-one percent of US consumers agree that it is frustrating to be tied to a phone or computer to wait for customer service help. The best helpdesk ticketing systems will create order from the chaos, allowing employees to make sure that no one is kept waiting for a response.

— Case management

Case management and ticketing are very closely related, but case management generally goes a step beyond ticketing, allowing for automatic creation of case profiles that can be assigned to specific teams and customer profiles.

— Self Service

There is no quicker answer to a question than one that is already published. Most customers these days want a self service app to which they can refer when they need a quick question answered. This allows for better, faster service for them, and less work for your employees to do.

— Productivity tools

The best customer service apps will aid your employees just as much as they aid their customers. That is why the best ones will provide productivity tools such as scheduling and automation for recurring tasks.

Full integration is vital for a cloud CRM. This means integration with all social channels, as well as any programs and devices that your company is already using, so that no data is lost or inaccessible. In particular, it should provide the ability for bidirectional communication between the system and all major social channels and email.
Increased security is inherent in most cloud-based service solutions. This is because, if you have a hosted helpdesk ticketing system, the host has more resources to expend to making sure that hardware and software is up to date, with all of the best security measures. This does not mean that security should be taken for granted however, and it is worth looking into the strength of each provider’s security.
One of the best things about these kinds of cloud-based CRMs is the ability to access them from wherever, on any device. Because they are cloud hosted, all that is required is an employee login. This does mean that usability is very important, however. Before committing to a platform, make sure that it is usable across every major device, and that your customer service reps will require little to no training to get used to it.
How much room is there for growth using this CRM platform? Are there add-ons and other features that will facilitate future company expansion, and even help you to make better decisions? These are all questions that any company, but particularly smaller companies, need to consider.
Finally, though customer service is worth the investment, employing a cloud based CRM must still make financial sense. There are often different pricing options, so that you can find the best fit based on your business’ size and customer service needs.

There are a lot of cloud customer service platforms that can offer at least a couple of these solutions. But none does so as effectively as Salesforce, the top rated CRM platform worldwide. In a helpdesk ticketing comparison, Salesforce comes out on top, offering ticketing and case management, as well as employee productivity tools, mobile support, customer self service, and full multi-channel capabilities. All of this allows a business to achieve its number one customer service goal of helping customers faster, better, and more thoroughly.

Furthermore, Salesforce’s service software also integrates with other Salesforce solutions, from sales to marketing and beyond, providing a full, unified 1-to-1 journey for each customer, and a 360 degree view for your company. This helps your company to understand your customers better, and to help them more effectively. Through predictive analytics, you can also make better, smarter decisions when it comes to reaching your customer base.

Good customer service is important, but great customer service will set your business apart from the rest. In a time when customers expect more than ever from customer service, using a cloud-based customer support platform might just be what tips your company ahead of the competition. Contact Salesforce today to see how you can improve your customer experience.

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