University of Twente Student Theses


Implementing a more efficient and effective multi-channel communications strategy at a support department

Manen, B.W. van (2012) Implementing a more efficient and effective multi-channel communications strategy at a support department.

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Abstract:Globally more and more companies operate in the service industry. 98% of the world’s biggest companies have a service desk and this service desk carries out the most important role in determining the level of customer satisfaction (Cheong, Kim, & So, 2008). Yet contact center managers struggle to meet their clients’ expectations on response time and channel use. This research takes a first step in tackling this problem, by analyzing the communication channels used, comparing their efficiency and effectiveness, and analyzing how these might influence channel choice. The goal is to provide contact center managers with guidelines on customer satisfaction drivers and guidelines on managing efficiency and effectiveness. This is important because by keeping client contact efficient, high service levels remain affordable, and thus, available. A question at a Support department can have several causes: the functionality of a program may be unclear, there might be a bug in the software, or new functionality may be required. These causes can be interesting to investigate, as a reduction in bugs in the software would decrease the number of questions at Support and reduces the time spent on explaining a workaround. However, this research focuses on the solution offered by Support, the communication channel chosen to convey the response, and whether clients are satisfied by the solution offered. This research examines customer support channels at a Dutch company that produces software to help support departments with the registration of questions, problems, changes, etc. Available support channels and promising unused channels are researched and compared, clients’ perceptions of support via these channels are determined, and a literature review on efficient support is conducted. The goal is to present contact center managers with guidelines on channel use, efficiency, and effectiveness, to optimize the performance of a support department. The company at which this research is held is in the unique position that it not only has a helpdesk, but also produces the software used to register questions at the helpdesk for thousands of companies. Many communication channels are used to test the software and support the company’s clients. This means the company influences a large part of the market because channels integrated in the product are likely to be used by clients. Insights gained by this research are likely to be shared in the field by consultants visiting clients and by sharing the results with respondents to the research. The research starts with a general description of the company, the problem, and a literature review exploring this problem in the first chapter. Chapter two focuses on the required knowledge, describing research questions and the required sample, measurements, and research design. The next four chapters focus on the four research questions from the second chapter. In the seventh and final chapter the findings are summarized and the conclusions of the research are presented together with a reflection on the researches relevance and recommendations for future research. At this point I would like to thank Remco Schimmel, Patrick Mackaaij, Jeroen Boks, Celeste Wilderom, Marijn van Manen, Jetty van Ginkel, my colleagues at TOPdesk, and the anonymous respondents to the survey for their feedback, interest, time, and cooperation. Without their time and support this research would not have been possible.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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