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Providing Customer Support through Online Portals

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A research conducted by the Institute of Customer Service, UK, revealed that about 66% of the respondents were forthcoming in recommending the services of an organization that has provided them good service (Ref: Institute of Customer Service). The results of the survey are not surprising as the success of any business depends on the extent of customer satisfaction throughout the sales cycle. This is particularly true in case of complex products or software applications that need a lot of post-sales support.

What can organizations do?

One of the ways in which organizations can provide customer support is by providing information at a centrally located online portal which is easily accessible to customers. IBM has created Zlearning for its customers. Similarly, SDL Trados, that provides software for translation and localization purposes, has online training programs for their customers. They offer their customers training and certification programs via their portal Translationzone.com. Customers also have access to their free resources, forums and discussions that greatly enhance their product and domain knowledge.

However, this need not be confined to the software industry. B2B organizations dealing with complex products such as industry-specific equipment can also have a similar portal to educate their customers. In fact, at CommLab India LLP, we have set up a Corporate Learning University for one of our clients where eLearning modules that provide product training are hosted and can be accessed by customers.

Here are some ways by which a portal can be used to provide customer support:

  • Product demonstrations
  • Product installation instructions
  • Product usage guide
  • General troubleshooting ideas
  • Best Practices in using a product
  • Online discussions and forums

How can organizations benefit from this endeavor?

Generally, organizations have such information in some form or the other – either as manuals or online documents. However, having this information online in the form of interactive eLearning modules will increase customer engagement with products. Apart from this, organizations can benefit in the following ways:

  • Reduced number of calls to customer support where basic troubleshooting issues are involved.
  • More time to service staff in attending to calls that require personal attention.
  • Customer loyalty with satisfied and empowered customers who find it a pleasure using their products.

Organizations are realizing the importance of customer education and are developing customized online learning solutions for the purpose. Have you, as a customer, benefitted from such an endeavor? Are you part of an organization that provides its customers with similar solutions? Either way, it would be interesting to know your perspective. Do share your thoughts with us here.

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