Thursday, April 24, 2008

Links To Customer Segmentation, ITIL, and Service Best Practices on The Web

Here is a guide of compiled links on the Internet that focus on Customer Segmentation Strategies, IT Service Management, ITIL, and Customer Service. Click here to check out all the articles and links, or review some of the highlighted articles below:
The Power of Customer Segmentation
ITIL What is It?
4 Steps to a Killer Loyalty Strategy
Online Customer Communities
Plus over 10 articles more

Monday, April 21, 2008

Best Practices: Where Has All The Help Gone? - Self Service Options

Michael Fogarty forwarded an excellent article to me on Self Service entitled "Where has all the Help Gone?" which was done by the writers over at MSN. The article explains how self service strategies have transformed the service industry for the better, changed customer behavior, and how these strategies have improved a company's bottom line. To put this in perspective, just think about how business was conducted before the invention of the ATM, or the Vending Machines that you see in nearly every mall or movie theatre. The examples and case studies referenced in the article range from Self Service Kiosks to check out systems at your local grocery store that are now very popular with consumers. The article puts it in perspective as follows:

U.S. consumers scanned $137 billion of merchandise at self-checkout lanes in 2006, a 24% jump over the previous year, according to research from IHL Group. Consumers spent an additional $300 billion at self-service kiosks, with the combined dollar volume expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2011.

Almost all of us check ourselves in for flights, either online or at a kiosk (86% of leisure travelers in 2006, according to Forrester Research). About 40% of us do our banking online, Online Banking Report says. We don't even flinch before rolling up our sleeves to make copies, print photos, book travel or research that new stereo

As we move forward on Customer Segmentation, we will be identifying what Solutions and applications lend themselves to a Self Service and Support Model utilizing technologies such as Online Web Support, Online Knowledge Management, Chat, and Ticket submission and status over the web.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Parature Conference & Best Practices for Support

So Rob Betten and I had the opportunity to attend Parafest 2008. Parafest 2008 was a Conference put together by a company called Parature which provides On Demand Ticketing, Knowledge Management, and Survey applications. We were invited by Michael Buckingham White based out of Atlanta, and the trip was excellent to say the least. The event was filled with excellent breakout sessions on Customer Service & Support Best Practices, Self Service, Embracing Web 2.0, and implementing several online strategies to make your support organization more productive and self service orients. In the attached summary, I will highlight some of the key findings that were discussed throughout the Conference for managing support online.

Support Best Practices: Self Service & Alternate Channels of Support - Nearly every company at this event had a Self Service and Support interface. In fact, in 2 of the break out sessions - a moderater asked the question of "How many of you don't have a Self Service Interface for your Customer?" - and I was surprised to see that no one raised their hands. Several of the Self Service Strategies employed were the following:

  • Online Ticketing - Customers Submitting Tickets and Getting Status over the Web.
  • Forum Support - A community forum where customers speak to each other online, ask questions to Product Managment, and ask questions to help solve product related issues prior to escalating or calling support.
  • Chat Support Channels - Several companies offered chat as an alternative solution to their high end customers and found it to be a valuable tool.
  • Voice To Text Ticket Submission - There were several vendors and technologies that employed a system that enabled a call center to allow its customers to check status and create tickets when calling a Support 800 Number. The technology utilizes Interactive Voice Response with Voice transcription technology prior to speaking to any agent. It enables the customer to call an 800 number for support and create a ticket by recording their issue at the ACD level, and support can later follow up with an inquiry to the customer.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions.