When you are newly in business, it’s hard to get a handle on everything that must be done to succeed in business. Building and selling your product have to come first, after that, how much energy do you have to devote to other issues? Supporting your end users needs to be on the list! Using the Internet is one way to maximize the value of your efforts.
- Provide Documentation/Manuals.Somehow it always happens that when the user needs a manual it’s not to be found. You can minimize your customers frustrations by providing PDF copies of your users manuals on the Internet. Keep your on-line version up-to-date, and provide every version that a customer might need. It’s easy, cheap, and provides great value. When you refer to a manual, be sure that you reference the correct version, and mention where that version can be found.
- Warranty Registration.If you let your customers enter their name, address, model, serial number, point of purchase, etc, over the web then you don’t have to keep up with those stupid cards. No more filing, and your customer does the data entry. You also get a great source of leads for upgrades, and a nice list of names to market to.
- Replacement Parts Ordering.Your customers have registered their warranty, read their manual, but still sometimes parts just wear out. You can send your customers to a retail store, or sell your own genuine parts on-line. If you want to sell through on-line retailers, you and at least provide links to your preferred dealers.
- Frequently asked Questions.You know what they are, everyone does. That same question that comes through your switchboard 10 times a day. Nip that in the bud. Provide a well organized interview, where the system asks 3-5 questions shows relevant SOLUTIONS. Then offer…
- Questions Answered.Let your customer type their question into your web page. From that web page generate an email to your support people (maybe you). Then make it easy for your support people to update the list of frequently asked questions.
- Warranty Claims.Lets go all modern and let the customer file a warranty claim over the Internet. Why make it to hard? Clearly something is wrong, you need to make it right. Perhaps if you have a good enough software company, you can complete the negotiations without ever talking on the phone. This is especially important if your customers are not in the same country as you.
With these functions, you’ve covered the basics of what on-line customer support means for a small manufacturer.
Eugene Jones is a principal at http://www.nauvou.com. Nauvou is building the next generation of web based customer support systems for small to medium sized manufacturers. If you want to be a part of next generation web solutions, you can reach Eugene at firstname.lastname@example.org , or by calling 501-223-2100.