dcsimg
RealTime IT News

Let's Chat About DSL Service

By Patricia Fusco

Digital subscriber line service provider Phoenix Networks, Inc. is ready to talk about its revamped Web site with its subscribers.

The national broadband carrier Wednesday debuted its real-time chat feature for contact with sales, service and technical support representatives.

The new site was redesigned to improve each customer's experience with Phoenix Networks, putting a friendly Web-face on its pre-qualification and order placement functions, as well as its technical support team.

J. Dan Foster, Phoenix Networks president and chief executive officer, said the new live chat function puts its sales and service teams just one mouse click away from new clients.

"Phoenix Networks' goal is to manage the sales and installation process better than anyone else in the business and fulfill customer demand for high-speed access, reliable technology, and service," Foster said. "The new live chat function lets us do just that."

In the next few weeks, the company also plants to automate its online order system so customers can track the progress on their service order.

Kelly White, Phoenix Networks vice president of online services said the DSL provider had outgrown the original architecture of its Web presence.

"As our subscriber base has grown, so has our portfolio of products and services," White said. "The new site design allows customers quick and easy access to the information they want, when they need it and easily accommodates new content."

The Web-redesign may help bandwidth hungry users connect to Phoenix Network's sales and service representatives. But can it really help DSL users resolve technical issues?

According to White, the chat service is a boon to Phoenix Networks ability to provide high quality technical support.

"We find that a lot of our technical support issues evolve around 'how to' questions," White said. "Technicians are online helping customer set up e-mail changes, software updates, HTML inquiries and the like. Our chat access provides a visual base for technicians to push files and software upgrades directly to customers right now."

White added that the system is a much more efficient process than troubleshooting over the phone.

Phoenix Networks paired up with HumanClick Ltd. to launch the chat service. White said that Phoenix Networks is one of the first enterprise clients to rollout HumanClick's Java-based chat technology, which is free for the taking until the first of the year.

"We've been working with HumanClick beta tests for about a year," White said. "We're pushing their capabilities pretty hard. We've been absolutely hammered at our Web site since 9 AM this morning."

By outsourcing its chat services to HumanClick, Phoenix Networks doesn't drain its IT systems to provide superior customer service. While developing the chat-based customer support system was not a huge financial investment, Phoenix Networks still had to allocate a great deal of time and energy to implement the system intelligently.

A lot of companies claim to achieve "industry first" status. But White said Phoenix Networks completed a study to make sure it was the first to humanize DSL services through online chats.

"We did an audit of DSL providers in the market," White said. "We were surprised that no one was using online chat access to provide the best possible customer support. Web hosting firm Verio, Inc. offers it but, no other DSL providers asked customers to speak with them online."

Research analysts and users alike, recently bashed DSL service providers for failing to live up to customer's expectations. If Phoenix Network's chat service continues to impress its customers,