Radialpoint Helps Carriers, CE Outfits Support the Networked Home

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  May 22, 2012

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine.

For years telephone companies and other interested parties have talked about the placement of the demarc – or demarcation point – and where it should be. The demarc is the point at which the telco’s reach and responsibility ends. For telephone service, that point traditionally has been at the NID, or network interface device, attached to the outside of the home. That was pretty cut and dried, and it made things relatively easy for the service providers.

The rise of the Internet, broadband and home networking has altered thinking about the demarcation point and, indeed, whether there should be such a thing at all. That’s given the fact that service providers increasing want to get a foot in the door with customers in an effort to sell them not just network access, but higher-margin services. The problem there, however, is that managing and maintaining equipment and services inside customer homes is a significant undertaking – one that can be so complex and costly that it won’t necessarily result in a payoff for the service provider.

But a company called Radialpoint (News - Alert) has stepped forward to help broadband providers and consumer electronics companies more efficiently service customer requests for support that address issues all the way down to the consumer endpoint. The Radialpoint offer might, for example, be used to enable a service provider to guide its customers through the process of setting up or troubleshooting Xbox Live or a whole home network.

Jordan Socran, vice president of business development, equates the Radialpoint offering to “a white-label Geek Squad.”

The Radialpoint solution involves a SaaS (News - Alert)-based platform that service providers and CE outfits can configure to launch remote technical support, explained Socran. The platform includes device-based applications for users so they can click to chat; billing components so companies can charge customers based on incidence or whatever parameters fit their strategies; scripting to remediate problems; and more. Organizations that employ the solution can use their own labor to support the effort, or Radialpoint can provide the labor for them. Because the platform is web-based, the representatives staffing the customer support can be located anywhere.

The company also can aid organizations in creating bundles of services. For example, a mobile operator may want to offer a device location or family tracking feature. Radialpoint can help the service provider customize and support that kind of an effort.

“We recognize a lot of the large technology brands are looking at service and support as a clear means of differentiating their businesses,” Socran said, adding that some want to do it to drive new revenue, and some intend to offer support for free in an effort to get customers to buy more of their core products and services.

Radialpoint can help companies deliver “a real white-glove-type service,” as opposed to delivering traditional-type support, which is all about handle times, said Socran.

Now is the perfect time for an something like this, he added, given broadband operators are getting a lot of customer calls about things (like PC, TV and home networking questions) that have nothing to do with what they offer, he said. It’s also a good match for the consumer electronics space given TV manufacturers are now introducing app stores, so they’re rethinking what it means to build customer relationships.

“Every consumers technology brand is in the services business whether they know it or not,” he said.