Any business of a decent size will have its fair share of customers who are, for whatever reason, dissatisfied with their lot. Maybe it's a faulty product; maybe it's entirely their fault.
However, either way, if you want to ensure they'll use your services again, good customer service is vital. With a large institution, you'll likely want to use customer service technology to automate that, at least in part.
That's fine, but consider these questions before you decide on your solution.
1. "How large is my business?"
When you're looking to invest in customer service technology, this is the single most important question for you to ask. A larger business means you're serving more customers, and that means that you have a heavier workload with regards to customer service.
So, your customer service technology will need to be considerably more resilient if you have a larger business, it has to deal with substantially more demand on it. If you have a large enough business, you may even want to consider contracting for a custom customer service system.
2. "What are we doing?"
The purpose of customer service is, put simply, to remedy problems which present themselves to your customer base. What you do for your customers matters in determining how to solve their problems.
If you run a retail business, most of your problems will boil down to either defective or unwanted goods; if you run a tech support center, you might have to send out another technician when one of yours botches a job.
There's no “one-size-fits-all” approach here; you need to make absolutely certain that your customer service technology is well-suited to the demands of your business sector. If you provide software, you need a bug tracker, for instance.
3. "What is our budget?"
Like anything else, your customer service system is dependent on the amount of money you're willing to put into it. If you want more features in customer service technology, you're going to have to be prepared to put more money into it.
If you don't have the funds to enable you to sink a decent sum in your customer service system, you're going to have to settle for a lesser feature set. However, if you have the money, it's worth thinking over your budget again before you ditch features which are useful in your enterprise. Good customer service technology will save you money in the long run.
4. "Will this assist in satisfying the customer?"
This is the single most important question listed here. In running a successful business, there's absolutely nothing which comes before building a base of loyal customers, people who will reliably choose your business over competitors in its sector.
Even if you have a near-monopoly, if you abuse your customers they will defect given the chance. By definition, your customer service system will be seeing an overwhelming number of customers who've already had one unpleasant experience with your business.
If their experience trying to get help with their problem is thoroughly miserable, their custom may be lost forever. So, make sure that your customer service technology provides a good experience. The easier it is for customers to solve their problems, the happier they'll be.
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