CRM-Forum writer Lindy Cheyne reports on how BT is helping its employees to help themselves
When the number of calls to BT’s internal help-desk reached the one million mark, the introduction of automated, Internet-based technology became critical. BT has selected Support.com to improve the situation. The technology will improve the IT service desk’s efficiency – cutting call times and enabling BT employees to fix their own problems quickly and simply.
Initially, the service is just for employees suffering from IT. The knock-on effect to BT's customers, however, will be less-stressed agents who can spend more time answering customers’ queries – and less time sorting out their own IT problems.
In terms of practical improvements, staff will see faster, more personalized service.
Terry Lawlor, director of marketing EMEA for Support.com, explained: “Providing answers in text form has always had a limited success. Support.com provides the means to capture automatically information about the user’s environment. If a user says, ‘I can’t run email,’ we will know the package, the operating system, other applications, and disk space available. To this, we add context and personal information, and take the question to the knowledge base to find right answer.”
Responses can be automated to the more common questions. For example, if you are going on holiday, you might want to set your vacation message on email, saying that you are away, and giving a contact.
There is no point in being trained for such an eventuality, because you will use it so rarely. The answer is to automate. It’s called just-in-time support. The message says, ‘Click this button, fill in the text, and I’ll do it for you’.
But will the lessons learned be carried through into BT’s interaction with its customers?
“BT was impressed by Support.com’s referees, including Cisco, which has taken our software for all of its 30,000 employees, getting payback and rolling it out externally, said Lawlor.
“Success in an internal project often leads to the deployment of similar technology in the external customer interface. I anticipate this might be the case for BT, which is innovative in support of eTechnology internally. It’s encouraging. Yesterday I head a woman speaking for BT Ignite application services. She had a good mantra – ‘Use what we sell, sell what we use,’
The initial deployment will pilot Support.com’s software platform across several BT divisions, resulting in fewer calls to the service desk and a reduction in the time and costs involved in resolving employees’ queries.
“As more and more complex technology is deployed in the workplace, the demands on IT support have been increasing. We have recognised the need to automate the support process in order to run a cost and time-efficient service desk,” said Ian Gardner, IT operations director at BT.
“We anticipate that not only will Support.com’s software enable us to scale support to meet the increased demands from the business, but that it will also increase our internal customer satisfaction.”
“BT shares our vision of improving service levels by automating and personalising support over the Internet, whether employees are in the office or working remotely,” said Tony Rodoni, general manager, EMEA at Support.com. “Our software platform provides the flexibility and scalability to meet the support needs of the most demanding enterprise, which is why many of the world‚s leading digital businesses have selected Support.com. We are delighted to be working with BT on this new and exciting initiative.”
The British public will be delighted, too, if the improvement filters through the next layer.
British Telecommunications plc is one of the world’s leading providers of telecommunications services and one of the largest private sector companies in Europe. Its principal activities include local, long distance and international telecoms services, mobile communications, Internet services and IT solutions. In the UK, BT serves 28 million exchange lines and more than seven million mobile customers, as well as providing network services to other licensed operators.
Support.com is the leading provider of support infrastructure software essential for digital business. Its unique software platform allows businesses to automate and personalise the support they provide to their customers, partners and employees. With the growing reliance on digital processes to drive business operations and growth, Support.com believes companies face a tremendous burden: the fundamental need to better support users, systems and processes.
Support.com customers have successfully deployed the company’s infrastructure throughout a range of intranet and extranet-based environments. Fortune 1000 companies using Support.com’s software include corporate enterprises like GE, Cisco, Delta, and Fidelity, plus service providers and OEMs like IBM, Sony and [email protected]. Its headquarters are in Redwood City, California, USA, with offices throughout the world.