The Design of Microsoft® Support Network 1.0
1. What factors suggest that Microsoft's PSS Division needs a more comprehensive and flexible approach for its service offerings?
There was an upward spike in customer service costs in periodic review of the division's Profit and Loss statement. It was projected that service expenditures would become an acute problem in three years. At the same time, a PSS market research survey discovered that customers, particularly those that used several Microsoft products, were very confused and frustrated with Microsoft's technical support services.
Beside this, Microsoft's support services were not as good as those offered by some competitors. Several factors contributed to the nondescript nature of Microsoft services. Previous support service policy had been determined at the product level. Annually, each product manager negotiated with PSS over the type, extent, and pricing of services to be offered to customers along with their products. Because Microsoft had 150 products, the result was a hodgepodge of service offerings. Some products had no support services, some offered unlimited "free" service that was accessed by phone via a "toll" number, and still others provided extensive telephone service "for fee". For customers, particularly those that owned and used several Microsoft products, the service offerings were confusing because it was difficult to know which service came with which product. Moreover, expert users felt that they were paying for services they didn't need on basic applications. At the same time, they could not get sophisticated support services on some of Microsoft's newly introduced line of highly technical advanced systems, even if they were willing to pay extra.
Because of all this factors it was clear that Microsoft’s PSS Division needed a comprehensive and flexible support service. Bill Gates advocated that new approach was needed and that...
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