Customer Service & CRM Software Guide
What is Customer Service & CRM Software?
Customer service software, as the term suggests, is any digital solution that helps SMEs improve the quality of their customer service. For instance, some customer service software products help manage and respond to customer queries in an organized way.
CRM, on the other hand, refers to customer relationship management. CRM software monitors customer interaction on multiple touch points, including social media, company website, email, and phone calls. The software helps collect, organize, and analyze customer data throughout the customer lifecycle.
You can use software solutions in this space to gain insight into customer behaviors, and plan your customer relationship management policies accordingly. This eventually helps build and maintain long-term business relationship with customers.
Customer service & CRM software products are used widely across industries; and they come in different variants, with different features to suit different needs, such as, customer engagement, feedback management, survey and polling.
Most Popular Customer Service & CRM Categories
How to Choose Customer Service & CRM Software
As with any business software, deciding on the features of your customer service software is important. Integration is one important feature to look for. Depending on your requirements, you may want to choose a customer service software tool that integrates effectively with other software products, such as, Gmail, MailChimp, and Outlook. Another important thing to consider is scalability. If you are expecting rapid growth of your business, consider choosing a CRM solution that will grow with you. For some small businesses, CRM software with basic contact management features may suffice, while larger organizations may look for contact management with a shared database. It all depends on what you need, your growth potential, industry, and customer service goals.
More advanced CRM software features include sales territory management, marketing campaign management, feedback management, sales force automation, sales analytics and forecasting, and support & helpdesk automation. You may also want to consider whether you need mobile CRM and advanced customization facilities. CRM customization and integration needs vary depending on the size and nature of businesses. You should compare and find software accordingly.
Most software products in the support & helpdesk category allow you to automate ticket management system, and interact with customers via multiple contact channels, including live chat, community forums, and social media. Some even come with built-in reporting tools, dashboards, integrated screen recording, and real-time internal collaboration features. You’ll also find customer service software more suitable for specific industries or to carry out certain tasks, such as, appointment booking, customer engagement, feedback management, and customer chat. While the basic features remain almost the same, some products offer you more options and add-ons to help cater to your exact needs.
Subcategories of Customer Service & CRM Software
- Appointment Systems Software: Appointment systems software takes the stress out of appointment scheduling, making it easier for agencies, professionals and SMEs to book, cancel, re-schedule, and remember important meetings and appointments. Advanced features include letting users view and book appointments from anywhere, allowing customers to make payments while booking an appointment, creating recurring appointments for customers, tracking attendance history, and allowing global users to set time zones.
- Contact Center Management: Products in this category help a business run its contact center more smoothly, thanks to their ability to automate important tasks, such as, recording phone calls, tracking customer interactions, organizing emails, and leaving voicemails. You can use contact center management software for case management, feedback management, omni-channel communications, and field service. Inbound call centers often use this product for call monitoring, skills-based routing, and historical reporting.
- CRM: This software category covers a wide range of applications aimed at making customer relationship management easier and more organized for businesses. CRM software typically features the ability to track customer interactions across multiple communication channels, identify and nurture high quality leads, automate follow-ups with clients, build customer loyalty, generate and analyze reports, and make sales forecasts. Most CRM systems come with an Application Programming Interface (API), which allows for seamless collaboration between sales, marketing, and other departments within an organization. CRM with mobile access allows salespeople to view and share customer interaction history on the go, making it easier for them to resolve time-sensitive matters.
- Customer Chat: Products in this category aim to improve customer support by providing immediate help to customers via live chat on the company website. A win-win for both parties, the software allows customers to multitask while waiting for a response, while also letting the customer service agent handle multiple chats at a time. Businesses save time and money on customer support, while customers benefit from round-the-clock support, and an ability to keep the transcript of the conversation for future reference. Advanced features include the ability to chat with multiple visitors, video chatting, viewing remote screens and mouse movements, file sharing, and feedback analysis.
- Customer Engagement: To build a strong relationship with customers, businesses need to engage them on multiple communication channels and keep the conversation going. Customer engagement software makes the job easy for SMEs by providing them tools for social media monitoring, email marketing, content marketing, customer data collection and analysis. In the end, this helps businesses personalize their marketing communications and improve the quality of customer service.
- Customer Experience: Customer experience is how customers perceive a brand based on their past interactions with the company. These could be direct or indirect interactions at any point in the customer lifecycle. Software products for improving customer experience work in many ways, with different products focusing on different aspects of customer experience. For instance, one product could help create a guided tour for the first-time visitors to your website, making it easy for the visitors to understand what you offer and your specialties. Other important features include live chat, social media support, self service, and mobile support.
