Category: SSP

New Age Customer Self Service Portals for CRM

Traditionally, CRM self service portals used to be the web support channel for customers. Some companies extended this concept and used such portals for employee management, dealer management etc. However, such use cases are very minimal.

Even today, majority of the self service portals in the market focus on these standard functions only:

  • Register / Login
  • Search / View Knowledgebase published by the company
  • Create Service Requests

While these basic features are required, modern web support (whether it is self service or assisted) wants to go a step beyond this. For example, let us take an example of a college, deploying their own self service portal for students.

  • College students get a login (or can register) in the portal
  • They can login, see the college knowledge base / download documents
  • In case they have a support requirement, they can create a service request

Wait a minute, when you say “Service request” what do you mean?

For a student, it may mean many things: Requesting for a mark sheet, Requesting for an attendance certificate, Requesting for a change in the profile phone number etc.

While all these are service requests, their nature is not the same. For example, when requesting for a mark sheet, they may have to provide additional details such as their examination number, year of exam etc. When requesting for an attendance certificate, they may have to say this certificate is required for what purpose, from which date to which date etc.

This means, even though portals call it with a single term “Service Request”, it actually means many things. You can’t have a single form and expect that to serve every possible service request case. Either that form will be too generic not serving the purpose, or it will be too long and users will run away.

Customer Service Management

To take care of such problems, CRMIT’s CRM++ Self Service Portal is moving in the direction of dynamic SR Types Management feature. This means, companies implementing CRM++ SSP can design their own types of Service Requests, and design unique forms for each one of them, with specific fields, labels they are looking for. Customers will love this because only targeted questions are asked, Agents will love this because all the information they need to solve a particular problem is right in their hands.

Stay tuned for our next SSP release.

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Handling “Contact Us”

Today I found an interesting question in quora.com:

How do large and small networks handle the influx of “Contact Us” messages? Are there volunteers that screen and answer complaints and questions? Or is there an online “call” center that handles such traffic? Is this outsourced? And what’s the best strategy for a small network to adopt, can it be handled on a shoestring budget?

When we think about this, it is not specific to Social Networks, or any kinds of companies, and applies to everyone, only the number of “Contact us” emails may differ from website to website. Hence, I took it as a generic CRM Service Management / Email Response / Social Media / Brand Building Problem and wrote an answer like this:

This differs for each social network (or for that matter each company / website). I have read that amazon.com handled (or handles) this in a really rapid manner (Have a team of individuals answering 10+ Emails in a minute!), I still wonder how they can get some good answer in 6 seconds or so!

Trick may be, using a large template database, Because the questions being asked are very repetitive and you can form categories easily. As long as you can judge which one this current question falls under quickly, all you need to do is copy paste. As your support staff become more and more experienced, this can be done in 6 seconds are less!

To answer your specific question, if you want to provide a machine like support, a shoe string budget operation may work. If you want to provide personalized attention, need a larger and more commited team, whether that makes business sense or not is a different story altogether 🙂

On a related note, CRM systems handle this “Contact Us” Problem in multiple ways, to suit multiple channels (Emails, Web Form, Chat, Phone (Audio Call), Social Networks etc.,). We have deployed end to end solutions to handle these, and automatically convert them to CRM Records (Leads or Service Requests or any other object), so that they can be handled effectively.

My take on this will be, automate as much as possible, Handle the rest by manual team members to provide the best possible experience. Good luck!

Do you agree? What will be your strategy to handle this? How do you think the biggies are handling it? Share your thoughts in : http://www.quora.com/How-do-social-networks-handle-Contact-Us

– Naga Chokkanathan, CRMIT