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Republic uses self-service to resolve 90% of queries on first contact

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Since implementing an online customer service solution from Eptica, fashion retailer Republic says it has been able to resolve 90% of customer queries on first contact and only 6.7% of its web self-service users need to send in an email enquiry.

"We experienced a huge customer service peak in December '08 and it became apparent that our systems were not going to support business growth," says Sharon Biltcliffe, customer service manager at Republic. "One of the reasons we selected Eptica was the simplicity of the system from a user perspective; once we'd decided to go ahead it was up and running within five weeks. The contrast before and after implementing Eptica was extraordinary — we couldn't have handled the Christmas peak this year without it."

The website's customer self-service system uses an advanced 'meaning based' search engine and centralised self-learning knowledgebase that analyses the text of an inbound email customer enquiry to provide the customer services agent with the 'best answer', enabling Republic's agents to reply to customers faster and more effectively.

Eptica's software also enables Republic's contact centre to take an active part in controlling inbound enquiries. As agents encounter new questions they can use a 'one-click' action to flag them as needing an answer to be quickly added to the system's knowledge base and made available to customers via online self-service. Similarly, when the contact centre experiences an influx of questions about the same issue such as delivery times at Christmas, the information can be re-prioritised and pushed to the top of self-service pages so that customers can find it faster and therefore not need to email.

"We also use the system's knowledge base to train new agents which has cut training time by at least half," adds Biltcliffe. "We can take on temporary staff to help us with busy periods and in a couple of hours they can be ready to handle specific types of questions."

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