A Customer Support Portal to Rely On
An enterprise software provider for the management of commodities from farm to fork, iRely serves organizations that handle the origination, trading, manufacturing, and distribution of commodities. Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind., it has about 400 customers in the agribusiness, petroleum, trading, risk management, manufacturing, and retail industries. It has five other offices throughout the United States, one in the United Kingdom, two in India, and one in the Philippines.
The company was receiving, on average, about 1,600 technical support cases a month, but customers had no visibility into where their cases were in the queue and when they could expect them to be resolved. IRely's own visibility wasn't much better. Any changes or updates had to go through a complicated manual process with multiple phone calls, interfaces, applications, and departments involved.
So in January 2010, the company decided to replace its homegrown customer service and support system.
CustomerWise helps automate and streamline help desk activities with configurable workflows, process approvals, email integration, project management, integrated knowledge management, and the availability of customer self-service through a customer Web portal.
The system provides a single point of contact for customer requests and submitted incidents and the ability to automate reminders and review the approval of incidents and requests. It can be integrated into most CRM, help desk, defect tracking, and test management applications, and brings together Web, wireless, and client/ server technologies.
By switching to CustomerWise, iRely was able to integrate billing into the primary system and move from monthly to weekly billing. Additionally, the company reduced the number of agents from six to four, gained full visibility into the production cycle and service-level agreements, and improved customer service.
Fixes that once took up to 60 days to complete are now done in about five days.
"Very quickly we were able to identify bugs [and] where they were in the system," says George Olney, iRely's chief operating officer. "We can track [a case] from the time that we receive it to when it is back in the customer's hands, fixed. That's huge for customer satisfaction. Before, we didn't know where things were."
The CustomerWise solution has also cut the number of support cases each month from 1,600 to 1,200, because customers can use the Web portal to find their own fixes to common problems from a comprehensive knowledge base and advice forum.
The number of calls has been cut in half, with many repeat calls about the same case being eliminated. "We can send [customers] an automated email to let them know the status of their case," Olney says. "There are way fewer calls per case because of the automatic updates."
And with improved tracking, fewer calls are needed between departments and offices as well.
For Olney, the installation couldn't have been easier. "We installed it on our own, built the databases on our own, and integrated it on our own. It was that simple," he says. "It was a relatively self-explanatory system."
Less than a year into using the new system, iRely is very pleased with the performance and the return from the system. "I couldn't be happier with it," Olney states. "We've gotten the full ROI inside a year."
- Since implementing the CustomerWise help desk and IT support solution from TechExcel, iRely has:
- reduced the number of agents needed to field customer calls from six to four;
- reduced the number of cases per month from 1,600 to 1,200;
- reduced the number of calls per case by 50 percent; and
- reduced the amount of time needed to resolve each case from 60 days to five days.