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Come On, Do I Really Need A Customer Support Desk ?

 If you are just starting out and are only making a few sales a week, you can probably handle your product support inquiries through your email.  Certainly the decision to move to a support desk may become necessary even if you are only making a few sales, if your product requires technical support. However, consider that the longer you put off getting your own support desk set up, the longer you look less professional as compared to your competitors that do have a support desk.
Standing Out In the Crowd
Let’s face it; in today’s competitive Internet marketplace, businesses large and small need to provide more than just quality products and services to attract and retain customers. In order to differentiate themselves and stand out amongst their competitors, they need to deliver world-class service and support, going the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty. For many businesses, the support or help desk is the “front line”, serving as the initial contact point for prospect’s pre-sale and customer’s post purchase questions and problems.

If you take a look around at most, (If not all), of the BIG Internet marketers (The so called ‘Guru’ crowd), and their sites, you’ll notice one major thing they all have in common. They use a support desk. The reasons for this are many………

1.    Big or small, they want to posture themselves through their online presence to at least appear they are really in business and NEED a support desk to handle the business volume all their products require. Having a support desk makes you look more professional in the way you do business.

Having a helpdesk is one of the main keys to high customer satisfaction though customer support. Your customers need to contact you for a variety of reasons. Maybe they've lost the password to your website? Maybe a hard drive burned out and they need to download the product they purchased from you again. Maybe they purchased the wrong item and need a return? Maybe they can't figure out how to properly install the software you sold them? Of course there are many other reasons that vary from product to product.

2.    When a prospect sees an online marketer has a support desk, there is a comfort level reached by the prospect in knowing there is a way of contacting the seller after purchase and a perceived notion they will get product support.

3.    Because it is unwise for even the smallest business to publish their email address on their sites due to nasty email harvesting robots picking up their email addresses and then send their spam to those publicly available email addresses.

4.    Email is no way for any business owner to provide support that is serious about building their business. Without a support desk system, your business seems less professional than your competitors that do have a support desk and most email programs don’t provide the flexibility of a support desk system required to professionally handle support inquiries in a traceable, timely and organized manner.

5.    A server side support desk software system helps keep all of your support issues together and searchable by several criteria – including all tickets per customer. No more disjointed communications or the old “Hey, didn’t he already ask that question”?  Or “Didn’t I already answer this customer on this issue last month”?

6.    When different customers keep submitting the same or very similar questions, some help desk systems can take these repetitive question or inquiries and make them into an FAQ “Frequently Asked Questions” page(s), thus saving your customers and you time because the answer will already be provided for them before they have even asked the question.

7.    FAQ’s, Pre-defined Support Replies or elements, canned live help chat replies and Knowledge Base Answers can not only help you save time, they can all help you to make additional sales.

8.    Hopefully your business has or will grow and you have will need additional support personnel.

What would happen if you had more than one Customer Support Representative working to resolve helpdesk issues? How would CSR-A know that CSR-B has already resolved this particular customer's issue? By having them share the same email account to receive and respond to issues? Certainly not.

How would you keep them from working on the same issue at the same time and therefore duplicate the effort? What if CSR-A solved an issue virtually identical to a support ticket from a different customer CSR-B is currently working on? How would CSR-B know this issue's already been resolved, so he could use this information to resolve his issue?  Again, a fully functional support/help desk is the obvious answer.

There are plenty of help desk server side software scripts on the market. They range from free to far more than you may need or want to spend for your businesses support needs! Some work, and unfortunately some don’t work so well. I know of some membership site scripts have a built in help desk system, but unfortunately these are usually the more expensive membership scripts and their built in help desk modules fall short on the features compared to a good CRM or Help Desk software.

The bottom line here is with all of the feature rich and robust support desk and CRM systems that are available online for FREE, there really is no excuse for any business, online or off line, regardless of how small, not to at least be using a support desk to provide fast and efficient customer support and service.

Customer support, no matter what your company provides is critical to customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction when combined with relationship building creates customer loyalty. The higher percentage of customer loyalty your business has, the more repeat business you’ll get. Don’t ever forget customer satisfaction alone will not sustain your business for the long term. It’s customer loyalty that is THE crucial factor for the long term success of any business enterprise.

Leon Edward is the owner and webmaster artof Internet Home Business where you'll find legitimate online business ideas , home business management and marketing information where you can even get step by step  affiliate marketing training to start your own affiliate marketing business
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