DIRECTV, the leading provider of satellite-based television service in North America, was looking to upgrade its legacy customer support system last year for its information technology (IT) help desk and customer service department. Its current support system had a number of shortcomings, including weak workflow and case-ownership capabilities, inability to track service level agreement (SLA) performance, lack of an automatic escalation mechanism and limited reporting and ad-hoc query tools. This left DIRECTV with a number of challenges in delivering the best support possible to both customers and its own employees.

DIRECTV had several issues that needed to be addressed in order to upgrade its current customer support environment. The same software solution would be used for both the internal IT help desk and the customer service department. The solution had to minimize impact on the third-party customer call center that is employed to off-load support needs. Rapid implementation had to be completed long before Y2K issues came into play, and the software solution had to accommodate business rules that would automatically escalate cases requiring special attention from supervisors or management. Since the internal IT department would take ongoing first-level support responsibility for the solution, it was also important that the IT staff participate actively in the project team.

After looking at many solutions, DIRECTV chose NEC Systems Internet Business Solutions to provide consulting and systems integration services leveraging Nortel's Clarify CRM solution and NEC's own expertise in system integration.

NEC Systems Internet Business Solutions installed Clarify's ClearSupport for both the internal IT help desk as well as the customer support department. Clarify's business rule engine allows for automatic SLA alerts and escalations. The ownership/workflow model maximizes user efficiency and greatly reduces the number of lost cases. In addition, it is highly customizable at many levels. Furthermore, ClearSupport is completely Web-based.

The decision to use NEC Internet Business Solutions was based on the fact that NEC Systems has a strategic alliance with Clarify. In addition, NEC's consultants demonstrated superior knowledge and expertise in support of Clarify's architecture, implementation and integration. Moreover, NEC demonstrated willingness to transfer its key knowledge to the DIRECTV IT staff to ensure smooth operation on an ongoing basis. Knowledge transfer to the IT staff was a critical success factor of the project. NEC's implementation methodology proved to be a very cost-effective way to implement the solution. The NEC/Clarify solution for DIRECTV incorporated the following features:

  • Cases escalated by third-party call centers to DIRECTV would be handled utilizing e-mail.
  • The Clarify EmailClerk creates cases using the information contained in the e-mail.
  • Technicians are notified by pager of cases assigned to them.
  • E-mail is used to escalate cases in jeopardy of missing SLA commitment to management.
  • By using Clarify's EmailClerk, the implemented solution is completely transparent to the third-party call center.
  • E-mail would be used to transmit information about cases escalated by the third party to DIRECTV.

As a result of NEC's implementation, DIRECTV has realized a number of significant benefits from the applied solutions including increased satisfaction of our customers, employees and partners. Additionally, the robust workflow model resulted in significantly fewer "lost" cases. E-mail and pager notification integration with the Clarify business rule engine provided faster response time leading to higher achievements of SLA goals. We also saw an improvement in management control meaning the ad-hoc query tools along with the queue monitoring functionality enable managers to better run their business.
The company anticipates Clarify's Web- based product line will reduce future maintenance costs. Everyone has benefited from this solution. It has provided consistent usage of business rules that notify the responsible support staff more quickly, thereby ensuring all cases, internal and external, don't fall through the cracks. It has provided a clear workflow for problems and work requests.

Following the project implementation, DIRECTV signed on with NEC Systems Internet Business Solutions for additional projects based on the success of the Clarify solution implementation.

NEC Systems Internet Business Solutions is a leading IT consulting and solutions provider offering mid-sized organizations best-of- class, customized, service-based Internet solutions designed to help streamline business processes and improve customers' bottom lines. Internet Business Solutions is a division of NEC Systems, Inc.

NEC Systems Internet Business Solutions' offerings include: Network Consulting, Professional Services and Systems Integration, Internet and Network Security, CRM solutions, EIP solutions, Web-based manufacturing applications, secure business application hosting services and 24x7 help desk service.

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