As a business owner in 2017, the sheer volume of software solutions available to you on the market is baffling. For some, the right solution is easily found and works wonders for their business. For others, it seems like nothing out there fits the needs of their company. And if it does, it is not within their budget. This is often when business owners start looking at custom software solutions.

Custom software solutions are specifically design to meet the needs of your business and solve problems specific to your industry. Since even the best of standard software will only meet around 60-70 per cent of your requirements, custom software solutions built for your enterprise are becoming a more and more popular choice.

Today, we are going to be specifically looking at custom software solutions to improve customer service. There are a numerous examples of companies that have used this method for success in the past. Along with that, there are certain features of custom software solutions that are worth highlighting to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Let’s start off by examining some of the common problems facing business owners that would warrant the use of a custom software solution.

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What’s the problem?

For many small-to-medium sized business owners, the problems they face have to do with either lack of time, lack of money, lack of a proper solution, or all of the above. Some might not have a reliable way to stay in touch with their customers. Others might be looking for a better way to retain customers.

Whatever your problem might be, there is often a solution available. You just might not be able to find it. Let’s take a look at some of the solutions available and how a custom software solution would compare.

Staying in touch with clients

If you are looking for a software solution to help you stay in touch with your clients, there are quite a few out there. MailChimp allows you to send targeted emails. HubSpot makes it simple to build buyer personas and match them with branded content. There is a sea of these solutions, sometimes it is hard not to drown.

For many, companies like Hubspot and MailChimp provide the solution to the problem that the business owner is facing. They allow them to email customers and keep a client list within their system. However, since they work across almost all industires, it can be difficult to find specific fixes within their systems to the problems you are facing. For instance, your clients might not use email as their main form of contact. Or, your industry might be so specialized that most of the features provided are rendered useless when you are trying implement them.

In these cases, a custom software solution might be exactly what you need. By working with a team of professionals who can build out a solution tailored not only to your industry and clients, but your goals and needs. A custom solution might be more expensive than a monthly subscription to one of these services, but the functionality of a custom solution often outweighs the added cost.

Customer retention

Similar to simply staying in touch with clients, there is a myriad of off-the-shelf solutions tailored to help out with customer retention. HubSpot has solutions for customer retention and even provides training on how best to use them for success. Other vendors specialize in working with specific industries, but are limited in their capabilities.

While there are many solutions out there that give you the ability to customize within their software, having a built-out retention solution for your specific problems simply can’t be competed with. But, as a small business, cost is a huge factor.

Diminishing sales volume

Another reason for opting for a custom software solution is a loss in sales volume or velocity. Sometimes Salesforce and other solutions out there take up more time than they save. If you find that your sales team has started falling behind due to the system you have in place, you might want to think about going custom.

With a custom software solution, have your sales team write down or tell you the common areas that they get tripped up. By building something with these real-life hurdles in mind, a custom solution might be just what your company needs.

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Custom software solutions

Now that you have seen a few problems that can be solved by custom software solutions, you might be asking yourself how you go about creating one for your business. In the same way that there are numerous solutions available on the market right now right off the shelf, there is also a large number of companies looking to build the solution that best fits your company.

With such a large field to choose from, we have put together a few things to keep in mind when choosing your vendor.

Make sure your needs are met

This is the most important thing to keep in mind when making a custom software solution. Make sure that your needs are the ones being met, not the company who is making it for you. Unless you are proactive about describing your needs and what you want out of your software, your vision might get pushed to the side and someone else’s will take over.

Some business owners don’t want to share knowledge about their business, often for good reasons. However, whenever it comes to working with a company designed to help your business succeed, you should be as transparent as you can be.

Make the software work for you, not the other way around

The entire point behind going custom is creating a software that works for you. Sometimes, however, the end product turns out to require extra work instead. As you are designing and working with a team to build your custom software solution, be sure to tell them along the way if you noticed redundancies in your tech.

Unless these problems are addressed, you might as well have gone with the off the shelf solution instead. Make sure that this software is going to make you and your company more efficient without adding additional steps and headaches.

Integration or nothing

Finally, make sure that the software being made has integration with other tools that you are already using. Too many times have business owners received an expensive, custom software, only to realize too late that none of the features work within their infrastructure.

Keep these things in mind throughout the entire process and make sure that the company you are working with knows which solutions you might already be using to avoid incapability issues.

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The cost of going custom

The single biggest reason why more companies don’t choose custom software solutions is cost. Plain and simple. For most business owners, an off-the-shelf solution that works for 70%, maybe even 60% of what they need is more than enough. As long as they have the right features that line up with what they need, why would they pay more?

Like we have mentioned, there are a variety of reasons why using a custom software solution for your company has benefits that simply can’t be done by something sold to a wider audience. Our advice is to use a custom software solution if you have the funds and the need for it. And if the need is great enough, spending a little more will be worth it.