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Latest 04 Apr 2017 | Customer Service | 5 min read

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Customer Care Solution

Buyers of cars, houses, and enterprise software all know that a little due diligence up-front can save you some big headaches later down the road. And with social care platforms in particular, the functionality goes well beyond safety: a lack of features can leave your agents unable to respond to indirect brand mentions, to view customer interaction histories, or to provide satisfying resolution which will all severely impact the public perception of your company.

Conversely, a wealth of these features can make your customer service team 167% more effective, according to Forrester. To evaluate thoroughly and select the one that will empower your team, here are some questions that you can ask. 

1. Does it integrate with our CRM?

Today’s care teams need a full view of their customer on a single screen. Agents can’t afford to add another tool to their technology stack that doesn’t speak to the others – the last thing they need is more complexity.

Be sure that the one you’ve selected can sync cross-channel customer engagement data bi-directionally, write to CRM records, and do it in as close to real-time as possible.  

2. Was it built with social in mind? 

The best social care tools are purpose-built for customer service. “Social” is a big world, after all, and not all solutions are up to the task:  Social listening, posting, and marketing automation tools might all sound appealing because your marketing team already uses them, but that’s because they’re built for marketers who value one-to-many communication. They fall short at integrating customer historical interaction data, threading conversations, and supporting more than a few users.

Customer service platforms on the other hand are designed for teams of agents juggling multiple one-to-one conversations, provide role-based permissions, automatically refresh content, and automate workflows to provide consistent and high quality interactions and resolution. 

If you want effective resolutions, you’ll need a purpose-built social care platform. 

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3. Can it provide resolution in-channel? 

In-channel resolution is key to satisfaction. According to American Express, 65% of customers say that in-channel resolution is the most important aspect of good customer service and according to McKinsey, those customers who start and end their service journey on social have a satisfaction rate 15 percentage points higher than those who are deflected to legacy channels. 

Will your platform support this? 

If it doesn’t, the reason is likely that its security encryption technology is insufficient, meaning that it can’t handle personally identifiable information (PII). Agents on these platforms are forced to deflect customers to the phone or social, after which Conversocial finds that 76% of interactions go cold.

If your team wants to compete, ask for in-channel resolution. Learn about our social authentication feature to support in-channel resolution and make channel deflection a part of history. 

4. Are there advanced features to grow into? 

Look for tools that go above and beyond in the typical feature set. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and the big messaging apps do more than just open-up their data to developers: they provide API tools that allow social care platforms to engineer highly custom solutions and some of these providers are more innovative than others. 

Conversocial, for example, has developed a tool which allows consumer peer-to-peer resolutions, saving agents time and building a thriving self-sufficient community called CROWDS. Another tool called Twitter DM Dispatcher allows brands to monitor public tweets and take them to direct message.

What corner cases does your platform have you covered on? 

5. How smooth is the on boarding process? 

Good platforms will make getting started easy and increase your long-term chances of success. There are three parts to effective on-boarding: technology, training, and support. The best platforms will be simple and intuitive enough that agents need not spend hours with training videos or special certification courses but will have access to them and an account manager if need be. 

Check reviews or ask for references among colleagues and seek out platforms that invest in their customers’ success and strive for mutual value. Learn about how our Fast Start program can get you up and running on social in a hurry. 

Evaluating software is never a walk in the park but the more and the better questions you can field in your discovery process, the greater headaches you’ll save down the road.

And of course, this list is not exhaustive – what else do you look for in a top social care solution?

To learn more about how to servce the Social, Mobile customer in 2017, download our Definitive Guide today. 

Check reviews or ask for references among colleagues and seek out platforms that invest in their customers’ success and strive for mutual value.

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