Companies need to re-evaluate online customer service channels to meet EU directives
27 November 2008; Companies with consumer facing websites may need to re-evaluate their existing online service systems in order to provide fast, efficient responses to customer enquiries warns Eptica (www.eptica.com). Companies who overlook this advice could fall foul of EU e-commerce directives leading to bad publicity, lost sales and fines up to €100,000.
Recent court rulings against companies whose websites failed to comply with EU directives include a low fares airline and a leading German insurance company*. In one case, for not publishing an email address on its website; and the other for failing to provide internet customers with a rapid, effective means of communication as an alternative to submitting their enquiries by email.
These cases demonstrate that companies should act on EU directives for web site customer service, which include using email and web forms as a direct and effective way of communicating with customers, and that online queries should be answered within sixty minutes.
“Understandably, many e-commerce sites don’t make email addresses easy to find for fear of opening the floodgates to a deluge of email enquiries, which they cannot manage,” comments Dee Roche, European Marketing Director, Eptica.
“When web self-service systems are used as a front door for online customer enquiries, a significant volume of routine questions can be answered automatically on the website, leaving customers satisfied and the company with fewer emails to deal with,” continued Roche.
Eptica believes the key to improving online customer interaction, without overwhelming customer service teams, is to give consumers the option of obtaining the answers to their questions directly online through web self-service. This provides a speedier first option to submitting an email. Customers that need more help can be automatically routed to a customer service agent by email, phone or chat, based on the nature of their enquiry or customer profile.
Eptica allows multi-channel customer interaction to be managed through a single customer service knowledge base, using workflow to ensure responses are accurate, consistent and timely. Using Eptica Web Self-Service, content is created from agents’ email replies to in-bound email queries, this mirror the questions customers are searching for online, thus keeping the knowledge base up-to-date and in tune with customer requirements.
Web self-service reduces routine and repeat enquiries, giving customers the freedom to quickly find information online and leaving contact centre agents with more time to deal with complex requests. By managing in-bound emails more efficiently, repeat emails can be reduced by 25% and email handling time by as much as half. This results in an overall reduction in in-bound contact, including phone calls.
Eptica also enables companies with pan-European operations, such as Hotels.com, to respond to enquiries from their European websites using a single, multi-language customer service knowledgebase and email response management system. This achieves greater efficiencies and speed of response, ensuring each enquiry is routed to an agent with the appropriate language skill. Hotels.com has complete visibility of all online customer enquiries and its entire customer contact operations across Europe.
Eptica is the leading European provider of multi-channel customer interaction software and is ranked on the 2007 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA.
Thanks to its in-house or on-demand SaaS solutions, Eptica allows more than 200 companies to deliver consistent, managed service across all channels (web, email, chat, fax, letter and SMS). These web based applications enable dramatically improved customer experience and business effectiveness.
Eptica has many clients, including: Confused.com, Hotels.com, South East Water, Brent Council, Societe Generale, La Redoute, ING, Barclays and DatingDirect.com.
Eptica has offices in the UK, France and Spain and operates worldwide through its network of partners. For more information please visit: www.eptica.com.
For further press information please contact:
Kate Smyth, JD Marketing
T: +44 (0) 20 8297 5388
Dee Roche, European Marketing Director Eptica
T: +44 (0) 11 8949 7797
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