Archive for July 2008

NTRglobal: More Than Just Remote Control

July 31, 2008

The #1 remote support solution in Europe is now making a splash in North America.  In a briefing last week, NTRglobal, whose headquarters are in Barcelona, said they are getting more visibility on this side of the pond for their hybrid remote/proactive support solutions, and with a recent round of funding (€22 million/$34 million–oh, how the dollar has fallen) they are investing heavily in their SaaS platform. I including NTRglobal in my recent research report, “SSPA Research Product Comparison: Remote Support Platforms.”

What I think is unique about NTRglobal is that remote control/remote support is only a part of what they do.  Right after our Spring conference I wrote a post about how many areas of customer service are merging, and I published a follow on article with more detail (Blurring Boundaries Complicate Tool Selection).  One area I haven’t talked about much is the merging of remote support with proactive support.  While remote support today means connecting to a piece of customer equipment while they are on the phone with you, proactive support means being alerted to problems and fixing them without ever interacting with the customer–just their equipment. 

NTRglobal has bridged this gap. (more…)

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Is your remote control security bullet-proof?

July 31, 2008

When it comes to remote control, I always say “Convenience overrides paranoia,” meaning that customers will get over their paranoia at having a stranger accessing their system when they see the value that comes from using remote control (faster and easier problem resolution) .  But for this to work, you need to make sure that the customer has absolutely nothing to worry about.

I’ve recently talked to a few members about remote support and security, and also we just recorded a mini-webcast, sponsored by Bomgar, with an open discussion on security and compliance with Phil Smiley, Director of IT Security for SSPA member BMC Software and Phil Demuth, VP of Internal Systems for ITI Fiserv. It was a really enlightening discussion. For instant access to this 30 minute mini-webast, click here.

Here’s what I learned: (more…)

From the WSJ: Outsourcing Suppliers Ranked by Client Satisfaction

July 16, 2008

I pride myself on providing useful, actionable information to association members, but there is one area where everyone has questions and I don’t always have answers:  outsourcing providers.  During my time at Forrester I published some reports on best practices for outsourcing IT and service desk operations (co-written with Robert McNeill and Bill Martorelli), but those were compiled by interviewing companies on what worked and didn’t work with their outsourcing contracts, not by speaking with the outsourcers themselves. 

At our most recent SSPA conference I had 3 or more requests for outsourced tech support providers, and I have a short list of specialists I recommend, including American Customer Care and e4e , but I’m not familiar with the big names.

Luckily the SSPA has lots of members who are experts in outsourcing, as well as some partners.  To my knowledge, the best expert on the who’s and how’s of outsourcing is Sath Sathyanarayan, President and Principal Consultant for Global Development Consulting. Sath is author of “Offshore Development & Technical Support: Proven Strategies And Tactics For Success,” and he is a long time friend of the SSPA, having helped with research projects, posted white papers and presented at conferences on outsourcing issues.

I received an email from Sath today with links to some interesting articles, and following his links I found a very useful article from the Wall Street Journal, “Outsourcing Suppliers Ranked by Client Satisfaction.” The information is from an survey intended to identify the 50 best-managed global outsourcing vendors. The survey ranked outsourcing vendors according to responses by executives and others involved in outsourcing decision-making about their experience and satisfaction with current suppliers.

#1 on the list?  HP.  Also listed are other SSPA corporate and community members, including CSC, ACS, Unisys, ADP, Oracle, CA, SAP, etc.  There is a short commentary on each provider, as well as their rankings for previous years.

Where does your supplier rank?  And if your supplier didn’t make the top 50, how about suggesting they join the SSPA and learn how to provide even better service? 

Thanks for reading!

ClickSoftware brings real-time field scheduling to utilities, telco, tech and now…The Olympics!

July 15, 2008

Field service scheduling has come a long way since the days of printing out a route sheet at the beginning of the shift with the field tech’s entire day already planned. In preparation for various Green Support projects I have in the hopper for Fall, I had an update briefing today with ClickSoftware, whose solutions are helping companies drive up field tech productivity, increase appointments per shift, and decrease miles driven to lower the carbon footprint of field service operations.

Five years ago it seemed the CRM vendors were going to take the lead in mobile and field service solutions, but that never came to pass.  As CRM/ERP players began to focus solely on platforms, we stopped hearing about mobile devices and real-time scheduling from most of them, and that lack of focus opened the door for specialists.  This is well demonstrated in ClickSoftware’s revenues, which have been growing steadily, with 23% growth in 2007, and guidance of 20-25% revenue growth in 2008.  ClickSoftware has partnered with some CRM providers to provide ‘out of box’ integrations, including Microsoft CRM and SAP’s Netweaver. 

Today ClickSoftware’s revenue is evenly split between North America and Europe, though now with offices in Japan and partners across India and China, they are seeing rapid growth in Asia/Pac as well. (more…)

Threatening Customers–A Poor Tactic to Raise Customer Satisfaction

July 8, 2008

I took my car in for a 20k service visit last week.  And just as winter comes after fall, a week after my service appointment, The Letter appeared in my mailbox.  You know what letter I mean–all dealerships use them now to cajole, if not threaten, customers into giving them high marks for satisfaction.  “Thank you for choosing <Dealer Name> for your recent warranty repair.  We will continue to be the answer to all your parts, sales and service needs.” So far so good, though I’m smarting a bit at the term ‘warranty repair.’  If the repairs were under warranty, why did it cost me $1200?  But I digress.

“You may be getting a survey from the <brand> manufacturer.  They will be asking you if you are completely satisfied with the warranty repairs and service on your car.  If you are completely satisfied, please indicate so.  If not, please contact me so I can immediately look into the matter…  Remember, anything less than an outstanding (bold theirs, not mine) score on the survey is considered a failure on our part.”

Boy, oh boy.  Where do I begin in the list of ‘worst practices’ I see developing as companies use gorilla tactics to gather high satisfaction marks? (more…)