This week’s report is a new version of our Framework for Evaluating Customer Service Software Products. We plan to use the Framework to evaluate every type of customer service product within our current research—case management; knowledge management; virtual assistant; and social network monitoring, analysis, and interaction. These completed evaluations are available to our Customers.com Technology Advisory Service members. But this Framework has exceptional value for (and is available to) all readers, offering guidance in how to think about the customer service software that you need and implement. It points out why specific features are important and how to evaluate those features when selecting a solution that is right for your organization.
We had two goals for this new design. First, we wanted your evaluation, comparison, and selection processes to be simpler and faster. Second, we wanted shorter and more actionable Product Review Reports. The new Framework eliminates evaluation criteria that do not differentiate. For example, we no longer analyze and evaluate web content management for a product’s self-service and assisted-service UIs. These UIs have become a bit static. They’re configurable and localizable, but they’re no longer as customizable and manageable as they had been. The new Framework also decreases the number of factors (sub-criteria) that we consider within an evaluation criterion. For example, the Knowledge Management criterion now has two factors: Knowledge Model and Knowledge Management Services. The previous version of the Framework examined these and six others.
Customer Service Best Fit and Customer Service Technologies are the Framework’s two top-level evaluation criteria. Customer Service Best Fit presents information and analysis that classify and describe customer service software products. Customer Service Technologies examines the implementation of a product’s customer service applications. The graphic below shows the Framework, its top-level criteria, and their sub-criteria.
The Customer Service Best Fit criterion applies very nicely to any product. The application of the Customer Service Technologies criterion is product-type dependent. Look for our upcoming Product Review Report on Salesforce Service Cloud. It will be the first against the new Framework. Based on the draft of that report, the Framework works very nicely.
Framework for Evaluating Customer Service Software
Delivering Answers and Solutions; Creating and Resolving Cases
By Mitch Kramer, Senior Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, October 16, 2014
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