How many cable techs want to have their productivity measured on a minute-by-minute, real-time basis? That’s what new workforce software created by TOA Technologies can do.

With TOA’s predictive analytics, operators can monitor all field activities down to the level of the individual technician; it also can schedule appointments based on how long it usually takes a particular employee to do a task.

Last week, the company announced its patented, cloud-based software for mobile workforce management is being used by Suddenlink Communications to help track its field technicians. Suddenlink began deploying the TOA solution in 2009 to improve customer service and to help with scheduling.?

Other operators using the TOA technology include Cox, Bright House, Virgin Media and Kabel Deutschland.

TOA’s founders – CEO Yuval Brisker and CTO Irad Carmi – came up with the mobile-workforce idea based on their own frustrations from having to wait at home for the cable guy to show up. In fact, one of TOA’s main selling points is that its technology can improve customer service and customer satisfaction – the main complaints lodged against the cable industry. (For more, click here).

According to Brisker, the old ways of scheduling and dispatching are antiquated in today’s Internet-based world.

"If you’ve got 24,000 techs in the field, you need a substantial workforce (of dispatchers) to manage them," he said. "The computer systems have a high degree of intelligence and capacity to ensure conditions are there to keep the commitment to the customer."

Another selling point for TOA is that operators can save money when schedules work more smoothly. Also, when customers are unsure as to when the cable technician will arrive, they often make additional (and costly) phone calls to the customer-service center.

But how do field techs feel about workforce-management software?

“We have a dedicated and talented group of technicians who work hard every day to provide our customers with great service,” said Tom McMillin, Suddenlink’s COO, in a statement. “TOA complements their skills and makes it easier for them to consistently achieve their customer-service goals.”

Installers and technicians like the TOA software because it makes it easier for them to work with dispatchers, Brisker added.

"Before our system was launched, techs hated calling the dispatch center to activate a job or provision a service and having to wait 25 minutes on the phone," he said. "Our system streamlines their day; they have a much better expectation of what’s going to happen."

(Editor’s note: During a discussion at CTChatter, Communications Technology’s broadband forum, one installer suggested that "to track people is a little bit wrong.")

While TOA’s predictive technology to track technicians is new to the broadband industry, fleet tracking has been around for some time. (For more, click here).

In the December 2009 issue of sister publication Communications Technology, Cox talked about its fleet-tracking successes. (For more, click here). Brisker said TOA has talked with Cox about integrating its installer tracking software with Cox’s fleet-tracking system.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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