As you know, this blog has pretty much hit rock bottom lately. I’m hoping to change that with your help. For anyone who is interested in writing tips or articles, please send them to my person e-mail pythonpoole [@] gmail [.] com, as I have not been checking my Scorptek e-mail much recently. I appreciate all of your help, and I would love to be more active here however this is exam month at uni. After April, I will have much more down-time to work on my personal projects including Scorptek.
Some of you have expressed interest in the progress Scorptek is making. Many of you assumed we were ‘way in over our heads’ so to speak to think that we could pull off such a feat and bring our own broadband DSL, digital phone and alarm monitoring services to the continental U.S.A. and parts of Canada. Well I’m here to re-confirm our original intention to become a start-up in this market, and we have made some nice progress lately.
Through our research however, we have found that the one thing that really holds Telcos and ISPs back is providing customer support. Support is very costly, especially if you have to offer over-the-phone support. To give you an idea, if you outsource your technical support to another company, you’ll probably be paying a minimum of $1 per minute! A 20 minute phone call could cost you 3-4 months of losses for that customer. If you think that’s bad, having your own in-house call centre is often even more expensive.
Dealing with the problem
So, how do we plan to deal with this problem? How can we keep our prices low and actively compete in the market while still maintaining a high quality customer support service? Well we have developed a business plan that includes many strategies to take care of this.
Firstly, we will strongly encourage all customers purchase our ‘Linkbox’. The LinkBox is an all-in-one device that acts as a business grade Wireless 4 port router and also has 2 broadband Quality of Service enabled phone ports (for either phone or alarm monitoring). By doing this we help eliminate problems users may have with third-party equipment which in turn makes solving problems much easier and it will streamline the connection so that the phone service can run at land-line quality with QoS. Customers can also bring their own equipment however support for those customers may be limited.
Secondly, we will develop a sophisticated ‘intelligence’, or rather an ‘automated assistant’ that will help you diagnose and solve most problems. Unlike a typical FAQ that usually don’t help, the system is designed to take care of 80-90% of issues concerned with technical support, billing, accounts etc. This will greatly reduce the load on our support agents and users will be strongly encouraged to use the assistant before requesting support.
Thirdly, this is a great idea I came up with for handling support. There are two main questions that need to be answered.
A) How do we cover the cost of support without any big losses?
B) How do we get a bunch of volunteer or affordable support agents?
This is how:
For our support agents, we are looking for young and eager students like you guys between ages 16-24 who have lots of experience and knowledge in the area of computers, troubleshooting DSL services and it’s a bonus if you’ve also worked with VoIP or digital phone systems and/or alarm systems and monitoring.
You would be a volunteer agent trying to gain work experience.. however for every support incident (e.g. chat session, ticket, phone call), you would receive a generous donation towards your student education fund for college/university!
When customers contact support, certain support options like live phone support will have an incident fee (e.g. $3.99 per call). That fee is donated directly to your college fund which can be used to pay tuition fees, books, supplies and other educational items such as a new notebook computer. Considering that about 90% of support calls are less than 10 minutes, you could potentially earn $1/minute for your college fund. If someone keeps you on the phone for longer than 20 minutes, you can ask them to contact escalated support or keep on the line and get another $4.
What we have found is that many customers are willing to pay for premium support services when they realize 100% of the cost is being donated straight to a good cause, a future education for someone, and it’s not just a way for the company to rip them off.
What is the result of all this?
- Greatly reduced support incidents
- Support service that costs very little to operate
- Way to keep costs low (for customers) and still provide great customer care and support
If you are interested in our future work-experience volunteer agent program, here is some information for you:
- You have the potential of earning $10-35 per hour towards your college education fund
- You can work from home (anywhere in the world), we provide the software and hardware to get you started
- Training program and comprehensive support database equips you for anything customers can throw at you (not literally of course!)
- Speaking English as your first or as a preferred language is strongly recommended, bonus points for those who can also speak French or Spanish
- Extremely flexible hours, work when you want to, it could be an hour a day or 10 hours a day. Whenever you are available.
- Play games or do homework while on duty, we are not picky, just don’t have distractions when you are dealing with a support incident
- You must be a current student to apply, and you must have a separate bank account or college fund for your donations to be deposited into
- Earn a certificate after 6 and 12 months stating that you volunteered as a support agent for us for work-experience. This is great to put on your Resume/CV and to show on your college applications
How much can I earn towards my college fund?
Per e-mail ticket: About $1
Per chat session: About $2
Per phone session: About $3
What can I use the money for?
- College/University fees and tuition
- College books and misc. expenses (e.g. car parking at college)
- Living expenses (rent, residence fees, food/groceries, utilities, etc.)
- Educational/Academic supplies including purchases like notebook computers, printers, academic software etc.
If you are interested let us know in the comments below. I think this is a great way for students to earn money for college and you’ve gotta be honest where else have you ever seen such a great deal with so much flexibility. Since you are volunteers and your monetary incentive is entirely paid for by customers, we can afford to have a bunch of students on staff for support from all over the world to provide support all day and night which I think is great. Great for us, great for customers and most importantly great for you to have this opportunity. Let us know what you think.
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