- Customer Service: Not all companies require a complete overhaul of their customer service. Simple changes like sending automated acknowledgement emails or creating a knowledge base for self service can go a long way to wow the customers. You need to compare and choose the right solution for you. In general, customer service software helps keep track of customer requests, automate certain customer support tasks, generate reports, route the right request to the right person, collate customer information in one place and prioritize customer requests. Some products are specifically designed to manage customer interactions on social media platforms, while others come with advanced features, such as, the ability to schedule emergency services and integrate with other programs.
- Feedback Management: Software products in this category help measure client satisfaction, recognize what’s stopping a customer from buying, and identify scopes for improvement. The software does this by running online surveys, asking the right question to customers at the right time. Advanced enterprise feedback management software not only collects and organizes feedback from customers, but helps find a way to incorporate the feedback into your daily business operations, so that you can take timely steps to reduce churn or improve the quality of your products and services. Different products come with different features, but some common features include ability to track the user’s behavior on your website while they were leaving feedback, ability to share prototypes with clients or team members and invite them to leave feedback, and ability to analyze and interpret the feedback.
- Gamification: Training your sales team to use CRM could be challenging. Gamification software helps take the boredom out of training sessions and encourage participation. Products in this category come with features like product knowledge quizzes and tournaments to make learning fun for participants. Some other features to look for include real-time feedback systems, the ability to do performance analyses and the ability to share achievements / get recognition from team members.
- Loyalty & Membership: Retaining an existing customer requires much less investment than gaining a new client altogether. This is exactly why smart marketers increasingly focus on creating loyalty and membership programs. To that end, businesses can leverage the power of loyalty & membership software, which often helps save time and money on the planning and implementation of loyalty programs. Some notable features of this software type include the ability to incorporate incentive based promotions, building payment processing system, managing allocation of gift cards, rewarding customers for advocacy, identifying loyal customers for special offers and discounts.
- Remote Support: Remote support software allows customer support staff and IT professionals to access and control devices remotely. Remote support is generally offered in combination with other customer support functions or as an in-house service by enterprise IT departments. Taking control of remote devices reduces travel costs, complexity and time needed to solve issues. Remote support software often isn’t limited to input control and remote desktop viewing features but also includes file transfer, VoIP, chat capability and other advanced functionality. Remote support software can be used to gain unattended access to remote hosts via web interfaces, clients or mobile devices and is frequently used to monitor and maintain servers and datacenters.
- Reservations & Online Bookings: With customers across industries adopting online payments, most businesses today need to catch up with the trend, if only to stay competitive. Reservations & online bookings software usually allows a business to create booking pages, accept online payments, send instant notifications, book reservations and appointments, cancel registrations, and re-schedule meetings and appointments. Some programs come with even more advanced features, such as, organizing and analyzing booking statistics, adjusting time zone settings, creating customized schedules for a specific day or person, adjusting language and currency settings, and an ability to create image galleries and an attractive “Book Now” button.
- Support & Helpdesk: No matter the size and nature of a business, the right SaaS helpdesk solution helps improve customer service in many ways. For instance, some software products for support & helpdesk purposes enable you to escalate issues to the right person to provide better service. Some products come with the ‘knowledge base’ feature that lets you identify common customer queries, so you can create guide articles for customers to find answers to their queries themselves. Support & helpdesk software usually offers multi-channel support, automated ticket management, reports and analysis on client satisfaction, and a dashboard that lets you view important customer data at once.
- Survey & Polling: Software in this category creates and runs surveys and often also analyzes the survey results. Businesses can leverage this software to recognize customer pain points, identify strengths and weaknesses, and common patterns. Some advanced software features of survey & polling include sharing surveys with target audiences, adding logos for a customized look, sending survey invitations, generating survey email alerts, scheduling reminders, adding answer options for qualitative surveys, analyzing response rates, and conducting analysis to identify key takeaways.
- Tracking & Help Desk: These products aim to offer a centralized platform from where you can track and resolve customer requests coming from multiple communication channels, including phone calls, emails, and live chat. This helps offer faster customer support and hence reduce churn rates and increase the number of happy customers. Key features to look for include automated ticketing systems, ability to integrate with other platforms, and knowledge base solutions.
- Visitor management: Products in this category are best suited for businesses that need to manage a large number of visitors on a daily basis. The software helps log visitor information, generate visitor activity reports, manage pre-registration, identify the intent of a visit and the reasons for leaving the platform. The right visitor management system helps improve productivity and visitor service, and ensure accuracy of visitor data.
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