TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community



tmc logo
March 2009 | Volume 12/ Number 3
Service Provider Insights

Minimize Customer Support Costs with a Task-Oriented Self-Service Approach

Telecommunications service providers must continually balance the task of satisfying their customers’ support needs with the cost of providing such support. While end customers have traditionally relied upon vehicles such as “calling customer support” or “visiting web-based support,” advancements in CRM technologies have enabled the development of scalable, web-based self-service models that address a customer’s needs in a much more cost-effective and manageable manner. The model that I feel works best in most situations is what I call a “Task-Oriented Portal”.

The Task-Oriented Portal

The task-oriented model assumes the customer is seeking assistance with a specific issue or need. The array of “issues” or “tasks” presented with this model is relatively finite with each containing a path towards a solution. For example, in the telecommunications space, some common tasks include:

  1. How can I activate my service?
  2. How can I add an additional telephone number to my service?
  3. How can I forward calls to a different number?
  4. How can I change my credit card information?
  5. How can I change my billing address?
  6. How can I see my call detail records?
  7. How much am I paying for calls to a particular international destination?
  8. How can I understand my monthly phone bill?

As many telecommunications service providers will notice, these typical questions are often the reason for support calls to customer service departments. If customers are given the tools to take care of these predictable issues themselves, live support agents can be better utilized for other truly complicated tasks.

A 360-Degree View

In addition to routine account procedures and changes, customers often call support agents with questions like “what services have I signed up for, how much am I paying for each of them and what features are available for these services,” to name a few. Enhancing your task-oriented self-service portal with a 360-degree-view of each customer’s account will help further reduce support interactions and the associated costs. IT

Ramprakash (“Ram”) Narayanaswamy is Vice President of Engineering at 8x8 (News - Alert), Inc. (

» Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents

Today @ TMC
Upcoming Events
ITEXPO West 2012
October 2- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
The World's Premier Managed Services and Cloud Computing Event
Click for Dates and Locations
Mobility Tech Conference & Expo
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
Cloud Communications Summit
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas