September 29, 2005, 12:00 AM

MyGolfBallStore.com cuts customer phone inquiries by over 80%

With a hosted call-center system for automatically responding to customer inquiries, MyGolfBallStore.com has sharply reduced its number of received e-mail messages and phone calls and eliminated its need to expand its customer service staff, it says.

With a hosted call-center system for automatically responding to customer inquiries, MyGolfBallStore.com has sharply reduced its number of received e-mail messages and phone calls and eliminated its need to expand its customer service staff, president and co-founder Bob Allen says.

“70% of our customer service workload has been eliminated, and our customer relationships have never been better,” Allen says.

MyGolfBallStore.com, which operates both on eBay and as a stand-alone site, sells more than 2 million golf balls a year in addition to other golf-related products, says Joyce Melvin, manager of customer service and shipping. “We’re a small staff doing high volume,” she says.

Melvin and one other employee handle all customer service inquiries, though Melvin alone often would be hit with dozens of phone calls and hundreds of e-mails a day. Instead of adding customer service employees to expand call-center capabilities, however, MyGolfBallStore has signed up with HostedSupport.com to provide automated responses to most customer inquiries and a web-based system for managing e-mails that need personal attention.

Using HostedSupport’s ezSupport for eBay and ezSupport Pro for stand-alone web sites, MyGolfBallStore has reduced the number of phone calls it receives by more than 80% while almost eliminating the number of e-mails that require manual review, the retailer says.

“I used to get dozens of voice-mails a day, now if I get as many three I’m surprised, and two of those are usually hang-ups because our voice-mail greeting instructs customers to go to our web site to fill out a problem ticket,” Melvin says. “We used to get hundreds of e-mails a day, and a good 150 could be inquiries for order tracking numbers or product weight. Now less than 10 customer e-mails per day require manual review.”

The ezSupport applications provide a Frequently Asked Questions section that settle most inquiries about shipments and product definitions, Melvin says. For inquiries that need special attention, customers are directed to fill out a problem ticket that remains within the ezSupport application for ease of access throughout future correspondence between the retailer and the customer, she adds. When such correspondence remained only in the retailer’s e-mail system, it was difficult to organize and follow up on what could be multiple messages to and from the same customer.

By saving time communicating with customers on routine matters that can be answered by FAQs, the retailer is now able to spend more time with customers who really need help, Melvin says. “We have a lot of older customers who aren’t comfortable using the web, but if they call me with a problem, I create a problem ticket for them in ezSupport and from that point on it’s easy to maintain.”

MyGolfBallStore’s stand-alone site is hosted by Zoovy Inc.

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