Vi besökte nyligen
Creative Europes huvudkontor på Irland och fick chansen att titta på massor
av nya spännande produkter (några av dem har vi redan rapporterat om). Medan
vi var där hade vi också tillfälle att tala med Creative om deras tekniska
support. Såvitt jag vet är deras support den mest ryktbara i Europa. Efter
en diskussion i en färsk recension av deras grafikkort baserat på GeForce
FX 5900 Ultra förklarade de att företaget siktar på mer slimmade förpackningar
så att de kan lägga mer resurser på sin support.

Det ska bli intressant att se vilken verksamhet deras support är.

Click for full size

Låt oss nu tala
med Andrew Killeen; teknisk supportmanager på Creative Europe.


[NH] Why is Technical Support so important for Creative Labs in Europe?

[CL] Creative Labs have
invested heavily in the Technical Support infrastructure in Europe providing
local language support in 16 languages across 20 countries
in Europe. Support is provided across numerous contract channels – telephone,
email, web chat , self service knowledgebase ( available in English, French
, Italian , Spanish and German), driver updates and user based web forums.

Our customers have various ranges of experience in terms of PCs, identifying
themselves as new / novice users all the way up to the high end PC enthusiasts.
We are constantly reviewing our service options to ensure we are meeting
both the variety of needs and the requirement for different contact channels.
Our monthly customer survey ( over 5000 mails sent each month) together with
the feedback options on our Knowledge Base are two of the key indicators
of our performance.

Annons

On an average day Creative’s European contact center handles approximately
1000 emails , 400 telephone calls and 150 web chat sessions per day. This
volume ramps up during the peak periods form November to February.

On the Knowledgebase side, in excess of 100,000 unique users use this application
each month and the web forum on the European web site sees approximately
100 postings from customers each day with in excess of 2000 customers viewing
the postings daily.

[NH] How many employees does Creative have in Europe and how many work for
Technical Support?

[CL] Creative Labs Europe
employ over 400 people. The company has 10 Local Sales offices around Europe
and has the European headquarters based in Dublin.
The Dublin facility contains a number of European Support functions –

Annons

Operations –
Production, Warehousing , Service Center
Brand Management and Product development
Finance and related activities
European IT functions
Technical Support Contact Center


The support center was set up in 1994 and employs 73 people. The are 21 nationalities
within this department with an average age of 26 years.
People – The technical support department has 73 staff , 52 Advisors
handling customer interactions , 6 Advanced Support ( & Forums) , 4 Technical
Authors, 2 Technical Trainers and a Team Leader/ management group

Dedicated business
systems / Test Machines / access to Creative hardware . We purchase a range
of motherboard types and all advisors have access to
all Microsoft OS to install on their test systems ( in any language).

[NH] Could you
give us some insight regarding your RMA/Warranty replacement service?

[CL] Customers are required to keep a copy of their proof of purchase for the
duration of the warranty period. Should the store receipt indicate that the
product is less that 30 days old, the customer has the option of returning
the full product to the Dealer/ Retailer for a replacement or credit. The
30- day time period may not apply in all instances as certain dealers may
have their own replacement / credit terms. At any time, either within the
30 day period or afterwards, the customer can contact Creative Technical
Support for assistance with warranty replacements.

Annons

After the 30 day period end user returns are handled through Technical Support.

[NH] What types of support
options does Creative Europe currently supply for their users?

[CL] • Faster turnaround on eMail response (next bus. day) –in
16 languages

Self-service intelligent knowledgebase available 24x7x365 servicing Europe
(6 Languages… English, French Italian, Spanish, German …& Brazilian
Portuguese …Traditional Chinese planned in Q2).
• Localized TS section on website
• Interactive TextCHAT facility in English .
• Moderated Web Forums

Telephone support – 20 countries in 16 languages
• Opening hours Monday to Friday
• Opening hours phone : 10:30 – 19:00 CET
• Chat : 10:00 – 18:30 CET

[NH] How do Creative see their support changing in the future?

[CL] Customer requirements are changing in terms of the type of support
the customer is looking for and the types of contact channels across which
the
support
is required. Creative is working to further refine our offerings to suit
the requirements of customers with different levels of technical knowledge
and who have different requirements from our products.

