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HP Invests in Consumer Technical Support

February 28, 2008

HP has announced the most substantial investment in consumer technical support in its long history – the aim includes the ability to enable people to get faster, more effective help with the HP technology products within their homes.


As a result, customer service agents throughout the world are now equipped with state-of-the-art tools to help customers to quickly return to their tasks, whether printing photos or connecting online with friends or colleagues.

The company’s investment is focused on building a new customer support infrastructure to serve customers in 132 counties and 31 languages; eight new call centers, including those located in Alabama, Missouri, Oregon and five others around the world; and a support agent training pilot program and expanded availability of key technology tools.

"One of the most powerful ways to attract customers is by delivering superior tech support," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst, The Enderle Group, in a Thursday statement. "HP's focus and the recent investment in tech support should make HP consumers very pleased, and competitors very concerned."

HP’s support is the result of new technology, including an interactive troubleshooting guide designed to help customer service agents quickly identify the issues and recommended courses of action to solve customer problems.

Agents can easily e-mail detailed instructions, complete with graphics, to customers in order to follow along or refer back to the information at a later date. This can be especially helpful for common PC maintenance tasks, including cleaning up files or for common printer issues such as solving paper jams.

This enhanced support technology infrastructure began with two agents in Indonesia early last year. It gradually evolved and expanded across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Canada and Latin America. North American call centers came online recently.

More than 1,000 HP service agents have started a new training program to address key issues that customers face, including configuring wireless networking or improving PC performance.

This program requires agents to actively participate in their learning through tasks such as simulations, role plays and e-learning. The learning applications also allow agents to complete courses from their desks so they can meet ongoing skill enhancement needs.

HP is also focusing on broadening access to Instant Care. This remote control capability enables agents to take control of a customer’s desktop with his or her permission to solve problems. By the end of March, all seasoned agents supporting North American customers will have access to this tool.

Recent call center data within HP showed that using Instant Care increases customer satisfaction by 20 percent while reducing the amount of time people have to spend at home.

"Customers expect and deserve outstanding support, and HP's goal is to be the industry leader in delivering it," said Tara Bunch, vice president, Consumer Customer Operations, HP, in Thursday’s statement. "This is the first of many improvements from HP that you will hear of in the coming months."

Nothing is more frustrating than working with a computer system or other peripheral and encountering a problem that cannot be determined or fixed. Access to an agent who can not only fix the problem, but can actually get onto the system to solve the problem will contribute to a better customer experience and help protect and drive HP loyalty.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

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