Categorized | Customer Support

Back Office 5.12. Customer Support

Customer support is a very specialized communications fulfillment function that involves fielding customer questions, complaints, and inquiries. Customer support services require a much more intimate working knowledge of your services or products than telephone reception.

Why would you require customer support?

  • You are selling a product to many customers―you need a customer support service to answer inquiries (What’s the product like? Where do I buy it?) and resolve complaints.
  • You are selling a product, like software, that is complex or difficult to use or understand―you need customer support to answer customer’s use questions. You may not have a large customer base, but the customers you do have are going to have problems that need quick resolution.
  • You are selling a product that is subject to mal-performance or breakdowns (like an Internet hosting service) and you have to resolve technical glitches or breakdown issues.

There are several ways for a service to handle customer support: call centers, automated phone help systems, online chat, or email. All are available through outsource providers and each varies in cost and effectiveness, with the most expensive, but most effective, service being live phone reception. Since even the biggest companies in the world can no longer afford full-out live customer service, most customer support is handled by automated systems, online chat, and email.

5.12.1. SupportSave

With their facilities housed in the Philippines, U.S-based SupportSave essentially hires a customer-service “employee” for you to be 100% dedicated to your business. Unlike many other outsource providers, who cater to small- and medium-sized businesses, SupportSave does not share staff between businesses. The employee is literally yours eight hours per day, five days per week. SupportSave does the hiring process, provides a space for the employee, and manages the employees’ productivity. And the fee, no matter what that employee is hired to do, is $697 per month. Since they target small- businesses and entrepreneurs, their strategy is to provide outsource services at a low cost. Besides call-center customer service, SupportSave also provides accounts receivable services (which means: they call the people who haven’t paid their bills).

5.12.2. Ybrant Technologies

Ybrant specializes in e-commerce businesses and offers services in software creation, Web site design and copywriting, email marketing, search engine optimization, and customer support for e-commerce. Their customer support system manages customer queries, concerns, and complaints primarily through email and chat twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week. They specialize in technical customer support (hardware and software), but also have experience in travel, media, Internet, and retail.

5.12.3. WebGreeter

WebGreeter, based in Michigan, provides live online chat operators for customer support and sales. They specialize in retail, online e-commerce, universities, and auto dealerships. They provide solutions specialized for site size: 1,000-2,000 visitors per month, 2,000-10,000 visitors per month, and over 10,000 visitors per month. The service is a high-touch service―an online chat operator greets every visitor to your Web site. WebGreeter also offers “admins,” either dedicated or shared, to help answer your emails and perform scheduling tasks for you.

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