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A buyer’s guide to choosing a customer communications platform

Innovation and sales performance isn’t a given, but it’s not hard to achieve, either. As consumers demand the same level of experience across all communication channels, the market is changing rapidly. To keep up with market demands, more than 80% of companies are shifting to multi- or omnichannel platforms and it can be difficult to know which product is best suited for your company’s needs.

A modern customer contact platform should enable your support team to handle large amounts of customer inquiries smoothly and efficiently. Easier, faster communication with your clients leads to higher customer satisfaction, more cross- and upsell opportunities, and creating customers for life. Additionally, the ease of use for your live agents allows for better collaboration which increases performance and agent experience. It’s a win-win!

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the 10 essential features to look for in a customer contact platform. Here they are in no particular order:

1. User-friendly interface:

For the best agent productivity and experience, you’ll want a customer contact platform that has a user-friendly interface. If your team can easily navigate the platform, they can more quickly and efficiently provide top notch service to your customers.

Starting a free trial or asking for a pilot of the platform will help you make sure that the interface fits both you and your team’s needs. Believing is seeing after all.

2. Available channels:

With so many messaging channels out there, it’s important to be clear on your needs. What are your customers’ preferred channels? Is there room to add more channels as your customer base grows?

Your customers’ preferences can include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, or Google Business messaging, among others. They can also include email and phone calls. Make sure the provider you choose has a variety of available channels to make sure that you’re leaving space for growth.

Saysimple offers a wide range of messaging channels and is consistently adding new ones! Check the overview to see which channels we accommodate.

3. Unified inbox:

Perhaps one of the most important features is the unified inbox. With a customer contact platform, you want to make sure that your agents can simultaneously initiate and respond to customer contact without having to toggle between different inboxes for each separate channel.

You can even create teams, build workflows and work together to help customers faster. A unified inbox also helps you keep a helicopter view of what’s going on with your team and your customers.

4. Internal communication:

In order to provide the best customer service, your team needs to be able to communicate seamlessly from within the platform, too. To ensure this, check and see if the platform in question allows team members to assign messages to colleagues and/or collaborate on more difficult customer inquiries. Good communication within the team will lead to a better collaboration and service experience on both sides!

5. Automation:

Make sure that the platform you choose facilitates automation to keep your customer service department running efficiently. This will allow you to be available to your customers 24/7 with chatbots, welcome messages, quick and auto replies, and message templates.

Enable customers who give you a call to skip the phone queues and hop directly into a chat conversation with a live agent with call deflection. And always make sure that customers are matched with the right agent with the smart routing feature.

6. Analytics:

A complete customer contact platform also includes analytics so you can measure your KPIs, have more insight into peak volumes, and recognise and anticipate patterns. Analytics can also help you gain insights on where your agents need more support so you can optimize your scheduling/planning. Bonus points to a customer contact platform that gives you real-time measurements of your KPIs and allows you to export metric reports straight from the dashboard. Having this information is vital to keep track of daily incoming and outgoing messages, improve your reaction speed, and track your team’s productivity as they strive to hit their targets. The possibilities are endless!

7. Integrations:

You want to make sure that your team can easily access all the customer information they need – like order history and delivery status – without having to switch between multiple systems. That’s why integrations are essential! Find a customer contact platform that allows you to integrate your existing business tools like CRM, payment provider and scheduling tools; or even all of the above.

8. Security:

Security is important for both you and your customer base. Does it provide secure services like single sign-on (SSO) and two factor authentication (2FA)? Does it have end-to-end encryption and IP whitelisting? Is it GDPR compliant? To minimise any and all risk, ask providers for their security specifications before agreeing to sign with them.

9. Future-proofing:

You want to make sure that the service provider you choose is as future-conscious as you are. Don’t be afraid to ask what their most recent update included, what they have in the works, and what their future roadmap includes. You want to make sure that whatever provider you choose is transparent about their development and eager to bring you along on the ride.

10. Good customer service:

This last one is a no brainer: choose a platform that provides good customer service! Look for companies who are ready to onboard your business and train your team immediately. See if they have customer success managers who will support your success and growth, like by helping you set your KPIs. Make sure you’ll have access to product specialists you can trust to help you make the best use of the platform.

These are just 10 essential features that you should be looking for in a customer contact platform, but there are certainly other things you want to look into. For instance, making sure that the product team provides sufficient implementation support, demos, and training for use of the platform. Above all, you want a customer contact platform that will help your team provide the best service for your customers.

For more information on the aforementioned features, tips, and tricks, contact us today.

 

Saysimple Customer Communications Platform Checklist

Saysimple Customer Communications Platform Checklist