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Firms are investing millions to deploy web based self-services at their call centers primarily to reduce operating costs. The rationale is that the firm's cost of interacting with its customers through the web based channel is an order of magnitude cheaper than the assisted channels like telephony. The authors conduct a field study at the call center of a prominent US health insurance firm to examine the benefits of web based self service channel. On the one hand, the web channel may substitute the telephony channel in some cases. On the other hand, the web also exposes customers to more information about their health policy, claims and coverage.
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