Term Paper: Customer Service Upgrade

IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises has decided to implement a new system to speed up the operations and contribute to the overall efficiency of the project. Taking into account the fact that this would be a second system update over the past few years, one should develop the right system to provide IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises with the right resources for several years in the future.

Since the billing system is not only about payment but also about the services that the customers are to receive, the system should not be fully sponsored by the billing department, but also by the customer service department. The customer service department will be quick to track payments and respond with the right services, inquires, questions and if necessary discounts, something that would take much more time if only billing department dealt with the payments.

In order to integrate the billing and customer service departments and allow IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises to stay close to the customer, one should adopt the new $25,000-worth add-on to the system to integrate the customer service functions. Despite a substantial expenditure and additional time required for the installation of the add-on, it is believed to prove beneficial to IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises in the future.

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The “yes”-“no” decision about the add-on for IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises depends on several factors, organizational needs and questions. The benefits of the add-on will be the following:

  1. Customer service department is closer to the customer. The new integrated system will allow the customer service department of IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises to remain in close connection with the customer. In this manner the customer service department will be quick to ask  and answer the customer questions and enquiries, analyze their activity, purchases and establish a more close relationship which usually turns out to better customer loyalty and sales (Laudon, 2004).
  2. Overlapping controls between the billing and customer service departments. Since both the billing department and the customer service department of IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises will have access to the new system, one established additional internal control to prevent fraud and mistakes with customer billing, payments and goods/services delivered. Instead of one (billing) department checking all the payments, it would be the customer service department that will be there to advise customers on certain products and recommend just the right one to satisfy the customer needs. In this manner the customer needs will be met more precisely.
  3. Improved customer service/functions. The new system will allow the customer to access their accounts online, check their sales and efficiently pose questions about the sales or certain products. The customers could be there to tell IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises what services they would want to receive and thus serve as consultants for the company (Haag, 2003).
  4. Improved efficiency. The new system in the first place will allow IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises to reduce the Accounts Receivable for each customer as it would be the customer service department to directly communicate with the customers on the matters of payment and will also assure that the newly developed friendly relationship between the company and the customers will motivate them to pay faster.
  5. Planning for the future. The new integrated system is a wonderful step towards the bright future of IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises since the company will need an integrated system sooner or later. If one imagines that the number of orders of IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises increases twofold, the company will have a hard time keeping track of them, communicate with the customers on the matters of payment. The new system streamlines the operations of IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises and allows it to reduce the long-term costs and create more efficiency.

Speaking about some other factors that one needs to take into account when considering the implementation of the add-on, one should point out the following:

  1. Right timing. The new add on will demand additional 4 weeks for installation. If the company faces some seasonal increases in demand for its goods/services these 4 weeks would mean lower than expected sales for IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises. Still, if it appears that the timing is right or if the add-on installation will not crimple the system for these 4 weeks one should proceed with the add on.
  2. Corporate needs. Here one needs to look at the corporate planning for the next 5 years and match the needs with the benefit that the add on provides (O’Brien, 2003). If the 5 year plans involve some drastic increase in sales, reduction of the Accounts receivable and perhaps the introduction of additional products/services, then the new add-on is certainly desirable.
  3. Corporate knowledge. One needs to assess not only the existing programming resources. The case study shows us that the customer service department has programmers and will be able to effectively support the new system and the add-on. One will need to evaluate the knowledge of the users of this add on and how much training they will need to work well with it. Taking into account the fact that IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises already had information system before, one assumes a decent level of competence and ability to work with these systems by the employees of IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises.

The only risks with the add-on are the following:

  1. Extra $25,000 expenditure.
  2. Additional costs associated with the training of the personnel and add-on support.
  3. Four weeks of system modification.

As one can see the only risks associated with the add-on are financial, while the benefits not only contribute to the increased efficiency, and better relationship development but also to large scale transformation. The corporate exposure to the risks is relatively small and IRTC Manufacturing Enterprises should go on with the new system and its $25,000 add-on.

Bibliography:

Laudon, Kenneth (2004). Management Information Systems : Managing the Digital Firm (9th Edition), McGraw Hill,  pp. 78-80.
O’Brien, James (2003). Management Information Systems, Prentice Hall, pp. 302-304.
Haag, Stephen (2003). Management Information Systems for the Information Age, Fifth Edition, NY Random House, pp. 120-121.

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