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CSS (customer service and support)

Once known as the “complaint department,” CSS is responsible for retaining and extending customer relationships once a product or service is sold. Due to the increasing complexity of customer interactions, customer service organizations need a complex technological infrastructure that is flexible, extensible and scalable and that integrates front-office applications with back-end processes and data. The components of CSS include

  • Call management — The core functionality of CSS applications. This component is used to log all incoming telephone calls and transactions and to manage the transaction from initiation through closure.

  • Internet-based customer service suites — Also known as e-service suites, these applications and tools empower customers, partners and prospects for self-service and interactions with the enterprise via the Web, an intranet or an extranet.

  • Field service and dispatch (FS/D) systems — FS/D has become an essential element of complete CSS suites and is an important element of customer relationship management (CRM). FS/D software is evolving from solely back-office functionality to an enterprise system that tightly couples the back office with the front-office servicing systems.

  • Contact centers — Traditional call centers handle voice-only customer contact, whereas contact centers include all types of channels of customer contact, including voice (e.g., telephone, IVR, speech recognition and voice verification), the Web, fax, video kiosks and e-mail. This is an inbound and outbound service-based environment in which agents handle all types of contacts regarding sales, customer service, marketing, telemarketing, collections and other functions.

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