• March 24, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Help Desk Staff Gets Help in MS Office

Last week Help Desk Institute (HDI) made available its Online Technical Information Service (OTIS), a subscription-based Web portal that provides technical support professionals, with access to more than 35,000 data points that answer commonly asked questions about Microsoft Office products. Judy Benda, executive director of membership at HDI, which was founded in 1984, says the company has traditionally provided content to "c-level executives and the middle layer" to roughly 4,000 organizations--80 of which are Fortune 100 companies. The OTIS release marks the first time HDI is delivering content directly aimed at technical support professionals. "This is major for us, because we're meeting the membership in all three levels now: c-level executives, middle managers, and the technical layer," Benda says. She adds that unlike c-level executives and middle managers looking for information at HDI's conferences, support professionals cannot leave their seats. "So we need to meet them where they sit," she says. Technicians using OTIS can reply to customer questions via email text or with an embedded video stream that shows the end user how to resolve the problem. According to Benda, these video clips cut to the chase and are usually between 30 to 60 seconds long. If additional support is required, subscribers can email experts or post questions in collaborative forums. Users can rate the responses, so the best experts are used most often. The portal provides technical white papers, industry news feeds, and a download area for security patches and virus protections. And for those really difficult days, the portal offers tech support professionals some comic relief through its humor/de-stress area. "With HDI's announcement of OTIS, technical support professionals now have unprecedented access to valuable information, experts and tools, all in one place, at a fraction of the cost of other, less comprehensive offerings," said Ron Muns, founder and CEO of HDI, in a statement. The OTIS solution is free for everyone until June. Then the following annual fee structure will be put in place for the hosted solution, which offers volume discounts: An individual seat costs $99.95; two to 10 users cost $89.95; 11 to 50 users cost $79.95; 51 to 100 users is $69.95; 101 to 500 at $59.95; and 501 or more cost $49.95.
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