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The proposed project is the development of an effective automated customer service attendance in a mobile phone network service provider. In his research, Carroll (2009) identifies customer service as referring to the services provision to customers, before and after the purchase of an item. Turban et al (2002) claim that customer service constitutes a series of activities, which are designed in order to enhance the level of customer satisfaction. In each industry, the customer service is exhibited through various means. However, in the communication industry, it is more essential and plays a significant part in the desirability of communication services by communication service providers. For instance, the mobile phone network service provider may be taken as an example. This is where an integrative customer service feature should be a commonplace. Usually, service providers cater for a large customer base. It is a necessity that the underlying needs should be catered for to each customer. The provision of a mobile network service is a complex affair. A client feels that if there is an element not being satisfied, he or she will be able to reach the provider at any time. As such, a client will be inclined to call into the customer care offices in order to be assisted. Therefore, customer service plays a significant role in any business. However, in the mobile phone service provider companies, it necessitates more staff to be assigned in the customer service department in order to render adequately comprehensive customer care to their customers. This implies the increasing costs, yet it does not necessarily mean that the increased customer service workers will provide an effective customer service. Indeed, in the current customer service practice of the mobile service providers, there is a lack in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency. Customers still complain of discrepancies in the customer service efforts, and it is detrimental. Thus, there is a need to come up with a customer service system, which will ensure the effectiveness of the customer service practice in mobile network providers. The purpose of this project is to propose an automated customer service for the Oracle handset network service provider. Oracle is known as one of the market leaders in the provision of network services in different countries across the world. In relation to other corporations of the same nature, it has the most advanced customer service offering; though, it is not effective to the required or desirable capacity.
The Objectives of the Business
The business is characterized by six distinctive business objectives. Foremost, the business aims at maintaining leadership with regard to the quality of the handset network services provision delivered to the stakeholders, especially to the service users. The second objective of the business is to provide the communication related products, whose quality is superior in relation to other products of a similar nature provided by other mobile network service providers, at the best and affordable prices to the customers. In addition to this, the business aims at rendering respect to all individual initiative, as well as, providing opportunities necessary to facilitate personal growth to all the staff of the company, particularly the employees. A further objective of the business is to establish a noticeable strong management team encompassing not only effective but also transformative leadership skills. Moreover, the business aims at becoming a market leader when it comes to the provision of the customer service to the network users. The very last objective of the Oracle mobile phone network provider is to attain both profit and growth as a means to establish all values and objectives set by the company.
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The Prevalent Situation and the Statement of the Problem or Opportunity
Currently, the customer service system in place at the Oracle mobile phone network provider is human delivered. Humans attending to the customer queries characterize the customer service provision system, and this is subject to the ineffectiveness owing to the level or the degree of the work involved. In the company, there is a customer service department that responds to both physical and virtual queries to the company by the customers. The department has several staff working day and night in order to respond to the calls made by the customers irrespective of the time, either in the day or night. However, the customer service workers who work during the day are not the same as the one that work with the customers all night long. It means that the work is done in shifts. When a customer calls, a customer staff that is at the time not engaged is required to respond to the call and pay attention to what a customer wants.
At Oracle once a customer calls, a customer service staff is required to pick the call, introduce himself or herself and then clear out what a customer intends to ask. They must do this in a polite manner just as what customer service entails. Regardless of whether a customer is dissatisfied with something regarding the company service provision or not, the customer service staff should take the responsibility of paying attention and withstanding what a customer might express. In this regard, some customers are vulgar and arrogant whenever they feel that they are not being understood or when they perceive that their problem is not being addressed. The customer service staff is required to maintain composure and try his or her best not to respond to such arrogance (Kongthon & Kongyoung, 2009).
Sometimes, the customers might have a lot of complaints, some of which are extremely complex in their attributes. In such cases, the customer service staff should not be well versed with possible solutions in order to give satisfaction on the part of the customer. Rather, an inability to respond according to the demand or desire of a customer will make a customer shy away and possibly turn to other mobile phone network providers. Similarly, for those customer service staff working at night, they experience the same incidences. Their cases are even worse since the customers call at the weird hours and talk for long without stating clear-cut problems. The customer service staff at the Oracle mobile phone network provider usually experience rather hectic moments attempting to clear out every detail accordingly. This makes such a work more demanding and daunting as the productivity is not a commonplace. While they are employed in the Oracle mobie phone network provider to promote the business by making customer satisfaction a commonplace, most of them deliver partially due to the complexity in their job.
