Yesterday we gave you a snapshot from the Product Quality and Online blog - posted straight from the General Manager herself. Today we bring you more about PQO, this time though we're going in depth with the engineering team. Yes! We do have engineers! You can check back at yesterday's post for the current job openings.
What is PQOE? The Product Quality and Online Engineering team is a world class engineering organization, passionate about the Microsoft customer support experience. With offices in Charlotte, Puget Sound, and Shanghai, PQOE is home to a diverse group of people coming from different backgrounds. Our diversity allows us to create a completely new support experience for our customers around the globe, and the energy and vision is shared at all levels of the organization and in our products.
Our products? We have many: automated fix-its which solves problems right away, diagnostics improve data collection, online support properties host solutions and how-to’s, online incident submission gets customers to the right engineer the first time, and global consumer incident management system connects tech support engineers with our customers are just a few of our products. Always thinking of new ways to enable customer success, our teams continue to deliver high quality and high value solutions throughout the online customer support experience.
Our Team? Our management team empowers everyone to take a leadership role. We are encouraged to listen to our customers, stakeholders, and market trends and develop ideas that will WOW our customers. We leverage agile development processes, which make it possible for us to respond quickly to our ever-evolving customer needs. Best of all, our team is collaborative and all ideas are always welcome.
Consumers today rely more heavily on their computers than ever before. Multiple generations are counting on their PCs 24/7 in an increasingly online, on-demand world where the boundaries between technologies for work, life and play are rapidly blurring, and PQO technologies are critical to the lives of people around the globe in all three areas.
…and here’s some more information, also provided by PQO authors…
For many, including every day home users, students, home-based businesses and small businesses – PCs are an integral part of daily life. At the same time, consumers are bringing a broader range of technologies into their lives and homes, propelling the trend toward the digital home. Radically different than just five years ago, consumers are grappling with mobile phones, laptops, PCs, game consoles and more. The mix is ripe for technical difficulties, and customers are looking for fast, reliable support.
Listening to the customer is an imperative at PQO. To that end, behind the scenes, PQO continuously collects and studies the data behind customer support interactions. This rich resource is helping PQO map a path to delivering faster, smarter and more intuitive tools that empower people to solve their problems quickly and efficiently.
PQO is looking at all avenues of support – including OEMs, support centers, online submission, communities and forums - to ensure that the support it provides is relevant to customers, in recognition of the value that support has on each customer’s experience. As a result, PQO is changing the face of software support on a massive scale. By pushing the boundaries of customer support far beyond the call center, PQO is leading a wave of innovation in customer support. As support becomes more and more intuitive, automated, preventative and proactive, consumers may reach the point where they are not even aware they have experienced a problem.
Given the size and diversity of its customer base, PQO leverages many different approaches to capture diverse feedback from customers in order to improve its products. This includes well-established mechanisms such as analysis of support calls and the data from support incidents. It also includes monitoring of online self-help activity, such as page views of self-help content. In all cases, the data is used to derive information and gain insight into the actions that must be taken to address customer concerns.
One increasingly powerful approach to gathering diverse customer experience data is the use of automation. Automated error reporting can provide deep insight into the most common problems that people are encountering and also the possible solutions for those problems. By leveraging Windows Error Reporting, PQO has been able to create automated fixes that customers can use to address problems when they initially occur, and without the need to access self-help information or call support.
Of course, automated data can never tell the whole story, so PQO relies on individuals within its user community to bring the rich, authentic voice of the customer to the discussion. This occurs through many channels, including forums and newsgroups, but also from the set of people that make up the PQO Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs.
Feedback from all of these sources is used to systematically drive change into products and services. From design changes on new products, to creative solutions for customer problems in existing products, customer feedback shapes the way PQO designs, develops, deploys and supports products and services. As we move into the next decade, we anticipate that feedback from customers will drive even more of our actions.
PQO has learned that customers are the best source of information for product development, and they also enable more effective support, but that often someone needs to play the role of customer advocate. PQO has an elite engineering team that takes customer experience data and develops the insight that can be used to take action. They conduct real-time analysis of customer feedback and address feedback through many avenues to ensure completeness, including patches, support content, design changes and scripted tools. For example, in Windows Vista, the Network Diagnostic Framework is integrated into IE, File Sharing and Wireless, and it can run on demand to diagnose network connectivity issues. As a result of customer feedback, in Windows 7, it will also diagnose Direct Access and Remote Access VPN connections.
PQO also knows that customers with all levels of expertise are turning to support 24x7 to keep their technology running more effectively and to help them maximize their productivity. Tools and support content have to be intuitive and easy to use and targeted to the right skill level. Recently PQO launched PQO Answers, a new Q&A community resource for mainstream consumers. The Answers site is moderated by dedicated Windows support engineers and PQO Most Valuable Professionals in the community. Content is contributed by community members and by PQO to trouble-shoot or extend capabilities using Windows Vista. More than 6,000 questions have been answered since the launch with 2.5M page views and 12,000 customers visit the site each day.
With the scale of PQO’s customer base and the diversity of products, automation has evolved to take support to the next level with tools that troubleshoot and pinpoint steps to avoid problems. An example of this is the evolution of automated tools in the Windows product. With Windows XP, customers could access a few troubleshooters for assisted support via the Web. In Windows Vista automation was built into the platform with PQO Support Diagnostics Tool. With Windows 7, support automation will run through the Action Center, enabling customers to browse through available automated troubleshooters for advanced troubleshooting and root cause analysis of current symptoms.
One new innovation that leverages the data that represents the voice of the customer is “Fix it!”, the industry’s first automated support solution that helps customers diagnose and fix PC problems with the click of a button. Our ability to leverage this technology is increasing and evolving every day, and around ≥100 KB articles include “Fix it” today, but that number is changing rapidly. About 1 million customers have downloaded “Fix it” since December with an approximate 95% successful resolution rate.
Since customers often turn to their PC manufacturers for help, PQO is working with top OEMs to develop a consistent customer support experience. We have opened the FixIt pipeline to partners/OEMs and MVPs to extend the reach to customers. Our approach is to listen, analyze, co-create and measure the impact on customers. With top OEMs, we see a 46% increase in reach. That means more people find the help they need when they need it from PQO and its partners.