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Soffront Offers a One-Stop Customer Service Shop

By Maria Verlengia
Dec 27, 2010 5:00 AM PT

With helpdesk, knowledge management, customer portal, email auto response, project management, and mobile access capabilities, Soffront prides itself on being a one-stop shop for customer service solutions.

Soffront Offers a One-Stop Customer Service Shop

"The customer service solution we offer is pretty comprehensive," Manu Das, CEO of Soffront, told CRM Buyer. "That's what our system does best."

Soffront Customer Service Portal
Soffront Customer Service Portal
(click image to enlarge)

Soffront's Customer Helpdesk and Customer Portal creates a ticket when a call or email is received, a process expedited by Soffront Email Response. The customer can then close the ticket based on the response.

Soffront Analytics for Support uses key performance indicators to help businesses analyze their support process, and Soffront Mobile CRM provides mobile access to support teams.

Customers can also use Soffront Knowledge Management for Customer Self Service, a knowledge base that allows customers to help solve their own support issues.

"We do all of those," said Das. "We provide a knowledge base for self service."

Good Service Requires Custom Fitting

Customers can review the knowledge base and decide whether to submit a ticket. They can also discuss issues in a forum with other users and provide assistance to each other.

Soffront tracks any assets associated with customers, including software, gadgets, servers, devices, computers, documents or blueprints -- anything that would be necessary for customer maintenance and care.

Soffront also manages returned merchandise for the customer, such as defective products. Most customer service vendors do not provide this type of tracking, Das pointed out.

When customers return products for replacement or repair, the new or repaired product needs to be returned to the customer. Soffront saves the history of this entire multichannel process.

"How do you keep track? You're managing something for the customer," Das said. "It makes you completely organized."

An approach such as this, which revolves around the customer, provides good results, Micah Solomon, customer service keynote speaker and author, told CRM Buyer.

Customer service software can help companies provide individualized service by capturing each customer's preferences and by tracking all the interaction history with a customer.

"Good service requires custom fitting to each customer," Solomon advised.

Easy and Affordable

The price of a customer service system could depend on the size of the company, said Jeff Furst, founder, president and CEO of Furst Person. Small to medium businesses usually pay a monthly fee per user while larger companies might receive a discount, Furst told CRM Buyer.

Soffront offers both on-premise and hosted options that are very affordably priced, Das stated. The system costs US$80 per user per month. The price includes most modules except the offline and PDA client. The customer portal is unlimited for $200 a month. The knowledge base is $100 a month. Soffront charges 15 percent for ongoing support.

The dashboards can be easily configured by employees who are not tech-savvy, Das noted. Additional IT people do not have to be hired, which helps to keep costs down.

"We provide a suite that is really configurable by a business person," he said.

Hosted Solutions Remove Barriers but Have Limits

Some companies may encounter limitations with the on-premise version, Das acknowledged -- for instance, a small company with a few hundred people that's on a growth trajectory.

The hosted version eliminates any issues with scalability, Das said, noting that scalability is becoming less of a problem with cloud computing and SAAS.

"Hosted solutions are potentially a huge positive," Solomon concurred. "However, the hazards are trying to fit your customer to the limitations of the cloud-based system, rather than the other way around."

Concern with data security could also be an issue with a hosted solution. Government regulations sometimes require that no data be stored outside of a company network, Das said.

Focused and Integrated

Soffront serves all industries, which gives it a very diverse customer base that includes financial, retail, software and manufacturing companies ranging from mid-sized to divisions of Fortune 500 companies.

However, the system works best for groups of 500 to 600 users, and Soffront prefers companies or divisions that size, Das noted.

"That's our root," he said.

A niche customer service solution could be a good choice for a company of that size. Although small to mid-size businesses have the same service issues as larger companies, their configuration requirements might be different, Furst observed.

"Large companies need a very robust system," he said. However, this is not as much a concern for smaller companies.

Quantified Empathy

Soffront provides a dedicated implementation staff for each of its clients, including a project manager, customer service representative, and account manager.

The system improves productivity by capturing all information pertaining to calls, eliminating steps, and speeding up the process, Das explained. Soffront's dedicated service allows its clients to provide personalized service to their own customers.

Providing dedicated and personalized customer service is the key. The system should be constructed around the customer's needs and preferences, not the other way around, Solomon emphasized.

"Success in customer service starts with quantified empathy," he said. "With learning what your customers want."


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