Customer service solutions: Choosing the best software for your business

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A business owner searching for a good customer service solutions for his business

What are customer service solutions?

Customer service solutions are products or services that businesses use to gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and expectations. They work to streamline and improve customer communications, therefore increasing customer satisfaction. Organizations that use them are more likely to increase brand loyalty and profitability.

What is the definition of good customer service?

Good customer service typically means providing timely, attentive, upbeat support to a customer. It involves making sure their needs are met in a manner that reflects positively on the company. Whether you’re a large or small business, it’s vital to make positive customer interactions a priority. It’s particularly important in a call center or contact center.

How can you improve customer service efficiency?

Customer service is all about meeting the requirements of your customers. Customer satisfaction is achieved when the service matches or exceeds their expectations. You need to understand their needs, their customer stories, and the customer journey. 

These elements are key to improving your customer success strategy and unlocking ultimate customer happiness. In order to work out how to best deliver personalized service, you must understand the customer journey and their expectations. 

Customers often dislike the long wait when it comes to getting a reply about their query or issue. It’s important to keep response times as short as possible and work to resolve issues quickly. Getting customers routed to the right agent who can solve their problem the first time is also critical. So making sure that agents provide immediate acknowledgment of queries is key to maintaining a good customer relationship. 

In order to keep customers happy, have your agents acknowledge the receipt of the complaint as quickly and efficiently as possible. And, when possible, also provide a timeline for them to expect a resolution, if not immediate (The importance of quick response times cannot be overstated).

What are the 3 most important things in customer service?

There are many elements that make up great customer service. But these three are vital for maintaining good customer relationships.

1. Effective listening
Staff should be trained in listening effectively. Listening isn’t and should not be just hearing the words your customers are saying. It's about taking the time to truly understand their issues. Your agents need to let customers know they’re paying attention and then respond with empathy.

2. Supporting multiple channels

Customers interact in different ways; they want to engage with businesses in a way that suits their everyday habits. They want to be supported through asynchronous communications on all channels, sometimes using multiple channels to escalate the same query. This means you’ll have inquiries coming in through phone calls, email, live chat, social media, and maybe even in person.

A good omnichannel CRM is equipped to handle this challenge on customer communication. It can integrate ticket sources and make customer information available to all agents. This is the case no matter what channel is being used.
3. Adaptability
When working directly with customers, no two experiences are ever exactly the same. Customer service agents need flexible software tools to respond to a variety of situations.

What are the 5 steps of customer service?

While every interaction is different, there are some core steps that you can follow to provide excellent customer service.

1. Store and reference customer data.

This is important in any environment, but particularly in a multichannel customer environment. Customers get annoyed when they have to repeat information to different agents on different platforms.

This process can be tricky when it comes to an omnichannel or multichannel environment. However, streamlining these channels should be a top priority for any business. This can be achieved by ensuring all agents have easy access to all customer data.

2. Understand what the customer wants.

Remember, all customers are different. Finding what each one wants is best done by communicating effectively with them.

It's important to understand the customer journey. You then need to recognize where each customer is in their journey and respond accordingly. Keep in mind that your customers’ needs may change over a period of time. Customer service experiences should evolve as your customer's needs change.

3. Ensure staff have in-depth product knowledge

Customer service will suffer if agents do not have adequate product knowledge. Equip your customer support agents with the knowledge needed to answer customer inquiries. This will increase their confidence when they resolve issues no matter how complex these may be. Having more confident agents leads to reduced resolution times and helps in increasing customer satisfaction levels.

4. Timely escalation

Issues need to be escalated promptly if they are beyond the scope of the individual agent. Ensure there's a structured escalation policy in place. This will help clear any doubts agents may have on escalating issues.

Customers don’t like being passed around multiple agents, so a structured approach ensures that the initial escalation can resolve their problem.

5. Follow up with your customers

Once the customer’s issue is resolved, make sure to check-in to see if everything is working smoothly. It's important to gain their feedback on the service. Feedback provides useful insights into service quality and how it can be improved. It also helps in leaving a positive impression on the customer.

Types of customer service software solutions

There is a wide range of customer engagement and management software solutions available. Here are a few main types of customer support software that can benefit a business.

