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Automated Support Can Head off Customer Problems at the Pass



Every time your customers fail to find what they're looking for on your website and have to talk to a live person, it costs you money. NanoRep thinks there's a better way. The 2-year-old company has developed an automated, self-service customer support system to help small businesses head off help desk problems and reduce the reliance on live support by up to 92 percent.

That can mean considerable savings. A phone call with a support representative can cost as much as $33 a session, the company said.

As a self-service customer-support system, nanoRep's software provides instant answers to customer questions across all support channels, including email, live chat, Facebook pages and Twitter. It enables companies to steer resources away from support systems via a scalable, self-learning question-and-answer tool that doubles as a sales tool to increase conversion rates.

Launched in early 2009, nanoRep is used by nearly 100 companies, including WIX, Plimus and IKEA.

Using nanoRep, the companies input their FAQs into a single knowledge base that automatically adds every new customer question and response provided by a support representative. Within three months, nanoRep says its system is able to accurately answer up to 92 percent of customer questions without referring them to a rep.

The system utilizes linguistic search engines to analyze and understand user questions before retrieving a real-time answer from the knowledge base.

A nanoRep support widget will follow customers across every page of a company's site as well as its Facebook page. NanoRep says it will provide accurate answers instantly or escalate the question through an intuitive ticketing system.

When customers ask the same question in different ways, nanoRep automatically learns to connect them to the correct answer in its knowledge base. That relieves customers of the frustration of having to search multiple FAQ topics for the answers they seek, the company said.

Because nanoRep can instantly answer questions about merchandise and promotions, it can generate leads and serve as a sales tool. NanoRep says reported conversion rates have climbed 15 percent on average for companies using its software.

Small-business pricing for nanoRep begins at $199 monthly for up to 1,500 answers per month.

On average, nanoRep says its technology saves companies $2.40 per support session.

"It doesn't matter how detailed your website is; if customers don't find the information they're looking for in seconds—whether it's sales- or support-related—they're gone," said Doron Herzlich, nanoRep's CEO.

For small businesses experiencing rapid growth, there’s a drain on limited resources to expand help-desk support to match increasing customer demand, Herzlich said.

"Any tool that keeps your support reps in control of incoming question volume without having to bring on additional reps is going to be appreciated," he said. "Because nanoRep channels reps’ expertise into a single, automated knowledge base that’s able learn from what customers ask it the most, growing businesses are able to spend on R&D, marketing, PR, you name it."



Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.


Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.