Enterprises and small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) have growing pressure to figure out the most effective and cost-efficient methods for servicing customers in an environment where the relationship engagement is rapidly changing. With the global proliferation of smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers, customer service has undergone â€œconsumerization.â€
Generally, customers have taken greater control of the customer service conversations and interactions. From apps for mobile devices to personalized setting and services stored on their devices, customer service is quickly changing.
Companies must have the flexibility to provide service on the customers’ terms and across the entire customer experience lifecycle.
Growing customer support capabilities
The growth of the Internet and mobile devices drives customer engagements. To get out in front of the demands of mobility and customer relationship management, companies must provide adequate customer support across multiple channels. Today, clients are just as just as likely to send an email or tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook as they are to contact the call center.
Regardless of the device or channel of communications, customers expect timely and informed responses in order to rapidly and effectively interact with clients across a range of channels, including:
- Social media
The customer support solution must provide a unified platform with capabilities for dynamic process management, superior workforce optimization and back office software integration Contact center agents must be able to deliver seamless, knowledgeable service, which results in high-quality interactions in every channel and at every touch point.
Considerations for choosing a CRM solution
It’s expensive to provide customer support for the variety of channels required to service customers. There is a constant need to introduce and assimilate technologies and processes with the existing customer care operations. The main challenge comes in implementing and managing these channels in a cost-effective manner without disrupting existing care processes.
When selecting a hosted or on-premise customer support solution, there really is no right or wrong answer. Since not all solutions work best on-site or in the cloud, CIOs must evaluate their needs as well as the pros and cons of each delivery model.
Here are some items to consider during the decision making process:
- Installation cost for new or replacement hardware and devices
- Management and installation of patches and upgrades
- Data back up
- Disaster recovery
- Testing to ensure proper operation and maximum performance
- IT staff expertise
Some enterprises choose to deploy customer relationship management software systems on-premises to avoid issues with customization and integrating with their existing infrastructure. They also maintain greater control and alleviate concerns about security.
These companies take on 100 percent asset ownership and risks’ hardware, software, IT staff and other costs. Increasingly, more organizations have made a strategic decision to move the CRM function to the cloud.
CRM in the cloud
Cloud computing is rapidly becoming a viable option for a portion or all of the IT needs of many organizations. In the Software as a Service (SaaS) segment, which Gartner estimates to be around $11 billion, 33 percent of the vertical consist of SaaS CRM. Web-based CRM applications provide customers a robustly scalable solution that is based on a subscription pricing model.
SMBs and enterprises are attracted by the rapid deployment, on-demand provisioning, predictable costs and low cost of ownership without the risks.
When deciding between on-site or cloud delivery models, the key is to implement a system that can be adapted to your business needs now and in the future. It must also make sense from a technical and security standpoint.