How Web Self-Service Can Increase Customer Satisfaction & Improve Your Bottom Line

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1 How Web Self-Service Can Increase Customer Satisfaction & Improve Your Bottom Line Preface This white paper introduces Customer Self-Service and how using Surado Web Self-Service can increase customer satisfaction, reduce costs and increase return on investments. The key is to understand your customer, your products and services and the tools available to deliver service to maximize customer satisfaction and reduce customer service costs. This paper will discuss the various selfservice options available, how to utilize best practices, delivery technology and how Customer Self-Service is tied to the "big picture" of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Contents What is Web Self-Service?...2 The Value Proposition of Self-Service... 3 Benefits of Self-Service to the Individual... 3 Benefits to Businesses Providing Self-Service...4 Web Self-Service Best Practices... 4 Return on Investment... 5 Surado Web Self-Service Overview Key Features Key Benefits for Organizations Enabling Surado Web Self-Service Delivery Over the Internet Technology... 8 Conclusion... 9 About Surado SURADO 1

2 What is Web Self-Service? These days, since businesses are expected to provide personal service and form relationships with thousands of customers, self-service tools are a blessing. No matter how great your customer care is, if you're not offering support on the Web, your customers are left wondering why. Many experts agree that having self-service is one of the cornerstones of establishing an e-business presence. The Self-Service model is founded on the principal of enabling customers, partners and employees to obtain information or conduct transactions directly over the Internet, avoiding time-consuming and costly traditional processes involving multiple verbal or written interactions. Self-service provides control, performance, convenience and efficiency. This is because customers can perform tasks themselves when they want to through a secure, customized self-service web site. This 24x7 coverage provides convenience to customers while reducing customer service costs to businesses. Although it has been known for some time that a good self-service program can increase financial returns and maximize customer satisfaction, some businesses have even discovered self-service can have a positive impact on their businesses in areas beyond customer care, in particular marketing, product management and customer information access. Self-Service clearly has become the norm these days for businesses to remain competitive. Companies that don't provide consistently high quality service in all channels will find their customers returning to the faithful and expensive telephone or defecting to the competition. Interestingly, although a phone call can be as much as 22 times more expensive than a self-service transaction, an even bigger long-term issue is the lost revenue opportunity from customers that never return at all. " Self-Service clearly has become the norm these days for businesses to remain competitive." 2

3 The Value Proposition of Self-Service A customer, partner or employee must be able to receive the same level of information as they would when dealing with a knowledgeable representative of a corporation who has access to all the relevant information. If this same level of response is not present, the individual will inevitably conclude that the self-service system is inferior to that of the traditional customer care interaction. It is no longer enough to provide individuals with a basic selfservice model. In order for business to capture a large selfservice audience, they must provide: An Intelligent Self-Service model where information is timely, accurate and easy-to-find. Information in the format that individuals want it. Information pulled from a variety of corporate sources Information aggregated into personalize user-specific reports Real-time access to data with drill-down options. Integrated workflow that enables two-way conversations between the individual and a corporation. Benefits of Self-Service to the Individual "In order for business to capture a large selfservice audience, they must provide an Intelligent Self-Service model where information is timely, accurate and easy-to-find." Confidence - because they are in control of the information for which they are searching. Access to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Ability to submit requests and receive an immediate response from extensive business knowledge bases and, for those items that take longer or require a person to respond, the ability to review the status of the request. Ability to update contact information and profile. Ability to update preferences for receiving information. Ability to carry out task at any time without having to worry about office hours. 3

4 Benefits to Businesses Providing Self-Service Providing an effective and extensive knowledge base for customer inquiry. Ability to distribute documents and forms to customer efficiently. Ability to automatically respond to customer queries through automated response programs. Ability to provide opt-in and opt-out capability for distribution of marketing materials. Ability to provide automated 24x7 customer care. Reduce customer service costs by 47% according to some experts. Use the web to continually assess the effectiveness of self-service. Use the web to measure the interests of customers for targeted marketing campaigns. Create a knowledge base out of the tickets that are submitted and responded to by staff. Lower total cost of ownership and increased return on investment. Web Self-Service Best Practices Applying best practices and lessons learned from the many failed web self-service implementations will prevent enterprises from meeting a similar fate. The recommendations below will help you avoid common pitfalls and build a self-service environment that your customers will find compelling and useful. "Avoid common pitfalls and build a self-service environment that your customers will find compelling and useful." 1. Conduct a customer needs assessment before building a web self-service environment. Give customers what they want in a self-service environment, not what the enterprise "wants them to want." (It's the same as entering into a relationship believing that you can change your significant other. It may happen occasionally, but the probability is small.) Customers want to do business "their" way, not to be forced to do it the enterprise's way. 2. Provide opt-in and opt-out options. This way, you will provide the customer the control over the kind of information they would like to receive and how they would like to receive it. Cont. on next page... 4

