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Help Desk Software - Web Based Support
Its a whole new era for customer service, thanks to web-based solutions that can provide intelligent answers to customer questions, using less expensive alternatives that email or telephone services. Self-service is the latest innovation and it seems to be one that benefits both service providers and consumers. It allows customers to seek their own solutions, solve their own problems, and get the support they need when they need it, without substantive time gaps between the time the question is asked and the time it is answered.

A recent survey by a popular research group shows that, by 2008, the number of customer questions posed and answered over the Internet through self-service channels will reach approximately 1.8 billion. What that means for the provision of self-service technology, is that this will become a $9.2 billion industry all by itself.

One of the challenges that companies face, however, is how to consistently provide a meaningful, high quality of service, and keep costs within reason at the same time. And, because customer service is one of the primary factors responsible for keeping consumers happy and returning to do business with the same company over and over again, it is important that the company offers these customers a number of options. That means multi-channel access encompassing phone support, email, web navigation, and, excellent self-service.

Self-service is critical because it emulates live support, but provides a more cost effective solution. One of its primary values is the ability to address the most commonly asked questions, which comprise a large proportion of those that are asked. This ability reduces the necessity for direct contact through email and telephone, and provides substantial cost savings in those two areas.

There are some important attributes to look for when selecting a self-service solution and the ability to provide the right answers is one of the most critical. The search services provided need to allow customers to focus on a single answer. Linguistics are being used to produce single answers or a short list of related topics. Some of the newer technologies are so effective that answers can be delivered with up to 98% accuracy, a strong factor in gaining customer confidence.

In addition, natural language understanding is an important issue in self-service solutions. The solution needs to be able to handle dialog and process queries presented in natural language. Users respond more readily to a natural language search and will use it more often, as a consequence.

Companies should select self-service solutions that flow seamlessly from their websites, leading the customer in an unnoticeable transition from the main site to the adjunct self-service site. Todays solutions are so sophisticated that, based on their understanding of the question and the subject matter, these solutions can even shift the customer quickly and easily to an affiliate site. When the system is operating as it should,the customer simply asks the question and the solution determines from which knowledge domain the data will be retrieved.

The ability to use existing data is important when implementing a self-service solution. Web pages and files, suggested or related topics, videos, voice slips and manuals all provide sources of information that can be valuable to the customer and must be integrated into the automated solution.

It is crucial, however, that a self-service solution also has the capability to determine when a question cannot be answered and escalating it to the appropriate channel to gain a solution when necessary. High end questions may always have to be answered by a human being on the other end of a telephone line, but a self-service solution can cut down drastically on the number that have to be processed in that way.

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