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Customer Service News
29 May 2008

Budget killers in customer service - companies waste every second euro

Telephone hotlines are a drain on customer communication budgets

Intelligent website services take the load off service staff and make savings possible

Cost-intensive communication channels dominate customer services  
German companies can cut around 50 per cent of what they spend on customer services by boosting the services they provide on their websites. Up to now, companies have been spending, on average, a good 780 euros per 100 customer enquiries. Some 75 per cent of the budget is spent on personal conversations with customers (52 per cent) and telephone service (23 per cent). Yet only 57 per cent of all customer enquiries are actually resolved via these channels. Cost and benefit clearly do not match up here. These are the findings of the survey Multichannel Management conducted by the software company novomind AG in collaboration with the trade journal Tele-Talk. The respondents were 174 skilled and management staff in the Internet industry. 
Intelligent Web services lighten the load on service staff  
Direct conversations with customers burden the budget with an average cost of 15 euros per enquiry. By contrast, virtual advisers and dynamic FAQ systems provide the right answer to customer enquiries for just ten cents each. In practice, virtual services can deal quickly and simply with around one-third of all customer queries. That’s because some 80 per cent of all enquiries are standard ones of which the majority can be answered by providing standard information. Dynamic FAQ systems and virtual advisers, for example, understand natural language input and supply specific answers by return, round the clock, 365 days a year. The virtual agents can also forward new and particularly complicated queries direct to the company’s call centre. This speeds up the workflow and ensures that the customer is not left high and dry with his or her individual queries. 
Mobile services are a low-priced channel for short enquiries  
In addition to dialogue-based Internet channels, budget-conscious companies also use intelligent SMS services more than most. Above all, these can provide concise information, such as status reports on the customer’s order, for example. Thanks to costs of just one euro per SMS service, this channel can answer about 30 per cent of all customer enquiries while accounting for only ten per cent of the budget. 
Short-term return on investment  
Especially for businesses where there is a high frequency of standard enquiries, intelligent online and mobile services prove to be a low-cost alternative to telephone customer care. That’s because maintenance of the knowledge database and the running costs of the digital communication channels barely affect the monthly budget. 
novomind AG: innovative software for professional customer communication  
Hamburg-based software company novomind is the fastest-growing company in the fields of electronic customer communication and mail management. As a leading provider of innovative solutions for digital customer communication, novomind AG offers software for service-based, personalised interaction with customers. This achieves noticeable increases in the efficiency of customer administration, as well as a fast return on investment. The service portfolio of the Products Business Unit includes the novomind Self Service Suite. This software package contains all of the communication modules required for a customer service centre, which revolve around a central knowledge base: e-mail management, virtual customer consulting and systems for interactive real-time communication. In its Services Business Unit, novomind AG implements complex eBusiness applications. More than 40 big-name companies have already opted for novomind technology, including Citibank, Otto and the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (German Pensions Association). Club Bertelsmann, EnBW and Mexx, as well as public sector institutions such as the German Bundestag and the Federal Ministry of Economics, are already using novomind systems successfully to back up their customer communication, increase their turnover and improve their public relations.