5 Web Self-Service Best Practices (cont.) 3. Create a customer feedback loop that allows the enterprise to monitor what customers like and dislike about a self-service web site. You want your customers to feel an "ownership" stake in your site. 4. Use a professional web designer who can address the site's look, feel, ease-of-use and workflow. The interface plays an essential role in site acceptance. 5. Invite customers to use natural language - English, or the native language of the country where the site is located. Unfortunately, most web site users have been "trained" to enter a couple of key words into a search box. Provide short and easy-to-understand instructions underneath or above the box, so that customers know that they can write complete sentences. It is always helpful to provide sample questions and answers. 6. Keep the information and answers provided to customers on the web site up-to-date. Be sure that answers provided on the site are consistent with those provided by your other support channels. Keep answers helpful, succinct, well written and short (except in technical support, where a more thorough explanation is expected). When required, provide detailed attachments in responses, so the customer can be directed towards further reading if required. Return On Investment Research firm Gartner (NYSE: IT) reported that a customer inquiry handled by a sales representative over the phone costs nine times more than one handled automatically via a self-service application, averaging US $4.50 as compared to 50 cents. Some industry experts have reported that a single technical customer support call can cost as much as $45 on average. Meta Group (Nasdaq: METG) has estimated the average return on investment from a self-service application six months after implementation is 47 percent. "A customer inquiry handled by a sales representative over the phone costs nine times more than one handled automatically via a self-service application." 5

6 Surado Web Self-Service Overview Surado Web Self-Service module is a product option that extends the use of Surado CRM by enabling companies to provide Web-based self-service options to their clients. Based on Microsoft's.NET technology, Surado Web Self-Service module is tightly integrated with Surado CRM Solutions, helping to provide a better customer service experience while reducing costs. Surado Web Self-Service module is not designed to completely replace traditional support but rather to address repetitive issues around the clock as well as to provide the growing number of sophisticated Internet users with the ability to resolve issues without having to wait for traditional support. Self-Service is an extension (product option) of the Customer Service & Support Module in any CRM system. It allows many of the tools already available to customer care staff to be utilized directly by customers. A self-service module typically interacts with the company knowledge base, support business rules and specialized links to provide the customer with information that would typically require waiting for a customer care person and/or punching through a barrage of menu options on a telephone IVR system. 6

7 Surado Web Self-Service (cont.) Key Features Providing an effective and extensive knowledge base for customer inquiry. Provides clients with Internet Knowledge Base search for self-service support resolutions. Knowledge Base document assignments may include file attachments and may be published by Customer Knowledge Base Manager using Surado CRM Customer Support Module. Provides clients with FAQ lookup by categories. Web Tickets allow clients to submit and review status of Support Tickets via the Internet. Client self-service will reduce customer support costs while allowing for quick and easy download of support documents. Web Tickets reduce manual "cut and paste" of ticket submissions. Tickets are automatically created and assigned, based on Customer Support rules, including those set up as Standard Problems. Tickets may also be automatically resolved and the client notified. Ability for individuals to update personal profiles including demographic and marketing preferences including opt-in and opt-out preferences. Customization options allow customers to dynamically link to other web services without any programming. This feature allows for unlimited secure access to customer-access-only web pages. Ability to manage user identity for secure access to self-service features via login name and password assignments through client contact record. Web Self-Service Content access can be customized for each contact record. " Customization options allow customers to dynamically link to other web services without any programming." Increased revenue through understanding customer needs and wants. Enterprises need tools that give them insight into specific customer preferences and make this information available to the sales and marketing departments for analysis and reporting. This allows enterprises to target customer needs more precisely and create personalized sales opportunities. Facilitating Escalations -- Customers want "one stop" service. Web sites that make it easy for customers to request and receive live assistance are ideal, instead of making customers work hard to get to a live agent. 7

