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Cisco E-Support Book Review

Cisco E-Support Book Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: It is extremely easy to understand, and while there are technical aspects discussed here, it is not a step-by-step how to do it type of guide.
Filed under: Business / Industry Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Cisco Press Nov 24 2002   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Business / Industry > Cisco Press E-Support

CiscoPress E-Support Book Review

The Dot.com boom may well be over, and the economy in a bit of shambles, but leave it to Cisco to come out with a 204 page paperback explaining just how they went about streamlining operations at their support website, and how that save them millions of dollars. Cisco are a one of the largest companies in the networking technology business, and consequently they have massive amounts of customer service to deal with - much of it very repetitive, much of it very technical, and just about all of it specifically relating to just one customers application.

To alleviate the problems Cisco was facing with smaller budgets, and unsatisfied customer service calls they began developing something called the TAC web - basically a collection of technical information on bugs, how to resolve installation issues, and other E-support features which enable their customers to do much of the work for themselves before ever having to pick up a phone and take out a support ticket. This self-service web-based solution handles more customers, and more importantly resolves more issues than previously accomplished with call-centers. This has shifted over 150,000 customer service calls to the website, and by that Cisco have saved on staffing and other equipment costs that would have otherwise run into the millions.

The book is split up into seven sections (Overview & Planning, Architecture, Metrics, Strategy, Design, Marketing, and Competitive Analysis) and is written in a conversational interview manner. It is extremely easy to understand, and while there are technical aspects discussed here, it is not a step-by-step how to do it type of guide.

From our perspective here at PCstats.com where we are essentially attempting to accomplish a similar task - informing readers about highly technical products and offering comparative results which help people decide what to get, and what to avoid - the book was a mixed bag. While there is an abundant amount of information to glean from the many interviews and discussions, some of it is a little to self congratulatory, and not as objective.

Setting up a website to handle hundreds of thousands of requests, or even millions is not a simple task, and for someone at square one this book doesn't offer much more than a very broad overview of what the Cisco engineers went through. However, the positive side to this book, is that for someone who as already begun a site with parallel purposes, the book forms an excellent source of information about possible routes to take, and what kind of metrices to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of the service.

Website usability has always been a key issue when you are dealing with hundreds or tens of thousands of dynamic webpages. In this sense, Cisco's E-Support devotes just one section to the matter; focusing largely on marketing groups to just the effectiveness of a GUI platform. There are a few good tips about the all to common feature-creep, but buy the nature of the book it is clear that the authors are focusing in on Enterprise level web applications.

I'd recommend this book to any IT manager faced with the prospect of renovating their online presence to achieve greater customer/user satisfaction. It is not geared to the beginner, but it still holds more than a few nuggets of very useful information... "If you build it, they will come - if they need it."

CiscoPress "E-Support: How Cisco Systems Saves Millions While Improving Customer Service" is 224 pages, and retails for $22.50USD at Ciscopress.com


Contents of Article: Cisco Press E-Support

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