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A large cable service provider engaged TEKsystems to support the design of the commercial component of its internal customer service reporting tool. We have provided application development, support and maintenance since 2009.
Headquartered in New York, the client is a large telecommunications company providing high-speed data services, video and music programming, communications, and voice services to approximately 16 million business and residential customers in the U.S.
HP.NET, HTML5, Microsoft Silverlight
As a large cable provider, the client was faced with increasingly competitive pressures from within the communications industry. In recent years, there has been an influx of avenues and choices for receiving media content, whether through a cable or satellite provider, through a streaming provider (e.g., Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video), via mail-in subscription (e.g., Netflix) or some combination of these offerings. Maintaining customer satisfaction is challenging for content providers; customers expect high-quality and speedy service, yet the cable industry as a whole is commonly known for delivering insufficient customer support.
With the ability to stream content on multiple devices in a number of different formats, customers are always demanding more—whether better quality content, newer features, faster service or something in between. There is also no room for user downtime: When a customer experiences a problem, it is imperative that the provider is able to identify the issue and troubleshoot it quickly, as good customer service yields customer retention. And customer retention is critical in an industry where there are so many choices. Strong and consistent customer service is one thing that can set providers apart, so many are aiming to improve their customer service efforts.
The client had a ticketing system that enabled its agents and technicians to record problem tickets and service completion. Existing customers who were experiencing service issues could submit a ticket via any form of communication (e.g., phone or online chat), which would then be tracked in the system as it progressed through its fulfillment and resolution.
The system was dedicated to the cable provider’s commercial customers who relied on uninterrupted service to conduct daily business. Any service downtime could directly impact their bottomline so it was critical for the client’s customer service system to identify and resolve issues as fast as possible.
Given the high expectations demanded of the customer service application by its commercial customers, the client wanted to increase the velocity of development and support new features. Without the in-house development expertise required, the client sought support from a third-party IT staffing and services provider. TEKsystems was selected because of our dedicated Application Development practice, proven development framework and ability to deliver off-shore support based out of our Whitefield Solution Center in Bangalore, India. Additionally, TEKsystems had established a solid partnership with the client, which was rooted in our initial delivery of staffing support. The client recognized our ability to consistently provide quality talent who could meet desired outcomes, so they trusted in our ability to provide a highly productive development team to support this initiative.
TEKsystems first delivered resource-based support, then our Application Development practice was engaged to architect and design the commercial component of the client’s internal customer service reporting application as well as integrate the application with the client’s commercial customer billing system. The application leveraged Microsoft Silverlight but would be migrating to HTML5, a transition our team would also support.
Our team supported the ticketing and fulfillment system through an off-site, off-shore delivery model via our Whitefield Solution Center. Following a Kanban approach—a flexible framework used to implement Agile methodology—our team supported the client’s architecture and enhanced the application by increasing its velocity and adding features.
TEKsystems has successfully managed responsibility for architecting, developing, designing and supporting the internal customer service application since 2009. The customer service application has experienced limited issues while in production and has established itself as an application that the client can use as a model for future applications. Currently, our team is responsible for developing and testing technical features such as enhancing bugs and improving existing features and modules. We have followed a rigorous Agile methodology which has helped the client organization begin to adopt the methodology themselves.
Our success was achieved through an Agile framework and scrum team with application development expertise. Since 2009, the team has evolved with our average team consisting of five to eight resources in a given year. We have constructed a scrum team with user experience skills to provide support and enhancements to the application. The team provided expertise in the Microsoft product stack specifically around Silverlight technology.
Through our mixed off-site, off-shore delivery model, the client realized several key benefits: the full-time development team was working off shore out of the Whitefield Solution Center, driving cost savings; and our off-site project and delivery management oversight eliminated the need to work with multiple vendors, thereby streamlining communication and management activities and avoiding logistical obstacles that would have been required otherwise. TEKsystems provided greater value-add than a traditional IT staffing provider because of our ability to deliver staffing and professional services, lending the client the opportunity to tap into our thought leadership and unique perspective on new technologies and approaches to work.
Although the application is currently a Web-based framework, we anticipate we will support the client’s future efforts to build a mobile version that can be used on smartphones and tablets.