Many companies are finding they can significantly reduce customer service costs
if customers can get most of the information (order tracking, warranty
information, problem resolution, etc.) from a Web site faster than they can
using the telephone.
Of course, for this to be effective, a large percentage of your customer base must be Internet users. This is becoming more and more likely as the Web invades all aspects of life and Web browsing devices become cheaper.
Customer service Web sites work in conjunction with two other Internet services: email and ftp (file transfer protocol). Fax response and Voice Mail systems are also likely to be involved for a complete range of services.
A customer service site often includes a local search engine that allows customers to search "knowledge base" articles by keyword. If they don't find what they need, there should be easy links to email addresses for appropriate service personnel. Appropriate phone numbers should also be listed where they can be easily found.
Any forms a person might need to deal with your business should be easily available from your site, usually in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format for easy printing.
Spare parts ordering is another very good feature to include in a customer service site. Post parts lists and parts diagrams so parts can be ordered by part number.
If your business does a lot of shipping, there should be an easy way for the customers to find out if their order has shipped or not. Including waybill or tracking numbers the customer can use to query the carrier's Web tracking service is also a good idea.
An ftp server should be available for easy download of software, manuals, forms, brochures, specifications and other material that is inconvenient to view on the Web or which needs to be physically in the hands of the customer. Literature and such should be downloadable in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format for easy printing.
©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access
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