With the increased availability
of Broadband access across Europe Creative Technical Support are looking
at providing more ‘rich’ content
through our support channels. Low internet connectivity speeds in the past
have meant that the provision of multimedia content could not be optimized
for many customers.

Annons

[NH] Can you
give some examples of the most frequent problem received
?

[CL] 1. Crashing problems.
Problems with crashing either when using software, playing sounds or playing
games. Not a specific problem, and could be related to lots of different
things ( 3rd party software , other peripherals , hardware/ mother board
configurations).
Can usually be solved quite quickly with either the knowledgebase or through
technical support.

2. Crackling/Distortion
People that complain that the sound crackles or sound is distorted or pops. ”Optimizing
your system for better sound performance” Knowledge Base article has
some good tips. General problems with bad or strange sound (often related
to the motherboard and PCI latency settings).

3. Drivers – some problems with installation . The auto update function
is now used by 50% of customers downloading drivers and this had made selection
of the required driver very easy ( note …external devices need to be
connected to the system when auto-update is run).

Annons

4. How to connect certain speakers.
Often people with third party speakers that want to connect them to our cards.
Which cables do they use, which adapters, which settings do they choose.

5. Pre-sales type enquiries – Questions on upcoming products.
What are the features, will it support x, etc

6. Graphics cards crashing when playing games.
Especially with the new powerful cards. People often get the new expensive
card and put it in older systems. The power supply might be too weak, the
system might not have good airflow (which will cause overheating and cause
crashes), the motherboard may be too old or they might not have all the
updates they need.

7. Firmware questions about the Jukeboxes.
Suggestions for firmware updates, when will the firmware versions be released.

I andra änden

Medan jag talade
med Andrew passade han på att presentera mig för några medarbetare när
de hade hand om kunder. Jag fick en chans att se deras chattsupportsystem
i en riktig situation. För mig verkar denna typ av support ganska ideal. Chatten
använder en patentskyddad klient (du använder inte ICQ eller MSN Messenger
etc.) och den är lika lätt att använda som de vanliga chattprogrammen. Här
är en titt på hur Creatives anställda ser användaren de chattar med.

Annons

Efter
sessionen skickas en logg till användaren så att de inte behöver ha chattfönstret
öppet. Ganska bra då du har ett återkommande problem och måste starta om datorn
i processen att lösa problemet. På en annan punkt blev jag glatt överraskad
att se att de flesta, om inte alla, anställda vid sina stationer faktiskt
var intresserade och hade djupa kunskaper av Creatives produkter. Alltför
många av denna sorts supportcenter har bara studenter som försöker tjäna en
extra peng medan de sitter och läser manualen eller kollar i supportdatabasen
medan de hjälper kunderna. Creative tar också god hand om sina anställda.
Vem som helst som jobbat med telefonsupport eller telemarketing vet hur tråkigt
det kan bli och Creative löste problemet genom att låta personalen byta typ
av uppgifter, och de har även gratis internutbildning inom många områden.
På det kan man också tillägga att de skippat de hemska kubiska båsen som många
företag har.

Allt
som allt var jag imponerad av Creatives tekniksupports organisering. Det funkar
helt enkelt mycket bättre än de flesta företagssupport jag har varit i kontakt
med. Efter att ha varit fast med trasiga moderkort (nämner inga namn) som
jag varit tvungen att skicka tillbaka till Taiwan två gånger, och efter att
varje gång väntat över en månad att få tillbaka dem, skulle jag känna
mig lite tryggare med en produkt från Creative.

Jag
har faktiskt personligen använt deras support i två fall (en gång som journalist
och en gång privat). Jag fick mycket snabb och smidig hjälp i båda fallen
utan probem. Både den första riktiga kontakten (att ringa upp dem och de svarar
inom en minut eller så, och talar mitt eget språk) och frakt/upphämtning av
produkten funkade så bra som det någonsin kunde.

Annons

Härnäst
på NordicHardware angående Creative kommer en titt på SB Audigy 2 ZS
Platinum Pro och Insprire TT 7700.

Annons

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