To get the maximum ROI on a software purchase, a small business has to successfully implement the adoption of the new software. This challenge is even harder when it comes to customer experience software, since providing an excellent customer experience is a fundamental part of remaining competitive.
Small businesses need to have a concrete plan for customer service software implementation. If they fail to do so, they’ll experience lower ROI caused by underutilized software and customer churn.
In this report, we review Salesforce Service Cloud as a reference example of customer experience software from GetApp’s directory. Salesforce Service Cloud is a cloud-based customer support solution offering common features such as:
- Live agent web chat
- A customizable agent console
- Web and email case capture
- Workflow and approval automation
- Agent and team collaboration.
Things to do before you begin implementation
Before you start implementing customer experience software, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Have a system administrator in place who is responsible for customer experience system customization and ongoing development, user maintenance and training, customer data management, and relationship management.
2. Choose a single point of contact (SPOC) and train them on implementation first. The SPOC will be the person who understands the impact of customer experience software on the current business processes and can effectively communicate these advantages to the organization.
3. Prepare a realistic timeline for project start date, estimated database transition, and the go live date before you begin the implementation. Factor in buffer days for delays to prevent budget and time overrun.
4. Prepare a core team or identify key stakeholders who can discuss migration questions with the Salesforce Service Cloud team to ensure that the database is migrated correctly and security is maintained. A centralized team or group of key stakeholders can also make concrete and informed decisions without slowing down the implementation process.
5. Gradually begin the transition post-implementation with key stakeholders in customer-centric departments at your organization. This will also help you identify the number of users you need to give access to, and who should have which levels of data permissions.
Accelerator 1: Ensure a concrete company-wide communication strategy
Why: Small businesses often struggle with collaboration and clarity of vision. To address this challenge, have a concrete communication strategy to inform employees about the benefits of new customer experience software and how it will improve business processes and operations. This will boost engagement among your staff and confidence in the new system.
Here’s how: These steps will help you develop an effective company-wide communication strategy:
- List the exact problems customer experience software would solve for your business: Diagnose the customer related problems your small business is facing. Include company and market reports, examples and insights from customer cases to provide real solutions to real problems using customer experience software to convey to your organization.
- Avoid communication overload and give employees time to adjust to the change: Don’t tell your employees too little or too much about changes to the system and processes at once. They need time to understand and integrate your vision.
- Inspire action: Encourage adoption with a clearly articulated plan for implementation and change in business processes. Inspire action with rewards and accountability for software adoption within teams.
- Use the right channels: Communicate the vision behind implementation process using the right channels such as company-wide town halls followed by specific team meetings that set clear agendas for individuals and teams.
- Encourage collaboration and communication: Promote transparency and involvement by allowing customer-facing departments to share feedback and collaborate on insights about the tool.
Accelerator 2: Go back to the needs document during implementation
Why: Documenting business needs is critical to both software selection and its successful implementation. Having a needs document as a single source of truth for users during the software implementation process will help your teams understand the benefits of the new software, better train themselves, and optimize their use of the software.
Here’s how: An effective software needs document outlines the product’s purpose, features, functions, and the behaviors required from your teams.
- Leverage use case scenarios to strengthen your users’ knowledge base: Use case scenarios help explain procedural and process related issues that users may encounter. Should such issues arise, users will be able to quickly identify them.
- Understand customer requirements versus software capabilities: A needs document should demonstrate the alignment of customer needs with particular software features.
- Utilize user insights to create a process document: Recording challenges and insights experienced during the software implementation process can help create a multi-purpose reference document for users down the road.
- Know the essential integrations and add-ons: A needs document should software integrations and add-ons that are essential to business processes. Ensure that your team understands their capabilities and benefits during implementation stage.
Accelerator 3: Boost adoption of implementation with an engagement strategy
Why: Developing a positive engagement strategy for customer experience software adoption is critical to ensuring the success of your software implementation plan. Before starting the implementation process, have an engagement strategy in place to ensure that your team is motivated to adopt and learn the new system.
Here’s how: A successful engagement strategy to boost implementation and adoption includes incentives at two levels—adoption of implementation processes and benefits of successful deployment/usage of software:
- Offer benefits for successful adoption: Monitor how your staff reacts to the training process and adjusts to new ways of working. One way to motivate users to learn and adopt the new software is to find early adopters and identify them as go-to resources who can help other staff members experiencing challenges.
- Measure the impact of adoption to reward wins: Create benchmarks of team-specific goals to measure the growth and impact generated by each team. Measure their progress and reward the wins to keep all your teams engaged.
Next steps and additional resources:
Here are some things that can help you further aid the implementation process for customer service software, such as Salesforce Service Cloud:
- Check out user training demos and follow Salesforce updates about new releases, best practices and known issues offered by Salesforce Service Cloud.
- Go through the FAQs section on the Salesforce Service Cloud website to understand the precise way in which the tool can help customer service through its capabilities.
- Reach out for expert help from Salesforce Accelerators to optimize software usage with customized reports and dashboard.
To learn more about customer experience tools, check out some of these resources:
NOTE: We conducted this survey in April-May 2017 among 699 US-based SMBs, with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded not-for-profit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision makers, or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.