Customers were happy to move away from the telephone to a Web-based model.
Posted Oct 18, 2004
Delivering top-notch global support was a must for Creative Labs to continue its strong growth.
The primary focus for the company--a provider of digital entertainment for PC users, was to move away from a predominantly telephone-based support service. To support this strategy, Creative Labs implemented a KANA Web self-service system, as well as KANA applications for email management and live chat. "The driver was, a huge number of people were looking for this service," says Andrew Killeen, technical support manager for Creative Labs Europe. "Customers were happy to move away from the telephone to a Web-based model."
Upon initiation, the knowledge base only functioned in English. But because about half of Creative Lab's customers are in Europe, offering multilingual support was imperative. "We were looking for a solution that would support our customers in localized languages, but would service customers on both the self-service and email side worldwide," Killeen says.
A multilingual support application now allows Creative Labs to send localized email support in about 20 languages--16 European languages, Korean, Japanese, and traditional and simplified Chinese. Within the knowledge base Creative issued a single English implementation globally, and rather than opting for the full 20 languages set localized versions in what's becoming know as Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and a new version of traditional Chinese for customers to handle routine requests via Web self-service.
"There's a synergy that comes with launching both of these applications together," Killeen says. "Because we have the ability to handle all of the various languages, character sets, and complications that come along with the languages, we can give quick responses to email and, with this, can move customers more easily to adoption of email as a support channel of choice."
As the Web service applications progressed, traffic to the knowledge base has jumped to 300,000 unique customer visits per month. Telephone calls have dropped by two thirds, to 9,000 per month, accompanied by abandonment rates as low as 6 percent. And customer satisfaction rates with regard to both email and telephone support have risen, largely due to deflated wait times.
Advisors can now send emails containing a link to the knowledge base, which details the same steps in writing as a service rep would give over the phone. Most important, intimacy hasn't been lost in the process: If customers have any lingering questions or concerns they can simply reply to the email and will be responded to. "You still get that one-to-one service," Killeen says.
As a bonus benefit Creative has significantly improved its ability to match capacity and demand. Support advisors switch to email during low call-volume periods and focus on telephone calls during peaks. "The key thing is that our product line has diversified a lot--it's a constantly evolving process, and it's not just a case of developing a knowledge base and putting it up there," Killeen says. "It's a combination of our own internal Web-development expertise linked with the power of the knowledge base engine to get the best results for all [our] different customer types."
By diverting inquiries from the call center to the Web Creative Labs experienced the following:
traffic to its knowledge base has jumped to 300,000 unique customer visits per month;
telephone calls have dropped by two thirds, to 9,000 per month;
call abandonment rates are now as low as 6 percent;
customer satisfaction rates have increased.
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