In the case of customer-driven initiatives, customer loyalty can be increased as long as the Web experience is pleasant and customizable. The ROI in such an initiative is based on the ability to create repeat business by tailoring the customer experience. This means that each time the customer returns to the self service site, the site remembers his or her preferences and purchasing history, which will save the customer time during the interaction.
However, one of the risks is that with online customer service, all competitors might look the same. Additionally, opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling might not be maximized. There is value to the human touch that comes with a call center interaction and the ability to transmit passion and commitment between employees and customers. These abilities should not be underestimated.
This was first published in March 2007