By Jeff Owen
I recently did an interview with Mike Runda, Vice President of Service Delivery, who gave us a peek at some of the changes coming to Avaya’s customer service, including enhanced web services, new diagnostic tools and swarming of technical support personnel. These enhancements are designed to create a breakthrough new benefit to customers with maintenance services from Avaya. Avaya has already been recognized by several industry associations, including JD Power and Associates and the Technology Service Industry Association, including 2 recent awards for mission critical support and hardware and overall excellence for remote hardware diagnostics (see http://www.telecomreseller.com/?p=18225). This article is a summary of that interview.
TR: Mike, one of the things you’ve talked about is total customer ownership. What do you mean by that?
Runda: There are a couple of parameters to total customer ownership. It encompasses the whole company looking at the customer situation from the time we ask about what features and functions the customer needs, to how we develop the actual hardware/software, to the customer experience on the back end. My group, GSS (Global Support Services), is focusing on owning the customer issues that come to us for maintenance services. By that, I mean creating small, solution-focused support teams by client segment and size and having our agents develop a more personal relationship with the customer and own the problem all the way through to resolution.
TR: You’ve also talked about swarming. What is that?
Runda: As we’re moving to a more multi-modal channel like the web (vs. the phone) for customer support, we now have the ability to better understand problems from the customer’s side. We know what configuration they have and what issues they’ve had before when they come in through the web. So as we start on problem resolution for the customer, we can quickly identify what additional resources we need and bring them into the online session, real-time. We’re moving to a mode now where we’ll have more and more of our resources available on the web. With Avaya’s presence technology, we can see who’s available right now to electronically bring in on the issue. Thus, we can swarm multiple deeper, backbone agents to the problem to help resolve the issue quicker in real-time vs. the historical process of handing off the problem.
TR: Mike, you’ve talked about using deeper diagnostic techniques to speed up problem resolution. Can you tell me how this works?
Runda: As we embrace knowledge management more, our technical agents will publish answers to solutions immediately. That information will be available directly to customers who have maintenance agreements, allowing them to quickly find the answers to many of their issues more rapidly via our website. The types of problems that come in to us are typically new, more difficult issues and have never been solved before. So, we’re also changing our approach to problem solving from a generic process to more specific, structured diagnostic tools based on the type of problem. We expect to have 5 or 6 brand new powerful diagnostic tools for these new types of issues, and new solution-focused techniques dependent on the problem. This coupled with the deeper skills of our agents will provide shorter resolution times.
TR: So, you’re going to use a combination of knowledge management, new diagnostic tools/processes, and agent skillsets to more quickly resolve customer issues.
Runda: Exactly. As an example of how this is already working, we’ve tested one new tool already and found an 80% reduction in total time to resolution on network layer problems.
TR: As you look forward, how do you see things shaping up for Avaya customers?
Runda: We’ll have a great 2012. As I said earlier, we’re listening to what the customer has been telling us via feedback forms and surveys. They’ve been asking for an amazing online experience for support and I think we’ll be able to give that to them. We’re investing in our website, making it much faster, more intuitive, and easier to use. We’re really flipping the service paradigm around by having our agents online to help customers. If a customer can’t find the answer they’re looking for on the web, our agents will be right there ready to chat or video in with the customer to help resolve the problem immediately. Within minutes of an agent resolving a problem, we’ll have it posted online for other customers to access.
Obviously this summation can’t cover all the nuances or details of the full 10 minute podcast. Go to http://tinyurl.com/7s9yn8k to hear it all.