It happens to many businesses. Imagine you’ve purchased what seems like the perfect customer engagement software for your company — the one that will take your customer relationships and revenue to the next level. At first you feel satisfied, confident in your investment. But as it turns out, the road to success isn’t without setbacks: despite everything that this software provider promised, you begin to come across some unspoken — and unexpected — downfalls.
Maybe your customer engagement tool traps you in a price creep, a stiff contract, or forces you to purchase add-ons to get the full functionality that you thought was included. Maybe it’s missing some key features or isn’t as user-friendly as you had hoped.
Regardless of what the problem is, these pitfalls are at best annoying — at worst they can mean not getting proper use of the customer engagement software, or funneling money into an unsuccessful venture. Here are some of the hidden drawbacks of customer engagement tools that providers won’t tell you — and tips on how to avoid them when purchasing your software solution.
1. Stiff Contracts Can Lock Companies In
While some customer engagement solutions offer flexible monthly and per-use pricing, other providers may require an extended contract to use their services. Companies such as SugarCRM require companies to commit to annual contracts, making it hard to switch software or downgrade packages should you overbuy. That’s not all, though — SugarCRM also requires companies to purchase a minimum of 10 user licenses annually, putting their starting price at $4,800 per year (other software solutions may require an even higher user amount — SAP CRM requires a minimum of 15).
Some vendors try to lock businesses in by promising them the best rates for a longer contract: Salesforce encourages multi-year agreements in exchange for its most favorable pricing terms. While more extended contracts may not be a problem for companies who use the software year after year, it can be a deterrent for businesses who aren’t ready to commit to a long-term solution.
More than anyone, enterprises can come out affected by whether or not a software provider has inflexible contract negotiation practices. According to Gartner, one of the downfalls of both Salesforce and Oracle is that customers have given the companies “comparatively low scores for contract negotiations and pricing flexibility.” To help empower customers, Gartner, Snowforce data, and Medium have all written articles advising businesses on the best way to negotiate terms with Salesforce.
While stiff contracts aren’t necessarily a reason not to choose a customer engagement solution, being aware of this reality can help you better do your research and analyze the cost-benefit of software before committing to it.