How Customer Support Can Be Improved Through Automation

Customer Support is a very broad term that is used for a number of different activities. Customer support is not only the provision of direct service to consumers prior to, during, and even after a product is purchased. Such interactions also depend upon employees “who are able to adapt themselves to the personalities of the customer”. It is also included within the area of “service” that includes the provision of information and education to customers, training and development of products and services, product improvement, and marketing programs.

Customer support can also refer to the management of technical support resources. This means that there are two kinds of roles that are associated with customer services: Customer Service Representatives (CSR) and Technical Support Representatives (TSR). These two kinds of representatives have different responsibilities and work in slightly different areas from each other. However, both of them must understand the overall goal of customer support and work together in order to accomplish it. In addition, both representatives can be called upon for emergency assistance and can communicate directly with the technical experts of a company if necessary.

There are many ways in which support automation can be implemented at any level of a company. The most common way to implement support automation is to build a computer-based system that will aid the support personnel as well as the customers in providing answers and solutions to questions. Support automation software can be used to perform the following tasks: record customer responses, keep track of e-mail receipts and inquiries, report on the progress of a particular case, suggest additional questions, check the progress of previously selected questions, forward customer information to the lead or supervisor, etc. In addition, support automation software can be used to automate the following processes: send e-mails to customers with product updates or news about sales and discounts, send electronic newsletters to customers with customer discounts and special deals, send text messages to customers with important reminders or other information, perform research on the targeted markets, etc. Therefore, a support automation system can provide the following services to organizations:

* Provide high-quality customer service by anticipating customer questions and acting accordingly. * Reduce the costs of providing customer support by eliminating non-productive activities such as answering e-mail inquiries or returning phone calls. * Create an automated process of follow-up with customers by capturing all customer information. * Assist customers with the preparation of a purchase order or credit card statement. * Assist customers with the preparation of an invoice. * Send electronic newsletters about the company and its products and services.

Automating customer services not only lowers the cost of providing these services, but it also increases the productivity of a company by improving the quality of customer service. Customer Support automation software can be used to track the results of each customer activity, generate reports, analyze the factors that contribute to customer dissatisfaction, and learn from past mistakes. Therefore, this technology can help a company in many ways and can be very cost-effective.

* Automate all aspects of customer interaction such as e-mail responses, telephone calls, and walk away options. * Implement a single, integrated website for all of a company’s customers. * Retain all customer information for analysis and research purposes. * Create and maintain customer satisfaction surveys that allow customers to share their opinions about various aspects of the customer experience.

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