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Twin call centers provide 16-hour coverage.

Quarterdeck doubled its technical support coverage by locating a second call center a third of the way around the world.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based computer software company takes calls at headquarters and at a site in Dun Laoghaire (Dublin), Ireland. The strategy provides 16 hours of call coverage a day to customers in Europe and North America.

"Wherever they are, their business day is covered," says Aidan Rowsome, general manager for Quarterdeck in Dublin.

Quarterdeck has a 56 kb/s connection over the TAT-8 undersea fiber-optic cable between Santa Monica and Dublin. There is a 128 kb/s link between Dublin and London, with 64 kb/s links into nodes at Paris and Dusseldorf, Germany.

Calls pass through Republic Telcom voice compression multiplexing equipment before traveling over leased lines to Dublin. The voice-data mix is dynamically adjustable depending on demand on the link at any give time.

The network is connected from Quarterdeck's office in Dublin via the Telecom Ireland Dass Net (Digital and Special Services Network). Dass Net is an overlay on the Irish digital system that provides a network of 2 Mb/s links to 180 locations in Ireland.

"Our network is voice, fax, a bulletin board, and callback fax, where you ring up and request a fax back," says Rowsome.

Customers in the U.S. call an 800 number for technical support, while European customers call local numbers. When they call outside the hours for their own continent's support center, their calls are sent to the other center.

Rowsome says Quarterdeck continues to evaluate the setup, which has been in place two years.

"We're still measuring it. It is too young to get a really tangible analysis. We measure it by people being able to get through to the technical center. The call rate is increasing; people are using it and are delighted their problems are being solved."

The Irish center, which has grown from 12 to 24 people in two years, handles about 500 calls a week.

Quarterdeck picked the site of its second support center for telecomm and personnel reasons. The time zone differential--eight hours--was important, as well as the availability of a dependable, cost-effective digital network.

"Other practical reasons were the availability of top-quality agents and technical support people here with multilingual skills," says Rowsome.

"You look first and see where are the people, where are the good locations, and do they have a local carrier for the technical requirements.

"The final thing is cost. The half circuits out of Ireland to Europe are up to 50% cheaper than the half circuits coming back. Ireland is the cheapest to run a hub out of.

"We have four half-circuits coming out of Ireland. If we had those out of London, they would be 50% dearer.

The current setup gives Quarterdeck customers access to support from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Dubling time--1 a.m. to 5 p.m. Santa Monica time. Quarterdeck is considering a node in the Far East that would mean 24 hour coverage. Rowsome says. Another possible enhancement would be use of toll-free, rather than local, numbers in Europe.
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Title Annotation:Quarterdeck Office Systems Inc.'s technical support service
Author:Tanzillo, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Words:520
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