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12-18-2017, Mobile Electronics -- With countless mobile and personal electronics from overhead monitors to speakers, to remote starters, Voxx carries just about anything you can imagine. It is fitting that its technical support is also expansive.

The department is vastly different from when Edward Catapano first joined Audiovox 20 years ago, interestingly in tech support before eventually becoming director of technical services.

“The biggest change is you must be more technologically advanced today,” he said. “Back then every car was similar to one another. If you knew how to put a radio in Car A, that radio could be installed and wired into Car B. Today, every car is different. Everything works off the vehicle’s computer and every car is advanced so you really have to think about what you touch and what you’re doing. You need modules to decipher that information for you.” When the module is installed—for example, between a remote start and the car—the module does a lot of the work for you, Catapano explained, adding that it’s much more difficult to do an install nowadays.

Advanced cars, tougher installs, and more complex products are precisely why Voxx has coordinated a comprehensive effort to manage issues for consumers, installers and dealers. All tech support functions funnel through Catapano’s department of 12 employees. Everyone sits around him in the call center at the corporate offices in Hauppauge, N.Y.

Catapano’s hand-picked team of techs, he said, is ready for just about anything.  Catapano himself is MECP certified, along with three of his techs. The rest of the team is MECP Advanced.

“I could bet the farm that I have one of the best teams in the business,” he said. “They can take their hat and turn it when a consumer calls and then they can turn the hat one more time when an installer calls and needs help with something. These techs have installed products all of their lives, so I have almost 300 years of experience in my department.”

On any given day, there are a couple of dozen phone numbers that pump calls into the center. There is one for consumers and other numbers dedicated to dealers. “If we get a call and it’s computer related—maybe an installer is trying to flash software into a unit—my guys will take over the computer and not only show the caller how to do it, but will do the work and train the installer on the phone at the same time,” Catapano said. “This method lets a person learn what to do for the future. If we just tell them how to fix something, great. If we do it for them, great. But if we can do the work, show them, and also teach them at the same time, then they keep that knowledge forever.”

The tech support team is also cross-trained. When calls come in, they can bounce to anyone. “Everyone here can do everything,” Catapano said. Some techs are more adept at certain types of calls, so priorities can be set on those calls so they’re directed to certain people on the team. “Technician A may be good at a particular type of call, so when that call comes in, I might set his priority for that type of call higher than for everyone else. “

Unbox, Dissect And Discuss

With so many products that the techs might potentially have to answer questions about, it is essential to keep everybody up to date with the intricacies of new items and also revisit the mainstays. Catapano does this with hands-on trainings. “I take everyone in the conference room and we physically unbox a product,” he said. “I give out the installation and owner’s manuals to each person. We’ll sit around the table and talk about the product, rip it apart, go through the installation and owner’s manuals, and everyone marks them up with their own feedback.”

Catapano takes it the next step and puts techs on his team in cars to have them actually install products. “Every day, I pull one of my guys off the phone, and we do this in a round-robin fashion,” Catapano said. “My technician will sit inside of a person’s car and install a product. Every day, we do another installation, even though it is common practice or mundane if we do similar things over and over again. My technicians have to be as smart and up to date as the people we talk to, so they can’t just sit on the phone and not experience what these other people are experiencing.”

Read the rest of the story HERE.

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