There are many issues that can cause headaches to businesses today. Some of them are uncontrollable: weather, a bad case of the flu spreading among workers and rising costs fall into this category. Other headaches are self-inflicted: poor managers who cause high turnover among employees, insufficient training and injudicious software purchases are some of these. The latter point – bad software purchase – is something that every company has experience with, at least at some point in their history. A solution salesperson dazzled a buyer with bells and whistles and obfuscated the drawbacks. Management didn’t have time to vet the purchase, instead choosing to believe the promises in the brochure. Alternatively, the product may have worked as promised, but it simply didn’t fit the needs of the workers who would be using it.
While bad software purchases area always a drain on a company, some are worse than others, particularly when it involves customer-facing applications such as the contact center or the help desk. A software solution that’s a poor fit can exacerbate problems in customer support, rendering an already challenging task nearly impossible. It shouldn’t be that difficult to judiciously pick software solutions, as long as a company is willing to do a little homework. For starters, it needs to carefully collect feedback from the people who will be using the solution. What are their current processes? Where could improvements be made? What are their biggest roadblocks when helping customers? What features common to the solutions being considered don’t they need? Will the solution make their jobs easier, or harder?
It seems like a no-brainer, but far too many companies purchase software under the recommendations of a committee or board that really doesn’t understand the task for which the software is intended. Another huge mistake companies make when purchasing software is failing to consider any regulatory requirements that may be involved, according to Chloe Green blogging for Information Age.
“Do you need HIPAA compliance if you are a hospital or healthcare organization? You will need this certification if you are handing patient/private health information or PHI,” wrote Green. “Also, do you need a Business Associates Agreement (BAA) from the vendor? Many state and country laws require this. Do you need PCI (News - Alert) compliance? You will need this certification if you are handling credit card information.”
With input from employees and information about regulatory requirements, companies can then begin to make a list of requirements and begin the process of requesting proposals. It’s important, however, to differentiate between what your company needs and doesn’t need – no matter how “cool” the features are.
“Many independent research studies conclude that only approximately 10 percent of features are used in most software or cloud services,” wrote Green. “That is a telling and compelling statistic to encourage your team to further prioritize your list of requirements.”
In fact, unnecessary features can overly complicate the solution and make it more difficult for workers to adjust it. Even worse, employees who feel the new solution is too complex may simply opt not to use it, which could be a disaster for customer relationships. Do consider vendor reputations, and seek out your own unbiased reviews from customers already using the products. From here, you’ll be ready to present the executive offices with a solid request for a solution that will work for your organization, and your customers.
Edited by Maurice Nagle