September 30, 2002, 12:00 AM

Talking It Up

(Page 3 of 3)


It’s not just plug-and-play

While the technology of a web-enabled call center can help make customer service reps more effective, there are a number of questions that need to be answered before implementing a web-enabled call center, says Kowal Associates, consultants in customer service:

- Are you prepared to have service available 24/7? Offering web-based service some of the time may not be enough.

- Do you want to build this capability in-house, or will an outsourcer be a better solution?

- What level of service offering are you prepared to support - e-mail, chat, voice, co-browsing? Each has increasing complexity.

- Do you have phone reps with web skills? Phone reps weren’t hired for their writing ability.

- How sophisticated is your customer base? What will they expect in web customer service?

- How much quality control do you need over web communications? Unlike phone conversations, e-mails provide an audit trail showing what the company said.

- Are your current supervisors and managers equipped to deal with multi-media?

- Is your telephone system ready to support data as well as voice? Do you need an upgrade or a forklift?

- Does your technology allow home-based web agents? It’s a great way to accommodate after-hours support needs.

- Are you ready to have customer service contacts increase by 15-40%? Many web interactions are incremental and don’t replace a phone call.

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