Can Handhelds Improve Support? part 1 - Page 2

 By David Haskin
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Example 2: The Outsourcer
Alpha Microsystems, which provides outsourced technical support for the mid-market and Fortune 500 companies, didn't bother doing a Return on Investment (ROI) study when it gave its field technicians wireless Palm VII handhelds. That's because it was obvious from the start that the firm would have an easy time justifying the expense.

"We had a payback in about four months," Ray Collins, the company's business development manager. He said the company implemented the system with its 100 field technicians in March, 2000 and haven't looked back since.

A customer calls the call center or fills out a form by accessing Alpha Microsystem's extranet. That opens the service call and automatically alerts the nearest service technician via pager or wireless phone. The technician accesses the call record with a wireless Palm VII handheld, contacts the customer to get more details, then sets an appointment. All relevant information during these transactions is entered into the record via the Palm VII.

After arrival, the technician enters the fact that she's on-site and can use the handheld to find parts. After the call is completed, the technician enters relevant information like labor time and parts. The customer even signs off on the Palm VII screen using a signature collection application.

The bottom line for Alpha Microsystems: Significantly greater efficiency and less expense.

Use of wireless handhelds has proven invaluable for Key3 Media and Alpha Microsystems, but is it worthwhile for your shop? In part 2, we'll examine the circumstances under which it might be worthwhile and what you'll have to do to implement this new system.

This article was originally published on Jun 27, 2001
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