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May 11, 2010

TMA Resources Adopts Parature for Customer Support

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

TMA Resources (News - Alert) helps professional and trade associations serve their members and customers better, selling their products to organizations such as the American Marketing Association and United States Tennis Association.

So when the customer service team found it spent 25 percent of its time on manual administrative tasks, time which could have been spent on customer support, Anne-Marie Bitman, senior director of customer service, knew it was time to take another approach.

Previously, when TMA Resources' customers e-mailed the company with questions or problems, it required a multi-step, manual process of assigning issues, and copying and pasting data into a database.

"Every time account specialists interacted with a customer, they performed those same steps," Bitman said, adding that "We needed to create a single point of entry for customers to submit issues, check on status and update tickets, and browse answers."

The company had already been using Parature's customer support software to support employee IT needs. So when the customer service department compared Parature (News - Alert) to other options, such as modifying existing databases or creating its own solution, they found they could deploy Parature Customer Service software much more quickly, and for less cost than with other software applications.

Six different areas within the company now use Parature to support their customers. Customer Service uses it for managing all issues submitted by external customers, Professional Services for tracking work orders during upgrades and implementation and Information Technology for supporting TMA Resources employees' IT needs.

Product Development and Documentation uses it for tracking all software development needs and requests, Quality Assurance for managing bugs and fixes and the Partner Program uses it for enhancing partner relations by logging and responding to issues.

"We service all internal and external audiences with Parature. Two hundred employees and contractors, about 80 percent of the company, uses it," Bitman said.

Within a year of launching Parature, Bitman said, "we reduced administrative time by 25 percent for our account specialists. They're not cutting and pasting, so they're able to handle more tickets. That translated to a 25 percent drop in the number of open tickets.

Most notably, Bitman said, the company saw major improvements in its customer satisfaction scores. Compared to 2005, before TMA Resources implemented Parature, four times as many customers now report being "satisfied" with customer service, and the number of dissatisfied customers dropped in half.

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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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