September 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

Getting Personal

(Page 3 of 3)

With the analytics system, ABC has learned to focus on several key performance indicators. For example, it will monitor and take steps to assure that a customer is never more than four clicks from the information he needs. As a result, the web site is channeling more sales as customers have quickened their customer service visits. ABC now gets only about 1,000 e-mails a day, a tenth of its former amount, and it has removed its customer service telephone number from its site.

Meanwhile, sales have been consistently rising in recent years, Gudema says. “There’s a positive correlation between a person using our web site for customer service, then using it to place another order,” he says.

The revised online customer-service system has led to a 50% reduction in overall call center operating costs, Gudema says.

Gudema attributes the decline to his estimate that individual self-service contacts range in cost from 10 cents to $1.17, compared to costs ranging $9-$10 for e-mail contacts and $20-$33 for telephone calls. He and others say e-mail costs are relatively high because they often require multiple messages to clarify and settle a customer’s concerns.

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