ENTEX customer service representatives spend 10% of their working time learning about new technology. The result: customers get the answers they need, when they need them.
ENTEX Information Services, Inc., a provider of desktop computers to large corporations, has over 8,500 employees, 60 U.S. locations, affiliations with 35 countries, and annual revenues of over $2 billion. It specializes in acquisition of desktop computers, selective outsourcing of PC support personnel, and professional services (hardware/software configuration). You may think that a company this size has a hard time focusing on customer service. This is not so.
While ENTEX monitors more than 600,000 PC desktops at Fortune 1000 companies, its focus is on helping customers run their businesses. As part of this focus, the company provides its employees with ongoing technical training for improved customer service. Jim Cordas is vice president of ENTEX's Corporate Account Center (CAC) (Cincinnati, OH), where he supervises more than 250 technical marketing representatives (TMRs). The TMRs spend approximately 10% of their working time training. That's an average of 200 hours per year for each employee. Keeping these employees trained on the desktop hardware ENTEX supplies is crucial, says Cordas, since the TMRs deal directly with the customers.
The TMRs are assigned ENTEX accounts. They provide customers with pre-sale information, price quotes, order status and shipping information. The TMRs are also responsible for all product acquisition, order all desktop and laptop computers for their accounts. ENTEX uses a variety of training methods to keep the TMRs current on changing technology. Cordas says this investment in training has resulted in more satisfied ENTEX customers.
The Role Of The Corporate Account Center
"The CAC is similar to the hub of a wheel. Its spokes are the relationships the TMRs build with our customers, ENTEX account reps in the field, Distribution Center personnel, and our vendors," Cordas explains. Depending upon the size of the account, one or more TMRs are assigned to it. "One TMR could handle several accounts or several TMRs could be assigned to service one large account," says Cordas. The TMRs also coordinate delivery schedules for installations and sell additional hardware and software to ENTEX customers. "As we move from a distribution to a channel-assembly operation, the role of the TMR is becoming even more complex," says Cordas. ENTEX is building and customizing system components, such as IBM desktop and laptop computers.
The TMRs answer calls from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate East Coast and West Coast customers, so training options must be flexible, says Cordas. The TMRs are cross-trained on various accounts. "That way, when an employee is attending a training session or on vacation, we're not in a frenzy when their customers call," says Cordas. ENTEX training opportunities include: