New technology bliss and pain in a large customer service center
The evolution of customer support centers in the early and mid-90's typically grew from industry technicians providing technical support to technical people. During this same time frame, the consumer electronics industry introduced significant changes in products available to the public, products that were technically complex. Digital Satellite Systems, Digital Video Disc, home theater systems and high definition television, all quite appealing to the average American consumer, all presented to the buyer as easy to set up and use and all technically beyond the comprehension and basic understanding of the average consumer. At the same time, manufacturing costs had to be reduced due to significant price erosions at the retail level, caused by retailer profiles which shifted towards high volume mass merchants and discount stores with “carry home today, enjoy tonight” marketing efforts.
Thomson Consumer Electronics (TCE) manufactures consumer electronics products under the brand names of RCA, GE, and ProScan. The TCE Consumer Support Center currently supports 3,500 unique consumer electronic products. In order to supply the huge demand for consumer service, TCE is the first large such manufacturer to embrace the leading edge of technology in so many way and at the same time. TCE is integrating: AT&T GE Switch, Answer Soft Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), Quintus Call Tracking System, Inference Case Based Reasoning (CBR), Adobe Acrobat Viewer, Fulcrum Full Text Search, integrated FAX, Mainframe interface, and Image Document Management. These technologies were brought together in order to provide a consistent and high quality technology-assisted customer service support to a non-technical customer, which resulted in both bliss and pain to the TCE Customer Support Center. The results are summarized in this case study paper.
KeywordsCase Based Reasoning CBR Customer Service Center large scale integration technology-assisted technical support consumer electronics industry
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