Web Self-Service Is On the Rise

A recently released study on service and support shows that Web-self service is on the rise, but its effectiveness has not kept pace and that increasing electronic support costs threaten to erode any savings advantage over phone support. Those are just two of the many key findings in "The 2003 Support Industry Benchmark Study, "a report from The Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA) that highlights critical benchmarks and best practices used within the support industry. "With responses from more than 300 companies and the addition of peer group analysis by company size, this year's report is our most comprehensive yet," says to Bill Rose, founder and CEO of SSPA. According to the study, Web self-service transactions have grown 116.8 percent from 2002 and now account for three-quarters of all support transactions. Web self-service use is high, but its effectiveness remains moderate. Another finding shows that the cost differential between providing support by phone and electronically is closing, thus diminishing the potential savings from electronic support services. Customers are using more support services than ever before, but the move from submitting cases by phone to doing it electronically has stalled due in part to continued disparity between phone and electronic support service levels, the study reveals. The report from the San Diego-based industry association also show that employees' attrition rates have dropped to 5.8 percent in 2003, a 56 percent decrease from 13.2 percent in 2000. The study says this indicates "the potential for significant, pent-up attrition as the economy improves." To avoid employee shortfalls in the future, support organizations should be developing retention and hiring programs to meet the staffing challenges ahead, the report advises. The study claims that the percentage of cases closed at first contact continues to decline. However, the length of time a case is open continues to increase. This results in higher resolution costs for escalated cases and increased customer dissatisfaction.
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