The list is out and the competition is stiff. Out of a field of 22 contestants, Paul Greenberg and friends have whittled the field to four finalists:
- Crowd Factory
- Get Satisfaction
- Stone Cobra
Be sure to read Paul’s comments about Assistly’s eligibility.
This has been like the Westminster Dog Show so I congratulate the judges because, just like in a dog show, they were asked, not to judge these companies against each other, but against “best of breed”. See, the companies weren’t all the same thing.
The call for contestants went out for “CRM-ish” companies of particular revenue levels. They got everything from pure customer support applications to social marketing applications to a community/forum application. On one hand it made it nice because as a contestant you could be comfortable cheering each other on. But it also made it hard because it seemed like you couldn’t always define what the judges might be looking for.
This contest shows there are myriad ways to keep up with your customers. All of these companies have had success with a variety of ways to learn, serve, and support customers over multiple channels while learning best practices along the way. How do you know what you need in your organization?
The same way we have always touted: know your customers. Find out how they like to communicate. Make it easy for them to help themselves AND get to a human when needed. Don’t just take in the information, sift it and grind it to find actionable data that can help you improve your business. And take that action, don’t just research and report.
There is no one size fits all in customer service and support anymore than there is in clothing. But you need to define your requirements before looking at systems and definitely before making a choice. This choice is going to be around awhile. Make sure you and your customers can live with it.