With its cable subscribers safely migrated to its network, Cogeco Cable Inc. is now focusing on self-improvement.

The Montreal-based cable and Internet company has enlisted eAssist Global

Solutions to overhaul its customer service software in its 300-seat Ontario call centre.

Gary Switzer, Cogeco vice-president and general manager, said software is being installed so that when a user calls the service rep knows who it is.

“”Today if you called in as a customer I would have to ask you what city you’re calling from, what your telephone number is or what your account number is,”” said Switzer. “”When this is installed — let’s say you call in either from your home or where the account’s registered, or a secondary number that we have as maybe your work number — your account will automatically populate the screen.””

The benefit is twofold: call-handle time is cut by a minimum of 30 seconds and, Switzer said, “”it’s so nice to know who’s calling.””

Switzer said other features like easier form process are also part of the phased install, and he expected average call handle time to drop by 45 seconds. From there, he says, the return on investment is simple to calculate.

“”It’s a quick payback when you’re looking at the cost of a minute in a call centre, plus the added value of just having the information at your fingertips from a customer relationship perspective,”” he said.

A customer self-service option is also part of the plan. Switzer said there will be some diagnostic options available to users on the Web. “”No matter how aggressive you are at managing them, the service levels always aren’t optimum where a customer can get through when they want to. You have to give them different access points,”” he said.

eAssist is doing the integration, and this isn’t the first time it has worked for a Canadian communications company. Fran DuCharme, senior director of marketing, said it has also worked with BCE and Emergis. Its experience seems to be paying off.

“”They’re really going out of their way to make this a success, and I’ve worked with a lot of companies that integrate products,”” said Switzer, adding he hopes the project will be wrapped up in April.

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