• February 1, 2007
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Remote Support for the Masses

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Forty-one percent of North American households have broadband Internet access at home, according to "North American Consumer Technology Adoption Study 2006," a Forrester Research study announced in July. As adoption of broadband services continues to incline, telcos like phone, broadband, and digital TV services provider Windstream Communications are faced with a consumer conundrum: servicing not just tech-savvy users but nontechnical customers as well. The $3.2 billion company--formed through the spinoff of Alltel's landline business and merger with VALOR Telecom--faced an uphill battle, though. The telco grappled with high call volumes while operating with no insight into consumers' PCs, no automated self-service choices available to customers, and no other tech support channels aside from phoning Windstream's service reps, according to Dave Fritz, senior vice president of IT at Windstream. Fritz adds that the company had an "installation process that did not check the customer's PC qualifications and did not provide a smooth automated process to establish Windstream ISP services or email accounts." Windstream selected the Motive High-Speed Data solution, management automation software that has been rebranded Broadband Check-up Center for Windstream's purposes, according to Ben Geller, Motive's director of strategic marketing. The firm took a phased approach to its Motive deployment, implementing the solution from February 2005 through June 2005. "By providing zero-touch activation, an easy-to-use self-service capability that allows subscribers to turn up high-speed data services themselves without having to call a CSR or request a truck roll for an on site technician, Motive enables carriers like Windstream to provide a consistently high-quality service experience for all their subscribers," Geller says. Windstream's customers now experience better service. "Motive software automatically diagnoses and resolves common customer service issues, which instantly boosts the customer experience," Fritz says. "Call center reps are armed with the know-how to explain how to quickly and easily download the Motive solution or how to use it on Windstream's portal." The payback is hard to ignore. For starters, incoming calls to the telco's call centers have plummeted 38 percent, while its agents' call-handling capacity grew 125 percent, enabling CSRs to handle 50 percent more accounts than in the previous year. Additionally, Windstream has increased the reliability of remote diagnosis and problem resolution, which resulted in a significant drop in costly truck rolls, according to the company. And Motive notes that on average, each of Windstream's 253,000 non-Motive-enabled customers makes 1.75 calls per month to the call center. Each of the 144,000 Motive-enabled customers makes less than one-half of a call per month. "Windstream is working to encourage approximately 200,000 legacy broadband customers to adopt Motive technology," Fritz says, and for the future, "we want to use Motive's diagnostic capabilities to gather even more data about the customer's processing environment to help service reps resolve issues even more efficiently and effectively. The company also plans to integrate Motive with its contact-tracking system to analyze call patterns and discover additional ways to serve its customers better." The Payoff As a result of implementing Motive's self-service and remote troubleshooting software, Windstream Communications has seen:
  • incoming call volume drop 38 percent;
  • agent call handling capacity increase 125 percent; and
  • non-Motive-enabled customers make 1.75 calls per month to the call center compared to Motive-enabled customers making less than one-half of a call per month.
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