Telephone Support Database

A photo-processing corporation with over 900 stores needed an application to allow simultaneous operation of 20 telephone support technicians. The application handled multi-user interactions and provided reports to track problems from initial notification through resolution.

A prototype was demonstrated by the customer which was written in an old DOS based version of DBASE. Since the prototype was filled with logic errors and lacked many useful features, the decision was made to redevelop the application using the prototype as a rough design guide. Since this application required a substantial amount of free RAM running on a DOS machine, there was a hindrance to use readily available tools such as Microsoft Word and Excel on Windows.

A new application was designed and developed based upon the principles shown in the prototype. The user interface was dramatically improved using an updated Windows look-and-feel. Better device support and ease of customization were an added benefit of the new application.

Convenience features were added to allow the to cross reference information and provide data entry from popup lists maintained within the database. The improvements in the user interface improved the telephone support personnel efficiency of entering problem reports. Since the application provided a capability to categorize problem reports as resolved, critical and open, the managers of the support staff could easily determine the progress of their staff. The flagged reports also made assigning priority and scheduling followup very straightforward.

The users were excited about the ease of use and conveniences built into the application. The user interface was developed using VB and the data was stored in an ACCESS database. Custom reports were generated using Crystal Reports and ACCESS reports. The application runs on Windows 95/98/NT and supports about 20 simultaneous users.