7 Strategic Things to Consider Before you Choose After-Sales Service Management CRM Solution

| March 8, 2011

In today’s age of consumerism, Warranty/Service/Repair Management has become more challenging and critically important than ever. Where the marketplace is flooded with bouquet of equally good products, under-performance of after-sales service operations can delude the customers from buying your products and cause substantial opportunity loss.

Choosing the right after-sales Service Management Solution can be challenging; especially when multiple run-of-the-mill Customer Service Management providers fail to bridge the gap between business units, service channel, third-party service providers and end-customers. To help you manage your after-sales business processes effectively, this article focuses on 7 key strategies you should consider before choosing your service management solution.

1. Know Your Business Requirements

Evaluating your business needs is the first right step towards choosing a Customer Service Management CRM. What do you want from your service software? How do you want to improve after-sales service, minimize overhead costs associated with sales, or decrease the turn-around-around of repair process? Do you want to pay your vendors through the system? Or do you want to gather the customer data and repair history data for any future improvisation in the business process or do you want to integrate any 3rd party analytical tool for some customer behavior research? A step by step evaluation & analysis will help you simplify the buying process and proper utilization of the system.

2. Scalability and Usability

Checking for the scalability and usability of Customer Service Management CRM is crucial. So, check whether the proposed CRM system would help you to meet newer business processes that may arise in future. Is the system easy to upgrade? Also check the suitability of the software. Meaning, how far the software is suitable to be used as it is, without having to make any major changes.

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3. IT Resources

How much strain will the Customer Service Management Software put on your IT team? You require a competent IT team to tackle the implementation and maintenance of either the web-based or offline application. If you are short of the technical staff that can troubleshoot errors, you must pause and re-think. The right move would be to choose a CRM vendor who offers the Customer Service Management CRM with AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) and has a strong after-sales support team and process in place. This shall help you ease yourself from the stress of implementation, maintenance and also be cost-effective.

4. Technology Infrastructure

Make sure whether you want to integrate the Customer Service CRM with any other ERP or accounting software you might be using. Ask your Service CRM vendor if the software will enable you to continue leveraging your existing software and integration is easy between the different systems. At times, you may get a service management system that already has important modules that can take care of functions which are currently done by legacy software. In such case, a complete shift from the current to the new system shall be very useful but proper study should be done before going ahead with the decision, because at times unforeseen technical challenges can be showstoppers.

5. Industry-Specific Experience

Howsoever suitable the software may appear, check if the vendor you are choosing has the right mix of experience & know-how about businesses similar to yours. Have they implemented such software specifically for your industry? A vendor who has an understanding of your business line would be better able to structure your processes to maximize the value of the Customer Service Management Software.

6. Complexity of Business Processes

Another important criterion of selecting a Customer Service Management Software is to evaluate how complex are your service models. For example, if you are a mobile handset manufacturer, looking for a Service Management System vendor, analyze if you want to make the CRM available to your ASPs (Authorized Service Partners) and/or other business partners like suppliers. This will help you to gain a thorough understanding of what kind of features/modules would befit your business needs.

7. The Software Cost

Finding a right balance of affordability and functionality could be challenging. Cost of the Customer service management CRM may depend on several factors including the extent of customization required, 3rd party integrations, and the complexity of system modules/features. Determine your specific needs and how much you can spend as per your business model and what ROI can be built out of that in a given time-period before finalizing with the short-listing process.

If you cannot invest in fixed cost CRM models, you can also look-out for vendors who offer SaaS model (software-as-a-service) which can help you keep your expenses controlled and without much risk. Saas Model is more suitable for start-up businesses because you pay as you grow and you get everything (after-sales support, hosting, maintenance, software upgrades) pre-packaged and pay no other additional recurring cost except the monthly license cost.

Choosing the right Customer Service Management Software can mean the difference between success and failure of your CRM & MIS initiative. Though, there can be many more things that can be considered, if you are assessing these seven areas, you will be at least be confident about your decision and will not burn your monies on a solution which may appear to be very lucrative but a mis-match to your business processes.

About the Author:

Rakesh Kumar is a business consultant of Zed Service™. Zed Service™ is a leading service management software in India. Zed Service™ has lots of innovative features including repair management software, customer services software etc. To know more visit our website www.service-management-software.net now!

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