Why Great CS Teams Don’t Build Powerful Tools, They Buy Them

Subscription based models that lock-in retention and drive revenue growth are top priority for every customer service organization in the world today, be they B2C or B2B. As markets slow down, investors are looking for stable ARRs and immediate bottom line profits by pushing their portfolio companies to get more from the clients they already have.
Customer service has thus become a core profit center, and CSOs, CXOs and CS Ops are scrambling to provide personalized experiences and offerings that delight, retain and upsell. But to do that, CS teams need new and powerful tools.

The Build vs Buy Dilemma for CS Personalization

Adding new tools to the CS tech stack is always a BUY vs BUILD dilemma. In this case, however, BUY is the obvious cost-effective decision.
Before we get into it, let’s be clear about what most CS teams want to build: A platform that helps agents in real time. This involves taking data from multiple back office systems and touchpoints, filtering through segmentation conditions and playbooks to eventually surface specific next best actions, suggestions and offers to Agents directly in their CRM system during an interaction.
The goal is to help CS Agents personalize the experience, solidify loyalty and retention, and offer up-sell/cross-sell deals that fit the customer perfectly. To create these perfect-fit easy-to-agree-to offers, however, the tech needs to allow rapid cycles of experimentation to test what’s working, and what’s not.
CS Ops who rely on their internal engineering teams to build a patchwork of upgrades and integrations will be making a dire mistake. The results may look neat, but they’re usually sub-par with respect to what agents can do with them, the experience customers receive and the opportunities unlocked.

6 Reasons to Avoid Building Your CS Tools Internally

These are the main reasons in-house development of CS tools should, in most cases, be avoided.
  1. Hard to justify – Getting approval from senior management to embark on an internal dev adventure is very hard. Data to support the business case is usually unavailable, and estimating timelines and costs is virtually impossible. 
  2. Takes forever Building internally can take months, if not years. The approval and prioritization process is followed by multiple sprints with many pitfalls and unknowns. And what about testing and QA, onboarding and training agents? It could take 4 sprints to create an initial working version of a single cross-sell playbook, with another 6 to stabilize it. Future release cycles will require the same process and time, and that’s only one use-case. 
  3. Very costly – Engineering resources are expensive. Add to that the long term maintenance of bugs, technology evolution and adaptation to privacy regulations – the Total Cost of Ownership (TOC) bill climbs fast. 
  4. Endless maintenance – The resources, headcount and attention needed to maintain a working system, handle bugs and pay back technical-dept are endless. 
  5. Not flexible – Dev teams need very clear spec documents. This results in most internal builds being quite limited to a few static features. Once an add-on or view is built internally the dependency on the dev teams is locked in forever, and moving fast becomes impossible.
  6. Loss of focus – Building tools internally deprioritizes other critical R&D tasks, like developing the actual core product. These are a company’s highest paid employees that could be utilized elsewhere.
interai - internal view vs interai table comparison

Buying a Powerful CS Personalization Platform Is Fast, Affordable & Effective

Buying ready-to-roll platforms for CS personalization that are focused on revenue generation is the faster alternative that is much more effective, affordable and flexible. Here’s why.
  1. Easy to implement Modern platforms are built to require zero complex integrations.
  2. Fast to roll out – Such platforms are intuitive and perfect for the hyper growth stage of startups where you need to go fast, scale fast, without increasing headcount.
  3. Cheaper, with much more value – Common SaaS models deliver the most value, including hands-on support and a feature set created by CS tech experts. 
  4. Freedom to customize and scale – The core challenge of CS teams is learning from their data and rapid experimentation cycles. Unlinke internal builds that focus on a single static feature set, off-the-shelf platforms treat ‘flexibility as a feature’, allowing every CS team to customize and experiment, as well as track and learn from insightful analytics. New ideas for playbooks or data points can be tested, collected and implemented in hours or days, and changes to existing plays rolled-out in minutes.
  5. Robust security, safety and stability – Subscribing to an off-the-shelf CS personalization platform means all the security and privacy requirements are constantly updated. 
  6. New and special features – New features aren’t a guess. They’re a result of deep research into the needs of dozens of CS teams. Special features, like the ability to adjust a play according to customer mood, for example, would never get into an internal build but are standard in complete platforms. 
  7. Full Ownership – CS teams retain control that allows them to run fast, try and grow without dependencies on busy development engineers.
  8. Focus – Both CS and Engineering teams each remain focused on their own core mission.
Buying and implementing Interai is 10x cheaper and at least 8x faster than going down the build rabbit hole.