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Providing customer service through your website offers an exciting and potentially profitable opportunity to lower your operational costs, increase customer loyalty and to sell more to your existing accounts.
Although there are startup costs, it generally far more cost-effective to deliver customer service via your website, and companies often recoup their development costs in as little as a few months. However, the savings go on forever, and it is rare for a company that has successfully made the transition to return.
Perhaps more important, your customers care. For years some companies have resisted, thinking that their customers prefer old fashioned customer service by human beings. Well, they do sometimes, but less often than you might think. So many people prefer on-line self-service that personal assistance with many routine transactions is becoming the exception rather than the rule.
Of course, an enlightened management generally offers their customers choices. For customers that prefer handholding, or for the occasional non-routine transaction, customer support staff is alive and well. However, your reps will spend more of their time on non-routine transactions where their help is really important, and they will be able to handle a far greater volume of business.
We offer three primary types of customer service applications:
Informational applications – Customers can view or look up information on your website, but not initiate transactions. These applications are generally easier to develop and maintain than transactional applications. Data is typically taken from an internal system, and uploaded periodically or in real time to your live website.
General information such as product specifications, coverage features (for insurance policies), loan terms (for lenders), contact information for staff members or schedules of classes may be made available to any visitor, while information specific to a customer’s account will almost always require a secure log-in prior to granting access.
Customer service requests – Customers can enter requests which will be later processed by a staff member. This allows customers to enter their requests whenever it is convenient (such as 3 AM on Sunday), and permits your customer service staff to process these requests at their convenience (usually during normal business hours).
Transactional applications – Customers can execute transactions electronically, often without human intervention. For some applications, such as those in finance or insurance, the request may require human review and approval, and this will be implemented as part of your workflow.