It is evident that there are a lot of prevalent problems. Foremost, the customer service system under use in the Oracle mobile phone network provider is unproductive due to the nature of the work involved – complex. The next problem is the constant erroneous responses to the customers calling to air their concerns, particularly due to the fact that most of the questions posed by the customers are complex and are not to the handling capability of the customer service staff. Moreover, wastage of time resources and efforts, especially on the part of the employees, in addition to customer delay during the address of queries since a staff has to refer a case to another customer service staff member who is more familiar with the problem posed. Also, the customer service system used at the Oracle mobile phone network provider requires more staff in order to ensure that response work is completed in a quicker manner. It is rather problematic on the part of the company due to the costs involved, including acquisition, training, and development costs.
In addition to this, at the Oracle mobile phone network provider, only customer service staff work at night such that where a case refers to other departments, a customer cannot be attended to since there is no representatives from other departments within the company at that particular time. Another prevalent problem is that the generation of lasting solutions cannot be initiated under the current customer service system. While there are several others, the lack of security authorization cannot go unnoted. As such, the current customer service at the Oracle mobile phone network provider requires customers to be attended to, whether he or she is just calling without stating any problem. This gives a throughway for any caller to reach the customer service whether with the right motives or other unwarranted motives. Matt (2009) equates this to the insecure authorization of inappropriate parties or persons.
Fundamental Constraints and Assumptions
Pertaining to the proposed system, it will incorporate a fully automated customer service system, which will be very efficient in the management of each and every query by the customer regarding the company or its products and services, including the responding to rather complex customer problems. The proposed system is perceived to be an invaluable asset for the Oracle mobile phone network provider. The management of the Oracle mobile phone network provider is required to render entire or full support to the proposed new customer service system. In addition to this, the management of the company is mandated with the responsibility of providing the necessary financial outlay for a specified period in order to facilitate its establishment and installation (Kongthon & Kongyoung, 2009). Moreover, the management of the Oracle mobile phone network provider must assume the responsibility of taking care of the internal operating costs while at the same time customers are supposed to be satisfied accordingly. Once the new system is established and installed, I prefer that it should be run through the use of the hardware, as well as, the software already in place. Moreover, running the system necessitates a great deal of technical support, even long after its installation.
Analyzing the Options and Recommendations
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To address the opportunity of establishing and installing a new customer service system at the Oracle mobile phone network provider, there are three particular options. The foremost one is to continue using the old customer service system and to opt not to inflict even a slight change. The day-to-day customer service procedures are performing as expected. As a result, continuing with the current customer service without putting in place any new system is a viable decision. However, if this option is adopted, it follows that the problems identified will continue persisting.
The second alternative is to acquire a new automated customer service system that serves to satisfy every requirement. In the system, it is a requirement that every employee receives the appropriate training in an effort towards helping him or her to know how to work with the automated customer service system effectively.
The other available alternative is the Information Technology staff within the business coming up with a new customer service system. If the required skills do not exist in the Information Technology department, the management team will be necessitated to send the nominated Information Technology team to a well-training program organized by the customer and facilitated by the external bodies and individuals or hire new Information Technology staff with the prerequisite skills.
In my own point of view, it is necessary to acquire a new automated customer service system at the Oracle mobile phone network provider that serves to satisfy every requirement. In this option, there is a need to acquire a new automated system viable to manage the daily customer service activities. The mandate of establishing this system will be delegated to a company that specializes in such practices. In addition to building the automated system, the specialist company will be required to train all the customer service employees of the Oracle mobile phone network provider in order to be able to work with the system.
The Preliminary Requirements of the Project
The proposed project with encompass many features. However, the most fundamental features will include: the transfer of each and every customer service operation undertaken within the Oracle mobile phone network provider so that each will be conducted automatically rather than by people. Doing customer service operations using electronic means is vital as it will follow that both the customer and the client’s time will be saved adequately. In addition to this, doing things electronically will necessarily save efforts of the employees, as well as customers.
