• Blog
  • 4 Min Read
  • March 10, 2015

The Importance of World-Class Customer Service

Written by:
The Clearwater Team

Software support has been around as long as software itself, and is a key component of any technology system. Most people have had the experience of—and know the frustrations involved in—calling a help desk, describing an issue to someone who knows nothing about their company or situation, and being given a standard set of instructions that may or may not work.

Investment software solutions often rely on this type of customer support, which is a form of reactive service.

Investment software customer support teams that are reactive . . .

  • only respond to major troubleshooting issues, or don’t respond at all.
  • have slow turnaround times, since they need to first understand the full background of your company, and only after that can they start on the issue you contacted them for.
  • are unfamiliar with your company, investment portfolios, and situation, since a different agent handles your call each time there is an issue.
  • expects you to use internal resources first—such as your own IT team—and only contact the software provider’s customer support resources when major issues occur (and how the customer defines “major issues” and how the service provider defines “major issues” might not always correlate).
  • are trained in a one-size-fits-all format to handle broad-range issues, with little emphasis on how to adapt or support unique cases.

Reactive support teams are what most software users are most familiar with, and are often the only option when using an installed or hosted software system. But as software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions become mainstream, users are realizing that SaaS vendors have the ability to provide more effective customer support, beyond this reactive methodology.

What Does SaaS Customer Service Look Like?

Many users assume that the “service” part of a software-as-a-service platform refers to “customer service.” While this is a logical conclusion, it’s not technically correct—the “service” part of SaaS describes the way the solution is delivered, not the solution’s actual customer service component.

Not all SaaS vendors provide the same level of servicing. In fact, some providers lead users into thinking that their SaaS solution includes a deeper level of “service” than non-SaaS solutions, when in fact they’re still providing the same old reactive customer support model. There’s a difference between traditional customer support and world-class customer service, and it’s important to understand what separates the two when evaluating different software options.

Is Your Investment Accounting Software Providing The Customer Service You Need?

In contrast to the traditional reactive customer service experience, a world-class customer service team(sometimes called customer success team) is proactive. World-class customer service teams. . .

  • are available at all stages of the software solution life-cycle, from the initial system transition and training, to everyday use of the product.
  • are available for all types of issues, from minute details to big picture challenges.
  • respond quickly, and often reach out proactively to share industry best practices, updates on changing regulatory guidance, etc.
  • only support a limited number of clients, so each team is familiar with each firm’s unique needs and issues.
  • help manage details in the background, often proactively resolving issues before clients are even aware of them, and before they truly become problems.

Curious about what kind of software customer service you are receiving? Ask yourself . . .

  • What is my provider’s response turnaround time? How long does it take for them to acknowledge my question, and how long does it take for them to address it? Do I think that’s a reasonable amount of time?
  • If my provider’s team doesn’t know an answer, do they pass me along to another department, or simply not answer?
  • Do they reach out proactively to share best practices, important updates to regulatory guidance changes, and information about how my peers handle similar challenges?
  • Do they seek my feedback on not just their level of service, but on the overall quality of the product?
  • Do I know my assigned account manager and servicing team? And do they know my team and business?

There’s a big difference between reactive customer support and world-class customer service. If you haven’t worked with a software provider where you’re supported by people you regard as an extension of your internal team, who are focused on the customer experience every day, then you might not be getting the most out of your investment reporting and accounting solution, or the business processes it supports.

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