Teleshuttle CorporationCustomer Service on the Web:
Handling the E-mail Deluge

(Sample of Agency-to-Client Sell Piece for Teleshuttle services - Draft 8/6/96)


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The true marketing power of the Web can only be unleashed when it supports a two-way interactive, one-to-one relationship with the customer. But the Web sorcerer's apprentice finds it much harder to respond to customer input than to summon it. The e-mail deluge can swamp the customer service staff and result in massive customer disappointment.

Technology offers solutions for responding to this deluge, but the job of applying these solutions takes rather different skills and approaches than the job of creating a Web site. (At the same time, the Web site design must be supportive.)

We can apply the systems and organizational skills needed to work with both marketing and business operations units, to design and implement solutions to specific business needs. We can also bridge the culture gap between creative Web designers and pragmatic operations managers.

Solution options range from basic to sophisticated:

  1. automated routing of customer e-mail to agents based on set codes or keywords
  2. implementation of (or integration into) full-function service desk or call center management systems
  3. automated workflow processing, applying set business rules and procedures.

These solutions can overlay onto a conventional customer service call center. (Radically more powerful new approaches can deeply integrate Web-based customer service activity with conventional voice call centers. As described separately, this offers a stunningly flexible, live, multimedia solution that is feasible now--with ordinary phone lines and computers.)


Solution 1: Automated customer e-mail routing

Simple solutions are often best, and the simplest way to handle moderate volumes of customer e-mail is to apply basic automated mail sorters to sort messages by subject and route them directly to the people most able to handle them. It rarely makes sense to send customer messages to Webmasters, or to corporate marketing, or to IT/MIS. Just as with an incoming call center, the efficient solution is to route the message directly to an agent capable of responding properly to a specific class of problems.

We can select appropriate routing tools and work with the Web designers, customer service operations groups, and IT support staff to structure and deploy them. Routing is best enabled by structuring the customer message preparation process to insert appropriate subject sort codes into the message header.

Tasks we would typically perform include:


Solution 2: Customer service desk management systems

For higher volumes, and to assure high quality service, industrial-strength solutions are recommended. There are numerous proven systems which provide a full suite of functions for operating and managing service desk operations of any scale. These typically provide for calls (incidents) to be entered into a database and routed, forwarded, tracked, followed-up, aged, escalated, closed, and reported on. Incident data can be analyzed in various ways--by customer, customer category, incident type, service agent, time to resolve, number of open incidents by type, etcetera.

We can select an appropriate management system software product and work with the Web designers, marketing, customer service operations groups, and IT support staff to structure and deploy it. (We can also work with existing call center or help desk systems.) As with simple mail sorters, routing would be best enabled by structuring the customer message preparation process to insert appropriate subject sort codes into the message header.

Tasks we would typically perform would be as for e-mail routers, plus


Solution 3: Automated workflow processing

Where special processing requirements warrant custom automation support, we recommend workflow automation systems, and can provide support to deploy them as well. A variety of tools provide powerful message-based (e-mail) workflow processing--these enable complex business rules for message routing and processing to be easily specified at a high level. This permits lower cost, quicker implementation, and simpler modification as business rules change than a custom-programmed system.

We can select workflow automation tools and work with the Web designers, marketing, customer service operations groups, and IT support staff to structure and deploy it. Such tools would typically be used in conjunction with mail routing or service desk management facilities as discussed above.

Tasks we would typically perform would be as for the above tools, but in the greater depth required to apply these richer and more customized tools.


Contact Information

Richard R. Reisman, President, Teleshuttle Corporation
799 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
(212)-673-0225 fax: (212)-673-0226
e-mail: info@teleshuttle.com


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