As more cloud-based technologies become available and their security and functionality improves, more companies are moving to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for all of their enterprise applications. The use of online software for customer service has lagged slightly behind its use in other areas, but it is catching up. According to a Forrester Research survey, at the end of last year, only 15% of companies had moved most or all of their customer service and support to the cloud. However, an additional 14% planned to add some cloud-based tools over the next two years.
Customer service itself has traditionally been an area where development has been slow, but new cloud technologies are speeding innovation. An article earlier this year in CRM Magazine characterized the situation thus: “Until recently, customer service trends have been slow moving, because the technology has historically been expensive and cumbersome to upgrade. However, hosted solutions mitigate both of these concerns. Therefore, expect to see more contact centers rely on cloud-based technologies.”
With the introduction of a variety of new customer service tools, including CRM software, FAQ software, and help desk software, many companies are starting to realize the benefits of cloud computing. Below are five major advantages of adopting cloud-based customer service software.
Helping small businesses act like large ones
Small business owners, and their employees, often wear many hats. Between ordering and purchasing, sales and marketing, and running all other aspects of the business, it can be difficult for small businesses to give their customers the personalized attention they want and deserve. Cloud-based technologies can help small businesses streamline their customer service processes, with the result that no matter what their size, companies can provide comprehensive customer support.
Reducing customer service costs
Businesses looking to cut costs often do so by reducing the number of customer service agents and the amount of support they provide. This, however, can often be a false economy as customers who are not satisfied with the service they receive often end up going somewhere else to make their purchases. Cloud-based software is usually much less expensive than traditional installed software, and it doesn’t require any in-house maintenance, so companies can save on their customer service costs without sacrificing any quality.
Backing up data automatically
How regularly do you backup your customer data? Hopefully the answer is “very regularly,” but even with frequent backups, you may find yourself in a bind if your system unexpectedly goes down. When you use SaaS, backups are done automatically, both reducing the amount of time you need to spend worrying about it and ensuring that you have uninterrupted access to your data, even if you have tech troubles on site.
Providing unlimited scalability
For most businesses, one of the main objectives is growth. As you look into the future, how will you handle the increased number of customers, transactions, and support tickets that you will hopefully have? Cloud-based customer service tools allow for unlimited scalability, often at an only slightly higher cost.
Integrating with other enterprise software solutions
While the first four benefits on this list are important, this last one is invaluable. One of the biggest challenges for customer-facing employees in many organizations is that they need to use multiple applications, which is not only inefficient, but can also result in less-than-satisfactory experiences for customers. Online customer service applications are able to integrate with other enterprise applications in a way that most traditional software is not. This means you can finally keep all of your customer information in the same place, and that this information can be easily accessed and used to improve strategic decision-making, inform marketing campaigns, and much more.
If your company isn’t one of the almost 30% currently using or considering using SaaS for your customer service applications, it’s time to rethink your approach.