We all know that superior customer service is the best way to retain customers and increase profits. Happy customers mean more business. But the question is, how do you provide great customer service on a limited budget? Here are a few tips to help out.
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Five Tips for Automating your Customer Service

We all know that superior customer service is the best way to retain customers and increase profits. Happy customers mean more business. But the question is, how do you provide great customer service on a limited budget? Here are a few tips to help out.

1. Provide a search engine for your web site

Often, the information the customer is looking for is already on your web site, especially if you have built a F.A.Q. system. Adding a simple search functionality to your web site allows your customers to self help themselves.

2. Create a list of Frequently Asked Questions for your site

Most people would rather find the answers themselves, rather than wait for a response. This information should be easily found, and organized logically. A simple F.A.Q page is a good place to start.

3. Create an "expert" help system

Even better is an automated system that allows you to create a series of questions and answers, which when laid out properly, allow your customers to find the exact solutions they need for tech support or product questions. This is exactly the same technique Ebay and other large sites use.

4. Have a web help desk system

A tracking and ticketing system for handling customer support issues is critical. It should support both email and web based questions. Any system you implement should understand the concept of "tickets" and should keep all correspondence related to a specific "ticket number" together, both incoming and outgoing, so you can track the status of each request.

5. Make sure you have the answers

Once your customer contacts you, you need to provide answers to their questions quickly and efficiently. Your customer database is your most powerful asset. If you can keep all your information in one searchable database, you will then be able quickly to find the information required. Has this customer had a similar problem before? Do they have additional issues that need to be resolved? What is their account status? All this information should be immediately available to your staff.

There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than having their questions or concerns fall through the cracks. By building even one of the tips above, you can reduce support costs and increase customer satisfaction. Your customer then becomes your best service representative.


Nick Temple is a free-lance software developer who was recently given the rare distinction as a Certified Developer for the Mark Joyner Farewell Package. If you're not familiar with the package, it includes source code to automate every item mentioned in this article and much more. It's only available to the first 2,000 people who respond, so be sure to get your copy today: tgl.net/mjs

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