Customers and Sales Channels expect a very high level of support from their suppliers in today's competitive business world.
With just about every business becoming more and more 'knowledge based', Customers and Channels are becoming ever more demanding:
- With shorter product/service lifecycles and multiple collaborative projects creating more and more support information requirements
- Tailored products and services for specific Customers requiring individually customised support materials, and
- Up-to-date information required instantly by everyone!
Provision of a central on-line system - available anytime, anywhere - is now more or less mandatory, but provision of standard public information from an ordinary 'marketing' web site is no longer sufficient:
Some of the specific features now demanded for Customer/Channel Support are:
- The ability to provide individual Customers and Channels with their own secure login to access their own specific information
- To allow Customers and Channels to be automatically notified when on-line information that they nominate is changed in any way
- To be able to send Newsletters and other Notifications via email to defined set of Customers and Channels to just keep them generally up-to-date or to alert them to specific issues
- To complement standard FAQ content, provision of on-line Forums for various Topics is needed where Customers and Channels can post queries that are answered, thus building a repository of self-help material that can be easily 'trawled'
- To provide a more formal 'Help Request' or 'Fault Reporting' system where a 'ticket' is opened and the issue to responded to through to closure in a structured way, and where the Customer or Channel can track the progress of their individually reported item
- For Channels in particular:
- Additional sales oriented support information is required including the provision of specialised training which may be made available on-line, plus
- The tracking of large/important end customer sales cycles that individual Channels are managing
In addition, since Customer and Channel Support can never be considered as an isolated activity, the central system can evolve to support other Sales & Support activities such as Sales Management, Bid Management, etc., as well as being integrated with other functional areas such as Marketing & Strategy, Products & Services, etc.