The Challenge for Customer Service: Managing Heterogeneous Sources

The Challenge for Customer Service: Managing Heterogeneous Sources

Guy Saward (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
Copyright: © 2000 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-82-7.ch004
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Abstract

It is a truism that customer service is the key to business success. It is particularly true given competition and new business practices lead customers to want products that are “free, perfect, now” (El Sawy et al., 1998). The trend in UK customer service, led by the U.S., is for service delivery via Call Centres to be deflected towards the Internet. Providing the knowledge to support this (O’Leary, 1998), along with relationship management (Duke et al., 1999) is a key application area for knowledge management (KM). However, the research into KM for effective customer service is minimal. What is clear is that publishing information on an intranet, extranet, or Internet does not constitute effective customer support. This chapter takes a case study approach to exploring knowledge management for customer service. The key problem we are working towards solving is how best to deploy knowledge via distributed information systems. The case study is derived from the author’s involvement in a project for a financial institution (referred to as AFI throughout). It describes a particular approach to managing knowledge that combines elements from information retrieval (IR) with KM. A key part of this is the evaluation of alternative interfaces that take different approaches to the presentation of search results.

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