A powerful tool for call-centers and field technicians

Broadband service providers make large investments in call-center operations and field technician organizations so they can be responsive to customer calls while maintaining a high-quality network. When a customer experiences a technical problem, agents and technicians are the most important company representatives. The information that they provide to the customer, and the actions that they take are crucial for achieving a high level of customer satisfaction.

The behind-the-scenes processes that these groups use must be designed to minimize the chance of a human interpretation error or miscommunication. They need a tool that can guide them by providing accurate technical recommendations of prompt actions required to properly correct issues on the line.

To support efficient customer service response, ASSIA offers ClearView®, a sophisticated recommendation engine designed to improve the productivity of call-center agents and field technicians by providing them with an accurate and concise analysis of the problem faced by the caller and suggesting appropriate next steps to resolve the issue.

End-to-end visibility

ClearView® processes the performance evaluation and diagnostics analysis results available from DSL/GPON Expresse and CloudCheck® products. This allows ClearView® to provide full visibility over both the broadband as well as the Wi-Fi network segments of the broadband connection.

The right answers immediately

Since Performance Evaluation is done in a non-disruptive manner in both Expresse® and CloudCheck® products, diagnostics can be performed at any time without having to interrupt the customer’s service.

Furthermore, the tool is available to the entire technical staff for the same cost; challenging tradeoffs between customer satisfaction and network diagnostics expenses are no longer necessary.

Call-center operations face many challenges. A call-center agent has very limited time to retrieve data, which is often in multiple systems, to analyze the often cryptic information, and to decide on the necessary action. In many cases, the agent needs to identify whether the customer problem is indeed related to the broadband connection, in-home Wi-Fi or due to some other cause. Once the problem is identified, the agent must determine whether it can be addressed remotely—all while under the scrutiny and pressure of a frustrated customer. These decisions have a large direct impact on operational expenses and potentially a larger impact on customer satisfaction and churn rates.

Figure 1

Figure 1 illustrates how the agent’s decision affects the technician dispatch effectiveness. The false positive area (lower right pink square) corresponds to cases when a dispatch is triggered unnecessarily, and resources are consequently wasted. The false negative area (upper left pink square) corresponds to cases when a dispatch is not authorized, although it would have addressed the customer’s problem.

Using specially designed algorithms, ClearView distills multiple types of data, such as DSL/GPON/WiFi operational and performance data collected by Expresse and CloudCheck, to produce simple and accurate recommendations that include:

  • Identification of the root cause of the issue. Is the problem caused by issues in the broadband/access segment (DSL/GPON), or by the in-home WiFi network?
  • Dispatch a technician. There is a physical-layer issue that cannot be corrected by profile optimization/self healing (e.g., changing the DSL profile on the line, or changing the WiFi configuration of the router/CPE). The best option for resolution is to dispatch a technician.
  • Guidelines on resolving the problem remotely. The agent may be able to resolve the issue by providing guidelines to the customer remotely without a need for a dispatch. Examples are:
    • Check for missing micro-filter. The physical-layer issue appears to be a missing micro-filter in case of DSL. Provide guidance to the customer to self-install the micro-filter.
    • WiFi coverage issues. The issue appears to be with WiFi coverage. Provide guidance to the customer to move the router/stations closer to each other or install a repeater.
  • Check for missing micro-filter. The physical-layer issue appears to be a missing micro-filter. Provide guidance to the customer to self-install themicro-filter.
  • No immediate action is needed. There is a physical-layer issue that has been identified by DSL Expresse or CloudCheck®, and profile optimization is already in progress. There is confidence that the profile optimization will correct the issue, and a technician dispatch is not necessary.
  • Run real-time profile optimization. There is a physical-layer issue, but there is confidence that the issue can be corrected by profile optimization, and a technician dispatch is not necessary.
  • No physical-layer issue is detected. Look for other causes of problem. A technician dispatch is not necessary for resolving the issues with the Broadband/access segment (DSL or GPON) or WiFi.

ClearView also delivers additional information:

  • Detailed guidance for the field technician, when a dispatch is recommended. This guidance includes:
    • Explanation of the high-level recommended fix action.
    • Directions for fixing up to two identified faults.
    • Information on the likely location of the broadband connection issue, for example the distance from the DSLAM for DSL (with help of SELT), or the approximate location of the fault in the Optical Distribution Network in the case of GPON.
  • Clear explanation of the conditions on the line, appropriate for more experienced call-center agents, or field technicians. The explanation covers the following:Status of the line’s data rate relative to the purchased service product.
    • Status of the broadband speed relative to the purchased service product.
    • Status of the line’s maximum data rate relative to similar lines in the network (DSL).
    • Status of the broadband connection stability over the last 24 hours and over the last 7 days.
    • Status of coverage, throughput and latency for the WiFi network stations.
    • Status of profile optimization activities by Expresse®/CloudCheck®.
    • Status of diagnostics faults identified by Expresse®/CloudCheck®.
    • Consistency of the broadband configurations with the purchased service product and accuracy/validity of the configurations.

This rich set of recommendations from ClearView® offers immediate benefits for call-center operations. By recommending a technician dispatch only when necessary, ClearView® greatly reduces unproductive “truck rolls” (false-positives), and gives a fast solution to the customer’s problem – for example through real-time optimization, or by asking the customer to install a missing micro-filter, or a repeater. By correctly identifying the cases when a dispatch is needed, ClearView also decreases the false-negatives, when a technician would indeed be the best option for solving the problem, yet the decision for dispatch is not made.

Maximize field productivity

Field technicians are confronted with multiple challenges. They use data from multiple tools to isolate and identify and have to identify the location of the fault quickly. Their tasks become even more complicated when the problem is occurring only intermittently. And in some cases, there are multiple faults contributing to the service degradation, and technicians must correct all of them before declaring the work complete.

ClearView gives field technicians the accurate guidance that they need for each line to fix the problem at once. A dispatch recommendation for a line comes with directions for fixing up to two faults present on the line. The recommendation can also include location information, such as identifying when the fault is originating in the outside plant and is affecting multiple lines.

In addition, ClearView verifies whether the field technician has fixed all faults and if issues remain, ClearView instructs the technician on how to correct the remaining faults. By providing this single source of truth to both the inside and outside teams, ClearView determines whether the situation has been appropriately resolved.

Intuitive UI with actionable data

ASSIA supports multiple interfaces for delivering the ClearView® outputs:

Call-center agents and field-technicians equipped with internet connected devices can access ClearView through a Web interface. A screenshot of the GUI is shown in figure 2 (DSL example is shown).

Figure 2

Service Provider IT teams can integrate ClearView recommendations into their own tools by leveraging the available Northbound API.