3. Making the business case for a customer support platform investment

3. Making the business case for a customer support platform investment
By Diana Potter | On Aug 11, 2021
4 min read
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Welcome back! In case you missed it, we’re doing a five-part series with Diana on how to know when you need a new support platform and how to make a decision about which one is the best fit for your team.

In our previous posts in this series, we talked about how to know when it’s time to adopt your first customer support platform or to consider upgrading your platform to a more robust solution. The next step is to make a business case to explain why your company should invest the time and money in moving to a new solution.

Making a platform change is never a unilateral decision, so you’ll need to get buy-in from the others in your team and company. How do you do that? Let’s take a look.

1. Be ready to articulate your reasons

You know why you want to move to a new solution, but you need to be able to explain it to everyone else. We recommend having at least three reasons that you can describe in detail and defend. For example, perhaps your current solution:

  • Can’t keep track of current customer requests. Your customer base and support volume are growing and eclipsing your ability to keep track of what’s happening in an efficient manner. Make sure you have some specific instances of when this was less than ideal. You’ll need to explain what happened, why it was detrimental to the business, and how making a platform change would enable a more positive outcome.
  • Doesn’t track data or allow reporting. If your leadership team is asking for more details and numbers than you have to give, or you think more data would improve the service you provide, be sure to list this as a reason to invest in a new solution. The easiest way to make this case is to explain what it takes to get the data you have now and how you could expand on it with the right support platform. We also recommend describing some of the things you could track and report on, and why you’d want to do that.
  • Isn’t able to do what you need it to do. Sometimes the leadership or sales teams, or whoever decides on the level of service you offer, request that you provide additional offerings. That could be something like adding a channel or meeting service level agreements (SLAs). If your current solution can’t meet the new requirements, you’ll need to be ready to explain why or how much time and effort it will take to develop a workaround. Your alternative solution might then make sense when put in context.
  • Doesn’t include the capabilities you need to improve service. It might not be a company demand, but improving service could be a team goal. If you’ve done the research and know that adding automation or reporting will make things better, be prepared to provide the details that illustrate these benefits. For instance, let’s say the new solution would let you add an answer bot as a first responder to your support. You could prepare projections and describe improvements to the customer’s experience and the team’s experience. Lay out the problem and then explain your solution.

2. Know your budget

We all wish money was no object, but the reality is you’ll be working within a budget. Although you probably can’t give concrete numbers until the research phase, your initial pitch should include some ballpark figures. Look at the pricing tables of the leading support platforms. They’re typically priced per agent, so you’ll want to give some ranges that reflect your current team size and projected growth for the next year.

Don’t forget about time. While money is a big factor, the amount of time required to implement a platform matters. Do you need developer help? Will you need to hire an outside consultant? Can you handle everything yourself, but it’ll take considerable time? These are all things you’ll want to think about and explain. Be sure to provide your rough numbers and the different options that might exist.

Be realistic about your company’s growth phase. If you’re a bootstrapped startup wanting to implement your first customer support platform, your budget will probably be on the leaner side compared to that of a long-established public company looking to upgrade.

3. Make your case

Now that you have your arguments and information prepared, it’s time to put it all together. You know your company best and you’ll want to pick a format that fits your culture. This could mean having a simple document laying out all the reasons, a presentation deck to walk through the different scenarios, or just a few bullets on a sticky note to cover in a casual chat with your manager. 

The trick is to be ready with the details to support your case. Make sure you’re comfortable talking about your reasons for considering a customer support platform, the benefits of taking this path, and everything that will be involved.

4. Talk next steps

Since you have a well-prepared case, odds are you’ll hear an enthusiastic “Yes!” or at least a tentative “Let’s do more research.” If that’s the case, you’ll want to talk about the next steps. Are you starting the search or providing more information to someone else first?

You should also be able to discuss your timelines. Can you start today? Or do you have to wait until the next quarter or even the next financial year? The important thing is to walk away from this meeting knowing exactly what your next steps are. If the answer was to wait a bit, make sure you set yourself a reminder to come back to this conversation down the road.

5. Celebrate and start your search

After your business case has been approved, the hard work begins. You’ll be figuring out exactly what you need in a platform, who your stakeholders are, and researching different tools. But don’t forget to take a moment to celebrate your success.

Stay tuned for our next post, which will be up next week. We’ll be sharing some tips and tricks on how to compare the various customer support platforms efficiently and make the right decision for your team.

Diana Potter

Diana is a support, success, and experience leader. She’s currently the Head of Customer Experience for Qwilr and previously led customer departments for a number of leading companies. When she’s not writing or helping customers you’ll find her off in the woods taking photos or curled up with a book.

TestBox empowers you to have a self-serve, customer-led experience so you can buy new software and feel confident that you made the right choice. Currently focused on Customer Support, TestBox allows you to test out Zendesk, Freshdesk, HubSpot, Dixa, and other products side-by-side. It takes a matter of minutes to sign up and take these products for a test drive. Find out more at TestBox.com or follow on LinkedIn.

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