Focusing on the Customer Experience

During a standing-room-only keynote Monday Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina talked about the genesis of the more than 150 products HP is launching beginning today and running through September: customer focus. Eighteen months ago HP set a goal to simplify the digital experience for customers, Fiorina said. For example, what began as a 57-step process to take and print a digital photo has been reduced to three steps. HP's vision, Fiorina explained, is to make technology simple to use, so customers will have a positive experience that will translate to increased usage. "Products are just the beginning," HP's Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president, imaging and print group, said when he took the stage. "We need to make sure that the buying experience, out-of-the-box experience, and support experience is really working. So we're converting from being product-centric to being customer-centric." In fact, one of the most important items HP launched at the show wasn't a printer or laptop or digital camera, but was its HP Total Care customer support and service program. The program builds on its Total Customer Experience program that surveys customers on product and support satisfaction. HP Total Care introduces 24x7 customer support in multiple languages, same-day repair in the United States through Best Buy, and enhanced online e-support and self-service. It also includes a new speech-recognition IVR that already has cut customers' time navigating the IVR by 50 percent. But these enhancements are just the beginning, according to Chris Shea, HP's vice president, consumer services and support for the Americas. This month HP will complete its PeopleSoft implementation across its call centers worldwide (see Overly Ambitious). The system will support HP's more than 4,000 agents who handle more than one million calls per month. HP has modified the PeopleSoft call center desktop to be an agent launch page that allows agents to handle a case from start to finish. Later this year it will add computer-telephony integration to ID customers who call in by caller ID or purchase information. And the IVR will use rules to route calls to agents with the most appropriate skills and skill level, based on the customers' needs. The company is working to integrate phone and Web--customer care using its CRM capabilities, including integrating its Web-chat and email support into PeopleSoft in HP's next fiscal year. One goal is to have the most appropriate support information launch on the self-service site when a customer signs in. Another goal is to allow customers to create their own My HP Total Care page. These are in the design phase, with a target launch of late next year. Prior to the upcoming holiday season HP will launch its Closed Loop initiative for customers who cite in a support survey (which follows every support incident) that their issues were not resolved. Closed Loop gives those customers the option to have HP contact them at a day and time that they select to resolve the problem. According to Shea, the primary goal of HP Total Care is to increase customer satisfaction. In addition HP aims to increase its first-call fix rate and reduce the time its agents and customers need to spend on the phone. But over the long term the initiative will enable HP to transform appropriate support calls into sales calls. "We want to be fast, friendly, and effective for the customer," Shea says.
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