Your decision to implement an e-service solution should be a strategic one that includes vendor research and analysis prior to selection.
Posted Jul 14, 2003
Recent research from NUA Internet Surveys estimates the total global online population at 580.78 million with the average number of business emails sent per day expected to hit 12.9 billion worldwide this year. By 2005 this figure will almost double, to a staggering 22.2 billion emails per day, according to IDC.
Yet companies continually fail to respond to email inquiries, do not provide adequate customer self-service tools on their Web sites, and do not integrate these systems in a meaningful way. Although e-service solutions have become a competitive necessity, they fail to meet customer service expectations.
Here are seven rules for choosing the right e-service solution:
1. Integration with existing infrastructure
The solution must fit within your existing architecture, and it must easily integrate with your back-end systems. Since many contact centers guarantee 24/7 service and predetermined response times, your solution must provide robust fault tolerance, standard protocols, and redundancy.
2. Plan for volume growth and peak periods
According to IDC, the volume of business email will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent between now and 2005. Analyze your email traffic, determine your peaks and valleys, and implement a solution that can accommodate your highest peaks.
3. Expect intelligent solutions
Easy, fast configuration is critical: E-service solutions work by comparing inbound communications against a defined set of rules. A few vendors have developed self-learning engines. These solutions will reduce setup time and complexity of updates.
Demand accuracy: Accuracy should be in the high 90 percent range; demand proof-of-performance.
Customers have complex questions: Select a system that has the ability to allow for agent review prior to being sent to other departments.
Look for consistency across media channels: Select a vendor that can provide a consistent, seamless, one-stop-shop solution and architecture to support all e-service channels.
Look for help managing your staff: Systems today are capable of balancing workloads, setting response times, and determining escalation procedures to more effectively manage your staff.
4. The solution must work in multiple locations and settings
Your company is complex. Not all contact centers within your organization operate in the same manner, with the same service levels and response times. Select one solution that can address global, diverse requirements from one centralized system and that allow you to manage each contact center individually.
5. Multiple language support
Be sure your system has the capacity to manage multiple languages, including double-byte characters, concurrently, across multiple locations, in multiple contact centers, with localized user interfaces for your agents.
6. Excellent service, not rapid response
Customers want quick, effective answers, not just responses, to their questions. When selecting a solution, choose one that allows you to configure which customers receive priority treatment and one that allows you to track agent performance.
7. The solution must be easy to deploy, maintain, and update
Regardless of what tool your organization uses to measure return, make sure the vendor you selects guarantees to meet your goals. Be certain that the solution has easy to maintain rules and is also easy to implement.
E-service offers organizations the opportunity to communicate with customers via a cost reducing, modern interface. Your decision to implement an e-service solution should therefore be a strategic one that includes vendor research and analysis prior to selection.