I Want (and Get) My MTV!

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While Akamai Technologies’ Web-content delivery efforts are technologically complex, its support stance is fairly simple: Put the customer first, a tenet that helped win the company one of this year’s Stevie Awards in innovative customer service.

“Our philosophy’s to be one step ahead in the service perspective,” says Craig Adams, who leads Akamai’s customer experience team. MTV Online Networks, a New York–based division of Viacom, experienced this firsthand. “We had a site (Neopets.com) that was slow—really that’s all we knew,” says Rob Roskin, MTV’s manager of online operations and emerging technologies. “The site needed help and we didn’t know where to get it.” Akamai recommended technology that sped things up. “From the second that the change kicked in, people suddenly said it was so much faster,” Roskin says.

Roskin deals with Akamai’s support team several times a day. “[So much] happens last minute that we don’t have the time to do it wrong,” he says. “I can tell [Akamai] something in my own language and because we work so often together, they can understand what I’m sayings and translate it into results.”

Adams boils Akamai’s service philosophy down to three tenets: Work for the customer, measure success based on customer success, and use service and support as a core business differentiator.

“The minute you start aligning services [with] customer industries, you are signaling the importance of understanding business implications and success based on [the] customer,” Adams says.

Roskin says MTV’s issues are unique, such as an extreme amount of piracy on one of its video sites. In the past, this meant MTV had to take down the site, a move that affects many stakeholders. With a quick turnaround, Akamai developed a solution to reduce the piracy to relatively zero—without having to take down the entire site in the process.

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