Live chat window through social media, support website, or mobile app.

Live chat software is a very efficient way to solve customer issues in real-time. This can be done through social media platforms (thru desk software, mobile app, or browser) or through the website.

For website visitors, for example, the most basic questions like pricing inquiries or requests for a contact phone number can easily be answered by AI live chat support software. For more complex customer questions, it’s possible to offer a scheduled call with a human agent.

The live chat software can also offer a great opportunity to automate workflows. Often, queries can be answered based on previously created canned responses. These are then delivered through web chat using automation.

Potential customer using the live chat feature

Phone Support

A phone conversation is still an effective way to tackle customer complaints. It's especially important for high-stakes issues. A standard phone system won’t have the functionality you need. Luckily, there are software solutions for customer service that offer features for phone support, such as:

  • Call recording
  • Smart internal routing
  • Automatic ticket creation
  • Access to the full customer history

Email

Customers still regularly rely on their email in order to communicate with companies. This is because it can be used and accessed by a global customer base. Email has an advantage over phone calls for contact centers that don’t operate 24/7, allowing for asynchronous conversation.

Remember: emails need to be professional and grammatically correct, otherwise customers may doubt your reputation. It’s often worth having templates in place to make this easier.

Knowledge base

Customer support teams can empower customers to use self-service by having a knowledge base. This works by providing customer support through a resource center of information that may include how-to articles and FAQs.

By encouraging the use of customer self-service, you can speed up query resolution and save customers’ time. It’s also a great way of saving time for agents to focus on more complicated queries. 

Support teams can only benefit from customer self-service if they have the right tools to both create the knowledge base and ensure it’s up-to-date. Some solutions come in the form of AI, which can flag when a topic is out-of-date and needs to be updated.

Messaging apps

The increase in popular messaging channels has changed the way that people get in touch. This convenience factor has made its way to customer service, making it easier for customers to connect with companies whenever they need help. You can make the most out of it by using messaging apps to ensure happy customers.

Customer support software allows customers to use the messaging channels they're used to. This can include SMS messaging and social media platforms.

Customer using the messaging app to reach a company’s call center

Ticket system

A ticketing system processes and catalogs customer requests. Tickets need to be properly stored alongside relevant user information, so agents can better understand customer issues and resolve them quickly and more efficiently. It’s important that the ticketing system is user-friendly for customer service representatives, managers, and administrators.

Ticketing systems allow agents to prioritize queries, assign them based on agent skill, and keep track of what resolution stage they’re at. They’re also a great source of information for creating a knowledge base and pulling data to monitor certain metrics.

How to choose customer support or help desk software

It’s important to find the best customer service software for your business. There are a few things to bear in mind when evaluating customer service solutions. Consider the following questions to decide whether a system is right for you:

  1. Is this customer service management software easy to implement?
  2. Does your call center or contact center need an all-in-one solution?
  3. Will that software solution allow your business to scale up seamlessly as it grows?
  4. Will it store customer information for easy access by all staff?
  5. Does it fit with your existing workflows?
  6. Will it provide your customer service team with video calling and other collaboration tools?
  7. Does it come with analytics and reporting capabilities?
  8. Is it customizable to your needs?
  9. <H3> Does it integrate with your telephony system?
Customer service agents at work

How to provide a customized experience (for both agents and customers)

The best customer support solutions are configurable to support any workflow. They’re powerful enough to handle the most complex business but flexible enough to scale at any pace. They should also come with top features to enable your agents and customer service team to customize their workspace.

The best customer care is to personalize customer interactions where possible. Business analytics is a great help to get to know your customers. It tracks their usage and interaction with your business, in addition to their given feedback. 

Previous purchase history, their past interactions with you, and demographic details should influence the customer experience you provide. This could involve ensuring they speak to someone who speaks the same language or checking in on how they’re finding a product they bought from you.

You should have no problem providing a customized experience for both your customers and agents if you have the right customer service solution. This should work well whether you’re into retail, project management, real estate, or any other industry.

How about giving RingCentral Engage Digital a try? Click on the button below to learn how this brilliant customer service platform works.