NEW YORK: Software maker SupportSoft Inc. signed a three-year agreement with Time Warner Cable to provide automated customer support for its Road Runner high-speed data subscribers, the company said.
SupportSoft will provide software and services to allow Time Warner Cable customers to install the Road Runner high-speed data service and resolve technical issues themselves, reducing costly service calls and home visits by technicians.
The deal with Time Warner Inc. unit Time Warner Cable is the fifth major cable deal for SupportSoft, which already has contracts with Adelphia Communications, Charter Communications, Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications.
SupportSoft chairman and chief executive, Radha Basu estimates that the company provides services to 85 percent of the cable broadband market. Among telecoms, SupportSoft has deals with SBC Communications and Bell South for their high-speed data services.
"The year 2003 was a banner year for broadband subscriber growth," Basu told Reuters. "But if you do not automate installation and support, your customer service expenses can become a huge part of your expense fees."
High-speed data is the fastest-growing, most-profitable line of business for the U.S. cable television industry.
Beyond building the infrastructure, supporting customers becomes the biggest expense. SupportSoft says it can reduce the number of support calls by 30 percent, cutting personnel costs and expenses associated with onsite service calls.
SupportSoft's fees range between $2 and $6 per customer over the length of the contract. Time Warner Cable has 3.2 million high-speed data subscribers after adding more than 800,000 customers in 2003.