The Surprising Reality of Support Automation - Page 2

Oct 25, 2006

Liz Roop

Along with self-help tools, automating services such as inventory asset management and incident reporting also translate into increased efficiencies by providing support agents with the information they need to more effectively diagnose and repair the problem at hand.

This is not to say that automated support results only in soft cost savings. Remote monitoring, remote access and self-healing all have the potential to result in tangible savings by resolving support issues without the need for costly onsite visits.

In particular, with’s survey finding that more than half of the respondents were handling more than 60% of their support volume via phone, automated support tools that resolve issues before they escalate to the more costly desk-side support are particularly beneficial.

Siemens and CA

For example, when Siemens Business Services first implemented CA SupportBridge Live Automation, they realized an increase in first-call resolutions by 15%. However, because the Level 1 support agents were enabled with tools to resolve the issue on first contact, they found they were spending more time with the customer to resolve the issue, which initially increased handling times.

“Looking back, there was a learning curve the agents had to get over to learn how to efficiently and effectively use the product,” said Jeff Roche, director, global service desk, Siemens Business Services. “Since we got over that curve, we’ve been able to reduce the handle time on those calls."

Since then, increased handling-time is offset by the time savings generated via the automation capabilities in CA SupportBridge. Plus, over time, the Level 1 agents have become more versed in using the diagnostic and repair capabilities within the solution.

The end result for Siemens has been a 15% reduction in the number of onsite dispatches; a higher rate of first call resolutions; improved efficiencies in service support delivery; and increased end user satisfaction.

Roche said maximizing the savings from support automation requires careful analysis of where the problems are as well as end user interactions so the tasks you automate will encourage agents and end users to fully embrace the technology.

“That’s really where you start to get end users and the agents really excited about the product because it’s making their jobs easier and more straightforward,” he said.

In fact, the end user perspective is something that is creeping into discussions about support automation, particularly self-support, said Anna Sz. Orban, support automation business technologist with CA.

“Ultimately it’s about end user up-time and productivity: ‘I can lose a lot of money and time if an end user is not able to work on their computer’,” she said.

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