Thursday, November 11, 2010

Benefits of an efficient Support Site

Most ecommerce sites provide support:
1. Support on product usage - To provide support on user queries on product usage. This maybe part of the package that the user bought like an 'add-on' or these maybe queries that the user is entitled to having bought the product
2. Support on product failure & product related problems - Products fail and can have problems during their in-warranty period. This is support that both the seller and the product manufacturer are required to support. Even if the product manufacturer is supposed to handle it, nothing stops the customer from contacting the seller - and forms an important component of customer experience

Support can be provided by:
1. Having a toll-free number where folks can call in
* Need to have a dedicated staff to take on the calls - FTE Cost
* Cannot cross-use staff on other activities, during peak season there are likely to be a higher number of calls - FTE Slack time
* Low FTEs means high waiting time - Customer Satisfaction Effected
High FTEs means high idle time
* Core Competency logic may result in moving this to a 3rd party meaning lesser control
* Variability: Customer may have varying levels of satisfaction depending on the person he contacted - Bearing on Customer Satisfaction

* Personalized Experience

2. Having a site where users can find solutions to their problems

* Zero Ongoing FTE Cost
* Having clear paths for common problems can ensure that 70-80% of the problems have the same kind of resolution path with no variability
* Overall - cost of resolving a problem online is much lesser than resolving a problem offline (that is through a call)

So an efficient support site can reduce the overall cost of ownership of running an e-commerce business

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