April 1, 2004, 12:00 AM

Specialized Bicycles` two-barreled benefits from automated customer service

Specialized Bicycles has realized extra mileage out of its online customer self-serve feature. Not only has it cut way back on customer service calls, but it has gained data on customer concerns.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Specialized Bicycles, an online retailer that also sells through independent bike stores, has realized extra mileage out of its online customer self-serve feature. Not only has it cut way back on customer service calls, but it has gained data on customer concerns that it now uses to further educate customers, the company says.

Specialized began using the RightNow Web self-serve customer service system from RightNow Technologies Inc. in 1999, which led to a reduction of more than 60% of its call center work load, says RightNow, which hosts the self-serve application.

It has since built up a database of information related to concerns expressed online by customers, covering about 500 issues and providing support material for producing better online customer service manuals. Last year, it recorded more than 260,000 self-service web sessions that did not need to use live customer service, Specialized says.

“RightNow is an extremely powerful and strategic platform for customer service,” says Sean McLaughlin, marketing manager at Specialized. “We are getting our customers accurate answers to their questions immediately at a far lower cost than we would if we had to reply to hundreds of thousands of calls and e-mails. Plus, we are keeping customer satisfaction at very high levels.”

 

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