ACOM Tech Support Team Inspires Immaculate Perception

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November's perfect satisfaction score belies challenge of answering tough questions on 18 different products. 

The ACOM Solutions iSeries/System i technical support team consistently scores in the high 90s in its customer satisfaction surveys, but when it hit 100 percent fielding 396 support queries in the November, the team felt exceptionally proud. 

Led by Artie Blackburn, Technical Support supervisor, the team never scored lower than 96 percent during any period in 2010, according to Brenda Bush, director of Operations. It handled a volume of calls ranging from 344 in September to 465 in October. Scores for those two months yielded an average 99 percent satisfaction level. 

“Our surveys grade the technical support representatives, and we all have high expectations,” Blackburn says. “So when we experience a level of 97 percent, we try to figure out what went wrong. The surveys deal with four key areas: professional knowledge, promptness of response, suitability of answers and overall satisfaction. Our support people are very professional, but when dealing with expectations, things can become very subjective. And sometimes, there is no clear direct fix, and we have to help the customer find a work-around.” 

Product knowledge is fundamental to doing the job well, Blackburn noted, given that the team can be challenged with situations involving as many as 18 different products in a given day. These can include the EZeDocs System i document/forms processing and EZPayManager payment solutions, an extensive suite of add-on modules, and the companion EZContentManager document management solution, a web-based system that runs in the Microsoft Windows environment. 

New customer calls range from “How do I…” and “Does it do…” to “It’s dead in the water…” and we have to figure out the if-what-and why,” Blackburn says. “Older customers might need help doing things they haven’t done before or finding the cause of an error message. Sometimes it’s about the hardware and, although it is not our area, we provide as much expertise as we can. Regardless of the source of the problem, we give it 100 percent of our attention.” 

Blackburn says that prior to making a technical support call, users should determine the version of their software; whether anything has changed, such as implementation of a new software program; and whether they have previously experienced any function issues.  He also noted that the ACOM website features an extensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) http://www.acom.com/iseries/customers/component/option,com_simplefaq/Itemid,54/ that is an excellent first resource in many situations. 

“It is important that customers be comfortable with their software and we want them to feel secure when they call,” says James R. Scott, ACOM senior vice president. “Many companies have been retiring their most skilled, senior people and replacing them with less experienced personnel with the result that there is more reliance on vendor contacts. Technical support calls have been on the increase, but in all cases, we help as much as we can. Sometimes calls take longer, but whether it’s our issue, another vendor’s issue, or a hardware issue, we give it our best effort."

The ACOM Solutions iSeries/System i technical support team consistently scores in the high 90s in its customer satisfaction surveys, but when it hit 100 percent fielding 396 support queries in the November, the team felt exceptionally proud. 

Led by Artie Blackburn, Technical Support supervisor, the team never scored lower than 96 percent during any period in 2010, according to Brenda Bush, director of Operations. It handled a volume of calls ranging from 344 in September to 465 in October. Scores for those two months yielded an average 99 percent satisfaction level. 

“Our surveys grade the technical support representatives, and we all have high expectations,” Blackburn says. “So when we experience a level of 97 percent, we try to figure out what went wrong. The surveys deal with four key areas: professional knowledge, promptness of response, suitability of answers and overall satisfaction. Our support people are very professional, but when dealing with expectations, things can become very subjective. And sometimes, there is no clear direct fix, and we have to help the customer find a work-around.” 

Product knowledge is fundamental to doing the job well, Blackburn noted, given that the team can be challenged with situations involving as many as 18 different products in a given day. These can include the EZeDocs System i document/forms processing and EZPayManager payment solutions, an extensive suite of add-on modules, and the companion EZContentManager document management solution, a web-based system that runs in the Microsoft Windows environment. 

New customer calls range from “How do I…” and “Does it do…” to “It’s dead in the water…” and we have to figure out the if-what-and why,” Blackburn says. “Older customers might need help doing things they haven’t done before or finding the cause of an error message. Sometimes it’s about the hardware and, although it is not our area, we provide as much expertise as we can. Regardless of the source of the problem, we give it 100 percent of our attention.” 

Blackburn says that prior to making a technical support call, users should determine the version of their software; whether anything has changed, such as implementation of a new software program; and whether they have previously experienced any function issues.  He also noted that the ACOM website features an extensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) http://www.acom.com/iseries/customers/component/option,com_simplefaq/Itemid,54/ that is an excellent first resource in many situations. 

“It is important that customers be comfortable with their software and we want them to feel secure when they call,” says James R. Scott, ACOM senior vice president. “Many companies have been retiring their most skilled, senior people and replacing them with less experienced personnel with the result that there is more reliance on vendor contacts. Technical support calls have been on the increase, but in all cases, we help as much as we can. Sometimes calls take longer, but whether it’s our issue, another vendor’s issue, or a hardware issue, we give it our best effort."

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