Sage CRM Blog

Problems handling customer complaints? You are not alone

customer complaints

Small businesses buying customer service software for the first time are significantly more likely to say they want to address widespread difficulties handling customer complaints. And 96 percent of these buyers want a solution that provides basic trouble ticket management.

That’s according to a recent survey by Software Advice, a company which provides detailed reviews and comparisons to help organizations choose CRM software suitable for their needs.

Jay Ivey, a researcher for Software Advice, explained to Sage that ticket management is the backbone of any customer service solution, and he compared the role of ticket management to a person’s email inbox

“If we had looked into which features people asked for in an email client, some would want build-in instant messaging; some would want calendar integration; some would want advanced filtering. But every single person would say they want an inbox,” he said.

“And that’s what ticket management is for a CSS solution. It allows you to consolidate customer inquiries from various channels, helping your reps manage them.”

Key questions for businesses supporting customers

Every year, Software Advice talks to thousands of businesses considering a customer service and support (CSS) software purchase. As part of its BuyerView Report (2014), the company analyzed a random selection of 385 interactions with small businesses.

Of the small businesses Software Advice included in its analysis, 29 percent earned less than USD1 million per year, and 32 percent earned between USD1 million and USD5 million. The company surveyed buyers who represented small software or IT companies, followed by a diverse range of other industries like manufacturing and retail.

The company wanted to determine:

  • How are prospective customer support software buyers currently managing their customer support activities?
  • Why are prospective buyers choosing to evaluate customer support software?
  • What are the most commonly requested support features buyers are looking for?

Providing proactive customer support

Based on its research, Software Advice found:

  • Most small businesses using manual methods (64 percent) cited a general need to better manage customer complaints as a primary reason for evaluating software.
  • Nearly all small-business CSS software buyers (90 percent) requested ticket management functionality to consolidate and manage customer inquiries.

Ivey explained that companies who want a better way of managing customer complaints are looking for a dependable solution that customer service teams can use to become more proactive about complaints.

“Many more of those buyers looking to upgrade from a previous system had moved past a fire-fighting customer support mentality—struggling to adequately address inquiries in a timely fashion without letting tickets fall through the cracks—and were instead looking for systems with additional functionality, tweaking their strategy to get even better results.”

Moving from spread sheets to CRM

The company’s survey also suggests more small and medium sized companies are recognizing how a central database of company and customer data can save a business time and money.

Software Advice found that while 52 percent of companies use manual methods to manage customer service and support (e.g. spread sheets), small businesses are moving away from these manual methods to CRM.

“The majority are graduating from spreadsheets, email and paper—not upgrading from previous CRM systems,” said Ivey. “…[CRM] solutions are increasingly affordable and easy to use, with subscription-based pricing models that are much more accessible than up-front licensing fees.”

The business benefits of cloud software

Software Advice found that sixty-six percent of small-business buyers requested web-based or cloud-based software. Interestingly, the report concluded that while web-based or cloud software offers productivity gains to employees, the primary benefits are for business owners and managers.

Web-based software is often more affordable, requires significantly less upfront investment and does not require a significant allocation of IT resources to implement and maintain.

“While the average CSS professional receives some benefits from web-based software—for instance, being able to access their ticket queue from multiple computers —the primary benefits of web-based deployment are more relevant to the business owner and IT staff,” said Ivey

“Web-based software is often more affordable, requires significantly less upfront investment and does not require a significant allocation of IT resources to implement and maintain.”

You can find more details about the BuyerView Report (2014) on