July 10, 2024

Deliver a customer-first support strategy with best-in-category solutions

Bri Tischner

In the rapidly evolving world of customer support, the choice of technology can make or break the quality of service. Assembled, Intercom, Evaluagent, and CX expert Brad Herrington recently took to the virtual stage to highlight the transformative power of a best-in-category tech stack for customer support.

In this conversation, the group unpacked how innovative brands have moved away from cumbersome single-brand solutions to embrace streamlined, high-quality tools that integrate seamlessly and deliver fast, effective results. The session highlighted the critical role of smart tools, well-oiled integrations, and strategic AI implementations in enhancing customer experiences.

Here are some of the highlights the group covered:

Don’t fall for a “Frankenstack” disguised in one-stop-shop’s clothing

Tool consolidation often markets itself as a sleek, streamlined way to handle tech needs, yet it’s not all smooth sailing. Despite popular belief, squishing various tools into one mega-platform doesn't always crank up efficiency or trim costs. In fact, many organizations find that specialized, best-in-category solutions better suit their specific operational needs without forcing them into the box of one-size-fits-all solutions. These top-notch tools provide deeper functionality and more customized support — key for any business serious about keeping its edge sharp. It’s vital to assess the distinct needs of each department and weigh up whether consolidation genuinely benefits the broader organizational aims, or if it just makes vendor management less of a headache at the cost of overall performance and functionality.

“Best-in-class solutions are motivated to work for you. We don't see that from the all-in-ones.”

Jeremy Eckman, Head of Support, Assembled

Buyer beware of costs lurking underneath the surface

While a consolidated tech stack might look cost-effective initially, there are several hidden costs that can pop up later. These include reduced flexibility as your business needs evolve, potential overpayment for features you never use, and costly custom integrations needed to tailor the platform to your specific requirements. Additionally, because consolidated tools try to cover a wide range of functions, they can sometimes fall short in specific areas. These gaps mean that updates or fixes you might need can get pushed back on the development roadmap, as the broad scope of the tool means it's juggling many priorities. It’s important to factor in these potential delays and costs when you're weighing whether a consolidated solution is right for you.

“There’s no way a consolidated platform can have 100% of what you need in every functional area. Nobody has unlimited resources.”

Brad Herrington, FootPath Consulting Group

Sidestep major pitfalls for a seamless experience

A significant error in adopting a consolidated tech stack is assuming it will effectively meet all operational needs. This misconception can lead to a misalignment between the capabilities of the tool and the actual requirements of the business, causing inefficiencies and frustration. Companies often find themselves burdened with bloated systems that are overly complex for some tasks while insufficient for others. Furthermore, this one-size-fits-all approach can stifle innovation as teams are forced to work within the limitations of a generic tool rather than one tailored to their specific needs. Ultimately, such mistakes can result in increased operational costs and missed opportunities for optimization.

"The idea that it's always faster and better with a bundled all-in-one solution can become a management nightmare due to too many cooks in the kitchen. Point solutions can work perfectly for specific issues while we still use the overarching platform. The notion that adoption is always quicker with an all-in-one solution is a myth.”

Brad Herrington, FootPath Consulting Group

Bring the entire team on board with best-in-category tools

When advocating for best-in-category solutions over all-in-one offerings, it's important to discuss the limitations that consolidated tools can impose on specific business functions. For instance, in companies where different departments require specialized AI chatbots, all-in-one solutions often fall short in meeting these specific needs. This limitation can lead each department to independently develop its own chatbot. While this might seem like a solution, it creates a disjointed technology approach, lacking standardization and increasing maintenance complexities. While all-in-one platforms might simplify procurement, specialized tools can more precisely meet specific departmental needs, boosting efficiency and outcomes.

“Compromise is fine, but not at the sacrifice of the quality of work people can do.”

James Marscheider, CCO, evaluagent

Build your ideal tech stack with confidence

When evaluating best-in-category solutions for a tech stack, buyers should prioritize several key factors:

  • Specific functionality and data validation: Look for a solution that not only excels in its specific function but also provides robust native data validation to ensure accuracy and reliability in the information processed.
  • Integrations and real-time data: The tool should offer seamless integrations with existing systems, supporting real-time data exchanges to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency.
  • User and admin experience: Evaluate both the agent and admin experiences. The interface should be intuitive and user-friendly to minimize the learning curve, while also offering unlimited configurability to meet precise administrative needs.
  • Implementation and support: Consider the implementation process of the tool. It should be straightforward, with comprehensive training and support structures in place to assist your team in both the initial roll-out and ongoing usage.
  • Cost effectiveness: Analyze the total cost of ownership, factoring in not just the purchase price but also ongoing costs associated with upgrades, integrations, and support. The solution should deliver a strong return on investment by enhancing productivity and operational effectiveness.

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