An Integrated System

N1380120366 30234456 310-1I was having a conversation with an executive from HP today and he mentioned one of the things that HP has recently invested in: an integrated CRM system for all of their consumer customers. The idea is, that instead of being HP Printer 343433 Owner, you are Customer 123456, who happens to own Printer 343433 as well as two other HP desktops. The company wants to get a better idea of who you are as a customer instead of just having an idea about what products you have problems with.

As soon as you identity yourself as printer 343433 owner, HP will know what other HP products have been registered to you. This way, they only have to go through the process of collecting personal information, information about your computer, etc. once per customer, instead of once per phone call. It also helps the company keep track of all of the issues (with all of the products) that particular customers are having and allows agents to quickly get an idea about the customer’s particular situation.

HP is able to use that information and the diagnostic tools in general to provide more information about drivers, hardware and software configurations, etc. It saves agents and customers time because the computer is able to tell answer most of the basic questions that the agent would have to ask the customer. The idea of an integrated system (or at least one that is not solely for one group or one product) is that the service provided can be more proactive. If HP knows that some of the drivers are out of date, they can make a suggestion to the customer to upgrade those drivers (that way, future problems can be prevented).

The single system also integrates with HP’s knowledge base and other agent tools. That way, as soon as the customer says they are having a problem with their printer (which we will know is printer 343433 after the first call or when the customer registers the printer after purchasing it), the agent will be able to pull up all the related tools and troubleshooting information very quickly.

The integrated system, coupled with the set of diagnostic tools that is available to HP agents, allows for faster and more uniform service. Saving time without sacrificing quality saves money. All of those things eventually lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction. If a unified CRM-like system can lead to higher customer satisfaction and reduced costs, it is definitely something that your company should be looking into.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the conversation (in a broader context) was when the HP executive mentioned that part of the new system was already present in their enterprise group and all HP had to do was adapt it to the consumer group. It is just one of the many reminders of looking elsewhere in your company for good ideas and feasible solutions. Different groups in companies as big as HP, as big as Microsoft, as big as Dell, etc. have already dealt with a lot of tough problems in innovative ways. The key is to find those ideas and then to figure out how they work for different groups.

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One Response to “An Integrated System”

  1. Shane Steinbeck said:

    Mar 19, 08 at 8:28 pm

    Too bad HP support can’t seem to get a newer all-in-one duplexing inkjet to not truncate pages. Maybe they need to take more time to read through their own forums and address issues that are obviously negatively affecting their customers. After trying all the usual tricks to fix the problem, I found that post via Google. At least now I know not to waste 6 hours on the phone with level 1 tech support to find out there is no fix available. Integrate the user/customer knowledge to your “official” knowledgebase.