The era of companies blithely spending money on software is over.
Nowadays, project managers must put together a rigorous analysis and detailed cost justification before any checks are signed.
However, it is important to first determine if senior leaders have any major pain points that may make them more likely to allocate money to a project.
To determine the depth and intensity of those issues, an effective project manager should open a dialogue with senior leaders. They should also discuss other challenges the business is facing, to view the issues in a relative context to each other.
It’s important to spend time digging deep with these senior leaders to truly understand what their pain points are and how they are affected by them. Then, they can begin to quantify how resolving the problems presented will benefit both them and the company.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the typical challenges of CIOs and VPs of Customer Service with respect to help desk or call tracking software.
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These points can also apply to other applications, such as ERP, Financial, Marketing and CRM. There are generally four main challenges for these kinds of senior leaders:
1. Lack of Granular KPIs, Metrics or Reporting
This information is important for leaders to understand how satisfied their customers are and how technology affects those customers’ productivity.
For example, revenue can be directly affected by the technology the IT department provides to the company’s main revenue generators.
Additionally, reporting systems are often so difficult to use that senior leaders need assistance to run metrics.
They cannot “blue sky” on their own without the help of other trained personnel.
Several data points are valuable to IT or call center leaders to best understand customers’ needs:
- First Call Resolution: How many calls or tickets to the help desk are resolved immediately by the level 1 agent? Can you drill down that information per agent? Is this metric trending better over time?
- Customer Satisfaction: Are you able to measure it? Are there any common areas of concern? Can you drill down that information per agent? Is this metric trending better over time?
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Do you have SLAs set up? What percentage of issues are resolved inside and outside of the SLAs? Can you drill down that information per agent? Is this metric trending better over time?
- Root Cause Analysis: Can you track this? Are there any reoccurring issues?
- Resource Requirements: Are you able to determine how many personnel resources are needed based on service volume?
Not having this information immediately available to them in real time can raise the senior leaders’ frustration levels.
It might also cost them resources, as one or more employees must spend hours every week compiling reports from various sources.
Having all of this information available directly to the senior leader solves that problem, and saves the company money.
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2. “Who Should I Reward, Warn or Terminate?”
Senior leaders are not only responsible for the technological effects of revenue on customers, but also for how well their departments are functioning.
As stated above, they need to be able to measure each employee’s productivity and contribution.
To help with this process, senior leaders should have access to the following information:
- Systemic customer satisfaction issues
- Which employees are providing the best customer satisfaction
- Which employees are contributing the most beneficial knowledge articles
- If there have been improvements for any individual over time
Metrics are objective, and provide easy measures to draw distinctions between the performances of all employees.
They do not lie, as long as they cannot be manipulated.
3. Labor Intensiveness is Painful
Gathering multiple reports is not only labor-intensive, but there can also be technological hindrances to obtaining the necessary information.
For example, sometimes people might need to attend expensive vendor training sessions to understand how to use certain technology.
Special programmers may also be needed to customize that technology, requiring personnel to learn how to maintain the new implementations.
These occurrences are often frustrating and time consuming, and can negatively affect the company’s bottom line.
Ultimately, to save on labor, senior leaders need streamlined efforts.
You might consider investigating the following to find out what works and what needs improvement:
- Report automation
- Software administration complexity
- Customization complexity
- Change management processes
- Knowledge base software and integrations
- Self-service FAQs or help information
- Easy integrations
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4. Large Fees are Painful
A common thread throughout the article has been the effect of technology on revenue.
When vendors require special service fees for necessary or beneficial functionality, or new payments and personnel resources are needed for technology upgrades, it can be a significant pain point.
To avoid unnecessary spending, consider the following:
- Using cloud technology to avoid hardware and software upgrades
- Determining the total cost of ownership over a three- to five-year period, including resources for upgrades.
- Finding technology that does not require programmers for setup, administration, customizations or integrations.
Once you’ve addressed the company’s current challenges, it’s much easier to show senior leaders how a software upgrade could streamline the metrics process, free up personnel and provide new opportunities for the business as a whole.
While the initial cost might be off-putting, senior leaders will come to understand that the benefits outweigh the expenses.