Further, with the proposed new automated customer service, the customer service related information will always be available regardless of the time of the day or night. A client getting clarification from the system will be an extremely task in relation to the customer service approach already in place (Kongthon & Kongyoung, 2009).
Also, in the proposed automated customer service system, information will be recorded and saved in a secure manner, and only authorized persons with privileges will access the stored information.
It will be ensured that the system encompasses a broad coverage of the customer service related queries. It should be noted that even technical quarries will be incorporated. With regard to the existing customer service system, technical queries by customers are usually referred to the technical team of the company. All customers will be required to press numbers on their handsets when they are prompted to do so.
The new system will also entail the provision of the interactive automated services to the customers accessing the system. This is in a bid to encourage using the system believing that a solution to their perceived problems will be found and solved.
The new automated service will shun away arrogant callers and those who are calling just for their sake. In the existing system, those who call just for their sake of it without any particular query are attended to regardless whether the customer staff is irritating or not. However, in an automated customer service system, everything will be programmed in such a way that a customer will be required to listen to the automated voice, and depending on his or her query, a customer will be prompted to press a number in order to be attended to (Knapp, 2010). Therefore, there is no chance of the unwarranted callers irritating the system.
The system will encompass a well-facilitated and formulated query response procedure such that it will resemble the current customer service system, but it will alleviate the human aspect of the system.
Budget Estimate and Financial Analysis
The proposed project is resource-extensive. Thus, it will require a huge resource outlay. While this is so, the financial outlay will be the most intensive. For this project to take off, it will necessitate a budget of approximately $1 million. This budget estimate has been done on the basis of:
$500,000: Acquisition cost of the system;
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$175,000: Acquisition of hardware equipment;
$125,000: Training of the customer service staff on the new automated customer service;
$200,000: Maintenance operations on the automated system per year.
The benefits of the new automated customer service system have based on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the customer service practice of the company. Further, the benefits are based on reducing the number of the staff needed given the increasing need for customer service attributes in the communication industry (Blacharski, 2006). Moreover, the benefits of the automated customer service will surface the non-referral of complex cases and those that pertain to other departments of the company. In the current customer service system, where cases are complex, the attending customer service staff will refer it to another well-versed staff in order to address a customer, and if a query regards another department, a customer is advised to call the next working day when the staff in the concerned department will be in the working place. However, in the new system, the automated program will entail a broad range of solutions regardless of the complexity level and the concerned department.
The Scheduled Estimates
The schedule details of the proposed automated customer service system are fully described in the MS project file. As such, the MS project file indicates each and every step and procedure entailed in the new automated customer service system. It has the start and end dates and also describes the processes and the necessary steps to see the new system replace the existing customer service system. The management of the Oracle mobile phone network provider would desire much to observe that the proposed project is completed within a period of five months. If this term is exceeded, it should not go beyond seven months. This delay may be caused by the unforeseen situations, such as late deliveries of the materials necessary to assist in the successful implementation of the project, such as computers. The implementation of the new project on the scheduled time may be hampered by delays on the part of the suppliers whereby they may take a considerable time in delivering the necessary raw materials for the system. If the schedule is run as stipulated, the schedule time will be inclusive of one month towards the end of the implementation. This will allow or provide the customer service employees, to be imparted with information regarding the operations of the new systems through training provided or facilitated by an external company specializing in the automated communication services. In addition to this, the period will be used to test the effectiveness of the system through the internal testing. The employees and other staff of the company will make calls to the customer care department using their handsets and then follow the voice prompts by the automated customer service system.
Macfarlane (1990) defines a risk as the potential that a specific activity or event, or action will arise and result into a loss. However, Macfarlane (1990) claims that it is just a general definition and that each field has own definition. The manner in which a risk is defined in the food industry is entirely distinct to the manner in which it is defined in the workplace setting. The proposed project is in the workplace discipline. Therefore, in the context of a workplace, risk is defined as a product of the consequence, as well as a probability of a hazardous phenomenon or event.
For the proposed project, there are various risks involved. In the modern customer service, mental tasks are involved. These include navigation and control of the automated system among others. Therefore, there are significant hazards encountered. However, most of these pertain to the poorly made decisions. In this regard, the specific risks include: poor decision making by the automated customer service system, poor shared decision making, as well as, degraded decision making, especially when the automated customer service system becomes unavailable, due to such things as maintenance.
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