8 Surado Web Self-Service (cont.) Key Benefits for Organizations Enabling Surado Web Self-Service 1. Rapid implementation. 2. Affordable - the solution maximizes the use and investment of existing IT infrastructure. 3. No business process re-engineering required. 4. Low dependence on IT resources for implementation and maintenance. 5. Workflow and security built into the solution. 6. Data from all parts of an organization can be integrated regardless of data source or type. 7. Complexity and data integrity issues, such as those associated with a data warehouse solution, are avoided. 8. Sophisticated ad hoc analysis and data mining. 9. Personalized, role-based interface between self-service users and the organization is offered. 10. Safe access for external users to obtain the information they need without having direct access to underlying internal systems. Delivery Over the Internet The most important part of Self-Service is delivering information through the Internet. The information is output into.html format that can be accessed by individuals through their web browsers. The view and content of the page can be customized with standard corporate logos, web look and feel, information, communication, etc. while the menu options providing access to specific functions can be personalized for each user to reflect workflow needs and security issues. Technology Surado chose to develop the application using Microsoft's.NET technology because of its far reaching potential of being able to integrate other applications through.net's common XML-based platform. Once the Surado Web Self-Service site is installed on a web server outside a corporation's firewall, and connected securely to the Surado Enterprise CRM solution which resides inside the firewall, the power of self-service can easily be deployed. System administrators can provide access to individuals and/or groups of Surado CRM system users who in turn can easily look up contact records and web access information on customers. Unlike other web self-service options that are static, Surado's solution, using a combination of technology and methodology, provides the means to customize the options to unlimited links that can only be accessed by customers who have logged into the self-service system. This unique feature set extends the module's capability to that of a gateway to access secure pages on corporations reserved exclusively for clients or groups of clients. 8

9 Conclusion Self-service offers significant benefits. It can cut costs, free call center operators from having to deal with endless, redundant questions, provide 24x7 accesses to critical information and increase sales and marketing initiatives through targeted marketing. To increase the richness of its functionality, self-service can also be integrated with a wide range of key business functions, ranging from and call center management to marketing and product design. With this higher level of technical and business-process integration, companies can reap even greater benefits from their self-service investments. Deploying a Web Self-Service initiative requires more than just one component to make it successful. It requires the right technology, the right presentation and the right response. Surado's Web Self-Service solution is fully-integrated with its core CRM product. Based on the Microsoft.NET framework, Surado Web Self-Service provides an integrated and easy-to-use module for both system users and customers accessing the system. Because it is easy to use and customize, each customer's web "Deploying a Self-Service initiative requires the right technology, the right presentation and the right response." self-service options can differ while maintaining a presentation style throughout the site. Since Surado Web Self-Service offers customization, clients can create unlimited links to other client-specific web pages. And since Surado employs a unique method of securely passing parameters and methodology, only loggedin customers will be able to access these pages. The best part is that customer service reps can change customer access in a matter of seconds. Powerful Business Rules coupled with a customizable Knowledge Base system allows the system to provide responses quickly and accurately. And since support reps have an easy way to propose knowledge base articles to the knowledge base manager based on customer support tickets, clients can continue to enhance a company's library of responses. Having the ability to create unlimited rules also allows automated first-level responses by keywords, categories, types and priorities. Customers can always know their ticket status by quickly reviewing it online. At the end of the day, a successful web self-service deployment must increase customer experience while reducing customer care costs and increase on-going sales through targeted sales and marketing initiatives - The Surado Web Self-Service module delivers this and more. 9

10 About Surado Surado Solutions, Inc., founded in 1995, is a privately held company that provides a full spectrum of products and services in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and E-Business solutions. Surado Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Solutions As an emerging innovator in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, Surado is committed to providing powerful, versatile and sensible solutions that help companies know their customers and keep them for life. Surado s CRM Solutions help organizations increase sales, build customer loyalty and reduce costs while providing better customer service. Our CRM solutions serve a wide range of vertical markets including financial services, healthcare, government and manufacturing. Surado s Enterprise CRM Solution targets the mid-market and supports major functions as core components of its enterprise suite including sales, marketing, customer service and customer support. Product advantages include a high degree of customization, fast integration with third party applications and advanced security options. Designed to meet the expanding and changing needs of growing businesses, it provides flexibility, scalability, reliability, robustness and an open architecture while enabling fast and easy integration with third-party and customized applications through its powerful Integration Module. To give mobile users a real competitive advantage, Surado provides a powerful disconnected version that allows full and complete access to customer information even on the road. And by simply connecting laptop to server, Surado Always-In-Sync automatically synchronizes both ways between mobile user laptop and server. For more information, please visit or call SURADO ( ), or drop us a note at Surado Solutions, Inc Chicago Ave. Suite C5 Riverside, CA USA This document may contain forward-looking statements. Such statements are only predictions and actual events or results may differ materially. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Please consult with your Surado Account Manager for more information. Surado, Surado CRM, Surado Enterprise CRM, Surado Web Self-Service and Surado Always-In-Sync are trademarks of Surado Solutions, Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies SURADO 10

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