P E R F E C T Q U E
Customer Support Team

Selecting a Customer Support system is about understanding your business needs and then applying a systematic evaluation approach to select the Best Fit. Whether you are a Startup, E-commerce, or a SaaS company, we all need a customer support system that will help our customers adopt our product and make it an essential part of their customer journey.

During my software engineering career I often had to evaluate various software solutions based on our company needs and then selecting one based on a weighing system. I used the same principles when selecting or buying solutions for PerfectQue with one thing in mind – Remote Accessibility of Applications.

Before you start the evaluation process it is important to Understand your Business Needs.

Understand Your Business Needs

Understanding your business needs and how you want to support your customers is critical for the success of an organization.

What Goals we want to Achieve with the Customer Support System:

Usually there are multiple requirements when you are trying to select a system with one common goal: Responding to Customer Queries in a shortest possible time without impacting or denting their customer experience.

Basic Requirements

These basic requirements then become part of our evaluation criteria.

  • Reduce dependency on an in-house email system without CRM back-end.
  • Have a system which will enable us to respond to customers on various social channels
  • Have a system which is easy to use and has a robust reporting system.
  • Enable our users to create support tickets if they cannot find information in existing knowledge base, community forums or FAQ.

Current Customer Support System Needs

Create a list of the features that you need currently which will get you started immediately without much configuration. However, it is important to understand the basic configurations and limitations. You don’t want to be in a position where you have configured the system in such a way that it limits your ability to modify your processes in the future.

For Example, Given below is the list of my current needs which a Customer Support System should have to be on my evaluation list.

  1. Ease of Creating a Ticket
  2. Web and Mobile Interface
  3. Ability to create Workflows or use pre-configured Workflows
  4. Integration with Phone Systems
  5. Integration with CRM Systems
  6. Reporting

Future Customer Support System Needs

As the organizations mature and move towards a self serve model to empower its users your organization will be looking to leverage its existing systems. Therefore, its important to see what features you might need in future and what the product roadmap looks like.

Example of two features that your organization might need in the future can include:

  1. Integrated FAQ and Knowledge Base
  2. Integration or API to create Software Defects

Reporting

All the systems will allow you to create tickets, respond to customers, and provide a certain level of customizations. To me the critical aspect of the system is the Reporting.

This is one thing that the Management looks at and it is also needed by you for Operational Efficiency. If a system has a poor reporting structure or is of the type which limits creating or customizing reports then I will be reluctant to invest in such a solution.

  • What pre-configured reports can be generated?
  • Does the system provide ability to run customized Queries?
  • Can you run SQL queries directly (power users)?
  • Can the delivery of these reports be automated?

Evaluation Criteria

Given below are 10 points that you can use to start the selection process of a customer support system.

  1. Ease of Creating a Ticket
  2. Ticket Assignment to different Groups
  3. Web and Mobile Interface
  4. Ability to create Workflows or use pre-configured Workflows
  5. Ability to create different support ticket types/categories
  6. Integrated FAQ and Knowledge Base
  7. Integration with CRM Systems
  8. Phone System Integration
  9. Out of the Box Reporting and Customization
  10. Integration or API to create Software Defects

Creating Use Cases or Scenarios

Once you have set your evaluation criteria the next step is to create use cases which you will perform in each customer support system that you are evaluating.

If a solution meets your criteria assign a 1 otherwise assign a 0.

Use Cases for Ease of Creating a Ticket:

Use Cases Ease of Creating a Ticket Solution A Solution B Solution C
         
1.0 User is able to create a profile in less than 3 steps 1 1 0
1.1 Creating a support ticket is simple and intuitive 1 0 1
1.2 Automated Notification is Received by the user with a URL to the ticket created 1 1 1
1.3 Ability to attach Supporting Documents to the support Request 1 1 1
  Total Points 4 3 3

Similarly, you can create Use Cases for other features that you are evaluating. Once you have performed your evaluation and have totalled the points for each evaluation criteria the next step is to multiply these points with the weights you assign to each requirement.

Weights Assigned to Functionality based on Business Need

Assign a Weight of 1 – 10 to each evaluation criteria. 10 being the highest meaning that this evaluation criterion is very important.

