8. Electronic customer support without representative interaction

Learn the response to the eighth question in SearchCRM.com's quiz on customers and call centers. Read the answer and more detailed information on customer and call center terms.


8. Electronic customer support without representative interaction

This is a form of electronic support, allowing customers to access information and perform routine tasks over the Internet, without requiring any interaction with a representative of an enterprise.

a. Web self-service
b. remote-control software
c. self-scanning checkout
d. self-assembly

ANSWER: A

Web self-service is an approach to customer relationship management (CRM) and employee relationship management (ERM), a version of electronic support (e-support) that allows customers and employees to access information and perform routine tasks over the Internet, without requiring any interaction with a representative of an enterprise.

When it is specific to Web-enabled employee interactions, the practice is known as employee self-service (ESS). When it is specific to Web-enabled customers, it is called customer self-service (CSS). For employees and customers, self-service offers 24-hour-a-day support, and immediate access to information without having to wait for an email response or a returned telephone call. Ultimately, the success of Web self-service depends upon the quality and quantity of information available and the ease with which it can be accessed.

Deploying Web self-service applications benefits a company in a variety of ways. The most prominent motivation is the lower cost, as compared with telephone or email service by a company representative. According to Forrester Research, the cost of the average Web self-service session is $1, compared to $10 for an email response and $33 for a telephone call. Another, more controversial, enterprise benefit of self-service is the ability it affords the company to gather personal information about the people who use it. Users may be asked to enter identifying information, or their information can be collected in other ways, for example through examining click stream data. Tracking and analysis software may be used to create a pseudonymous profile of the user for research and targeted marketing purposes.

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This was first published in August 2006

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