SAN JOSE, Calif. - October 4, 2006 - As part of a continuing effort to help its channel partners strengthen customer satisfaction and loyalty, Cisco Systems® today announced Cisco® Continuous Coverage, a program designed to help channel partners offer a superior level of service to small business customers by streamlining the process for ordering and retaining support for Cisco equipment. The new program also provides payment flexibility by allowing small business customers to purchase support via electronic fund transfer, check or credit card and to choose monthly or annual billing, which is critical in the small business market.
"The opportunity for partners to sell and renew service contracts in the small business segment is growing exponentially, representing a $60 million opportunity in the U.S. today," said Karl Meulema, vice president of marketing and channels for Cisco Services. "However, managing these contracts for our channel partners is proving to be a challenge. Most partners serving this market do not have the sales capacity to quote, sell, bill and collect payment for this growing number of service renewal opportunities. The Continuous Coverage program addresses these issues by providing customers with easy access to award-winning Cisco support and creating an incremental revenue opportunity for our channel partners."
Earlier this year, Cisco piloted the Continuous Coverage program with Tech Data Corporation and several of the distributor's Cisco reseller customers. Cisco and Tech Data regularly work together to introduce innovative new programs like Continuous Coverage to the channel, providing the distributor's customers with access to the latest Cisco services and support. The initial results of the program show a renewal rate jump, on average, of more than 60%. Additionally, the program has made it easier for small businesses to purchase service contracts: 35 percent use online self-service and 45 percent purchase via credit card.
"Before adopting Continuous Coverage, the renewal process was manual and time-consuming and required us to create our own tools to help manage," said Kyle van Hoften, director of marketing and business development, Global CTI Group. "With Continuous Coverage, we've seen a significant rise in operational efficiency, which has enabled our sales team to engage more effectively with customers and help them improve their businesses with more advanced solutions and technologies."
Partners Are in the Driver's Seat
The Continuous Coverage program uses solutions by Encover Inc., a market leader in service contract renewals, to allow Cisco channel partners to receive notifications regarding upcoming service contract renewal opportunities, online renewal management services, flexible purchasing options, and click-to-buy ordering for customers. In short, Continuous Coverage provides partners with better visibility into their service contract renewal opportunities and makes available a variety of services to help streamline the entire sales process for both channel partners and end customers - while keeping channel partners central to the entire process.
Cisco is currently rolling out Continuous Coverage to authorized Cisco channel partners in the United States. For more information about Continuous Coverage, please visit www.cisco.com/go/coverage.