SupportSoft Signs Deal To Automate Adelphia Service


SupportSoft Inc. has landed another major MSO account, signing a deal to provide its SmartAccess, Service Automation Suite, HomeNet and KnowledgeCenter software products to Adelphia Communications Corp.'s 900,000 cable-modem customers.

"We needed a proven service-automation solution that would not only allow us to contain support costs, but help drive customer satisfaction and retention," Matt Bell, director of high-speed data strategy and product development for Adelphia, said in a statement.

SupportSoft also has contracts with Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications Inc.

The Adelphia deal means that SupportSoft's software handles 11 million of cable's 13.2 million high-speed data subscribers. SupportSoft also has more than half of the digital subscriber line customer base, through deals with SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp.

"Adelphia has licensed the entire lineup" of products, said Marc Itzkowitz, SupportSoft's director of product marketing for digital service provider business.

That lineup begins with Smart Access, which helps customers determine if their PC is broadband-capable and helps them speed the installation process.

SupportSoft's service-automation suite provides tools on the customer's desktop and at MSO call centers, giving consumers and CSRs the ability to fix problems themselves.

"Suppose you go to get an e-mail and can't get it and there's a list of 17 different reasons why," Itzkowitz said. "The subscriber agent on the desktop can run pings against different systems and isolate the problem. CSRs can pull information from your system, analyze the problem and push commands to fix systems, all with your permission. This gives you the tools for self service and assisted service."

Itzkowitz said BellSouth gets 150,000 hits a month on its service portal page and is able to resolve 40% of those cases online.

"That's major money and major, major call deflection," he said. It also improves customer satisfaction levels, because users don't have to take the extra step of dialing into the call center, he added.

Itzkowitz said Comcast has experienced a 20% reduction in call traffic with SupportSoft. Comcast and Cox are using the "chat" function that allows CSRs to fix problems in "chat" sessions online.

Cox has an 85% success rate in its assisted chat service section, he said, while Comcast is handling 3,000 chat sessions a day. The average cable CSR is able to handle 2.7 "chats" simultaneously, Itzkowitz said, which also cuts down on costs.

SupportSoft's HomeNet allows subscribers to install, maintain and establish a home network. The software helps in sharing folders, devices and facilitates the support process.

Service providers see home networking as a key tactic in selling value-added services, such as gaming, and in retaining customers, Itzkowitz said.

The SupportSoft Knowledge Center software helps subscribers with frequently asked questions.

And with SupportSoft's SmartResults, answers can be customized based on what SmartResults can glean from a subscriber's system.

"If you want a second e-mail address, we can see what you have and customize the answer based on software that's on the PC already," said Itzkowitz.