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Customer Support and Service (CSS) is related to the overall culture or philosophy of an organisation, and this has a bearing upon company image and branding. A good CSS reputation can foster growth through the acquisition and retention of customers. The desire to become more customer-centric has lead to a strong under-pinning of CSS implementations by organisations. The provision of excellent CSS by businesses whilst also remaining competitive requires continual fine tuning as organisations seek to meet the needs of their customers and to balance these needs against sound economics.

The scope of CSS stretches from the delivery of products through to repairs, maintenance, upgrades, and finally the provision of new products. CSS is defined by the following activities:

  • The ongoing relationship between vendors and buyers in association with products and services that have been provided
  • Replacement parts, critical spares, repairs, service contracts, service level agreements.
  • Back up services, working collaboratively, optimising productivity, cooperation
  • Product enhancements and improvements, updates and upgrades
  • Advice, Information, documentation (hard copy and Web based)
  • Help Desks and the availability of service, experience, skills, and technology
  • Collaborative CRM e.g. web based chat, applications sharing, desktop sharing, file transfer and collaborative browsing
  • Faults, history, tracking, communications, call backs, remote diagnostics, and remote control software

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) developments have made it possible to provide multiple levels of CSS and to use multiple delivery channels. This has facilitated the ability to balance customer support requirements against competitive realities. The appropriate levels of service can be provided, and service levels may be escalated to meet the current needs of a customer. ICT systems can be integrated enabling information to be shared across organisations with customer records travelling as issues are escalated. CSS systems which integrate front and back office functions can lead to optimal staffing levels along with wider access to customer services. Improved scheduling of work, better fault response performance, along with remote diagnostics and testing can also be provided.


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