Evaluation Criteria Weight Assigned Solution A Points * Weight Solution B Solution C
Ease of Creating a Ticket   10 4 * 10 = 40 3 * 10 = 30 3 * 10 = 30
Ticket Assignment to different Groups   9 4 * 9 = 36 3 * 9 = 27 3 * 9 = 27
Web and Mobile Interface   10 4 * 10 = 40 4 * 10 = 40 4 * 10 = 40
Ability to create Workflows or use pre-configured Workflows   7 4 * 7 = 28 3* 7 = 21 3* 7 = 21
Ability to create different support ticket types/categories   10 4 * 10 = 40 4 * 10 = 40 4 * 10 = 40
Integrated FAQ and Knowledge Base   6 4 * 6 = 24 4 * 6 = 24 4 * 6 = 24
Integration with CRM Systems 9 4 * 9 = 36 4 * 9 = 36 4 * 9 = 36
Phone System Integration   7 4 * 7 = 28 3 * 7 = 21 4 * 7 = 28
Out of the Box Reporting and Customization   8 4 * 8 = 32 4 * 8 = 32 4 * 8 = 32
Integration or API to create Software Defects   5 4 * 5 = 20 3 * 5 = 15 4 * 5 = 20
Total Points   324 286 298

How Does the Licensing Work?

The SaaS has changed the world and has made it easier for us to test drive a product before making the decision to purchase it. Most of the companies offer a 14 days free trail and if that time is not sufficient for you to evaluate ask the sales teams to increase the length of the trial period so you can evaluate the solution in more detail.

Business Decision:

Once you have gone through the evaluation criteria the total points will tell you which software solution is best based on the maximum points. However, if the margin between the solutions is low then you can consider other factors into decision:

  1. Licensing Cost
  2. Customer Support
  3. Future Product Roadmap
  4. # of Years company has been in Business
  5. Online Reviews

Customer Support System Evaluation

To test my methodology, I created four use cases and decided to test the following customer support software solutions. After this simple evaluation where I was not willing to spend more than 20 minutes of my time, I would say HubSpot is my choice.

  1. HubSpot
  2. Freshdesk
  3. Zendesk
  4. Intercom   (Did not have to time to test drive Intercom)

You can also use these websites to see customer reviews for different customer support software

Hubspot

Being a techy at heart not interested in reading documentation and trying to figure out while setting up I was impressed how simple and logical the steps were.

Use Cases for Ease of Creating a Ticket:

Use Cases Ease of Creating a Ticket Hubspot Points
       
1.0 User is able to create a profile in less than 3 steps Easy to Create Profile and start with the free version immediately. 1
1.1 Creating a support ticket is simple and intuitive The interface was very intuitive and simple to follow 1
1.2 Automated Notification is Received by the user when a ticket created Very Simple and Easy to Configure 1
1.3 Ability to attach Supporting Documents to the support Request Easy to create forms that can be integrated into your website and supporting documents can be attached 1
  Total Points   4

Freshdesk

Use Cases for Ease of Creating a Ticket:

Use Cases Ease of Creating a Ticket Hubspot Points
       
1.0 User is able to create a profile in less than 3 steps Simple to create a profile to start using the system. 1
1.1 Creating a support ticket is simple and intuitive The interface was very intuitive and simple to follow 1
1.2 Automated Notification is Received by the user when a ticket created Very Simple and Easy to Configure 1
1.3 Ability to attach Supporting Documents to the support Request through a Support Ticket Web Form that can be integrated into your website Needs a little more effort when compared with Hubspot 0
  Total Points   3

Zendesk

Use Cases for Ease of Creating a Ticket:

Use Cases Ease of Creating a Ticket Hubspot Points
       
1.0 User is able to create a profile in less than 3 steps Simple to create a profile to start using the system. 1
1.1 Creating a support ticket is simple and intuitive The interface was very intuitive and simple to follow 1
1.2 Automated Notification is Received by the user when a ticket created Very Simple and Easy to Configure 1
1.3 Ability to attach Supporting Documents to the support Request through a Support Ticket Web Form that can be integrated into your website You have to use formcraft to create form and then match fields with Zendesk 1
  Total Points   4

At PerfectQue we specialize in building customer support and customer on-boarding teams for our clients and use support systems that our clients are using internally. Our team in Europe consists of highly talented University graduates who possess excellent communication skills and have been working with North American clients for the last five years.