The customer is king these days. It’s no surprise, therefore, that there are more customer experience solutions and technologies on the market than ever before. According to research conducted by Market and Markets, the customer experience management market is projected to grow from an estimated USD 5.98 Billion in 2017 to USD 16.91 Billion by 2022. The market growth is primarily driven by the increasing adoption of customer experience management solutions to reduce the customer churn rate across the globe.
Investing in CX is essential. After all, in order to continuously improve, you need to be able to drive engagement, track results and analyse your sales funnel. But not all CX solutions are created equal – so how do you find the one that best fits your business?
These 4 steps will help you make the right choice, so you maximise return on your investment.
Step 1: Do your research
You need to do thorough research before you invest in any piece of software. And that means doing more than a quick internet search.
Word of mouth is still one of the most reliable ways to find out about software. Speak to friends, colleagues and business contacts to find out what they’re using. Find people who have used the technology you’re considering and ask what works and what doesn’t. What were the pitfalls? How much support did the vendor offer?
Online reviews can be a useful resource as well, but be wary of placing too much weight on them. If a vendor has a high number of online reviews, it’s often because they complete a higher volume of simple implementations. While this business model is fine for small and medium-sized businesses, if you need something more bespoke – for example, if you have a large number of legacy systems or deal with hundreds of thousands of customers – you’re going to want to see testimonials from customers similar to you.
Step 2: Make your shortlist
You’re unlikely to identify a clear winner from research alone, so make a shortlist of potential vendors and solutions, ranking them in order of suitability.
When making your shortlist, look beyond the off-the-shelf product. Look to see how customisable each is and how much experience the vendor has in delivering bespoke solutions. Scalability is also an important consideration. Where possible, you want a solution that will grow with your business, rather than one you’ll outgrow within a couple of years.
You also want to look at how long each vendor has been around. While working with start-ups has its benefits, in most situations you want to invest in vendors you know will be around in another 5 years. After all, the best software in the world isn’t worth much if the vendor is no longer around to support it.
Step 3: Request a demo
No matter how great the solution looks on paper, see a demo before you invest.
Where possible, a bespoke demo is always better because you see how the software will work for you rather than how it functions out of the box. So if your sales rep offers you a demo before they’ve asked you about your specific needs and challenges, walk away. It’s even better if you can get case studies and references, as well as negotiate a proof-of-concept (POC) trial or pilot.
Step 4: The proof is in the POC
The proof of concept (POC) is a vital stage in selecting the right software, as it allows you to see if your ideas translate into quantifiable results. POC should include real life examples and business impact statistics to help the decision process. Therefore, you are presented with the existing experience on how the solution truly works in your context without committing to lengthy contracts.
Before embarking on a POC trial, make sure you set clear KPIs. You need to know exactly what you want to get from the software to ascertain whether or not it meets your needs. You also need to make sure your vendor is aware of these KPIs, so they can set up and implement the software appropriately.
Some vendors are reluctant to agree to POCs since they can be time intensive, but as a customer, they’re vital. If your vendor won’t agree to them, then it’s a red flag as to the solution’s suitability.
Done your research? Made your shortlist? Book an Engage Hub demo.
Send us your details and we’ll be in touch to discuss your objectives and requirements – and arrange a time to show you how Engage Hub will help transform your customer experience while streamlining operations.