Intelligent Customer Care: Breaking Through the “Braindead Megaphone”

In the beginning, there’s a blank mind. Then that mind gets an idea…Mistaking the idea for the world, the mind formulates a theory and, having formulated a theory, feels inclined to act. Because the idea is only an approximation of the world, whether the action will be catastrophic or beneficial depends on the distance between the idea and the world. Mass media’s job is to provide this simulacra of the world…There’s another name for this simulacra building: storytelling. Megaphone Guy is a storyteller, but his stories are not so good.

So begins an essay by George Saunders, “The Braindead Megaphone”, a critique of what he sees as today’s shrill and brain-dead mass media, which obscures and often distorts real information.

A similar critique applies to technology marketing. Most marketing info from tech vendors is jargon-filled with highfalutin words, obscuring instead of clarifying. When a vendor says that their autonomic technology platform driven by aggregated telemetry data collected through location-optimized sensors, analyzed by cloud-driven big data engines is self-healing, jaded customers dismiss this as undulating heaps of bovine waste.

When the buzzword-laden message has to do with customer support, the skepticism doubles. All of us at some point have been on the wrong end of painful customer support calls. It is no fun navigating a maze of phone menus, on hold forever, eventually talking to a disinterested voice asking for random unrelated data, only to get punted to the next level tech support person.

Despite the warranted skepticism, some segments of the technology industry have made real strides in customer care. Yes, “cloud”, “big data”, “analytics” are buzzwords often used indiscriminately. However, if you separate the signal from the noise, cloud computing and data analytics are being used effectively to drive proactive customer care. Of course, technology is one piece of the overall support puzzle. It would be pointless without the right people and processes.

At Tegile we combine cloud analytics technology, engineers and staff with domain expertise, and efficient customer-engineered processes to deliver top-notch customer care. We call this IntelliCare. All Tegile arrays collect granular data related to each array’s health, performance, configuration, capacity, etc., to generate analytics and proactive alerts. Based on alerts, customer support cases are automatically opened and preemptive action taken where needed. Similar data is sent to the cloud from all arrays across the customer base. Freed from the space and compute constraints of a single array and with a larger available data set, a richer set of analytics are generated in the cloud. The analytics allow Tegile customer support to detect and address potential customer issues well before they become real problems. When customers call support with an issue, they speak directly to an engineer who already has the customers’ system and configuration information.

Why this extreme focus and investment in support instead of doing support the traditional way? Because we don’t view customer support as a cost center. Detecting and fixing problems before they happen is more economical in the long run. More importantly, it keeps our customers’ arrays healthy, and healthy arrays make for happy customers. The data we collect for cloud analytics spans across our line of hybrid and all-flash arrays using NAS & SAN protocols. This helps us guide customers without an all-flash/hybrid or a NAS/SAN agenda. It is about customer gratification. Happy customers help grow our business. Intelligent customer care is simply good business.

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