Agency.com Teams with DirecTV to Broaden Customer Access

In today’s marketplace, where retaining clients is as important as cementing new deals, New York-based Agency.com is counting itself lucky. The company has just extended a contract with digital satellite television service DirecTV, to bump-up its online customer service applications.

Charlie Dickson, CFO of Agency.com, said the deal would allow his company to build services for DirecTV that would reduce the satellite television’s customer service costs for its 9.5 million users.

While Dickson was unable to provide specific cost-savings numbers, he said offline companies that service clients by manual fax, or some other means of non-Internet service, are riddled with customer service problems. For example, incorrectly entered service requests and faulty address information can cripple a company’s profit margin.

With that in mind, Agency.com is providing a wide array of services to DirecTV, including customer access to account information and online bill payment.

The new initiatives come at a time when Agency.com has been engaged in a restructuring effort that includes a recent layoff of 190 staff members, of which 130 were billable consultants. When the cuts were made in December, Agency.com said it would also close its 40-person office in Vail, Colorado.

Dickson said Agency.com’s current restructuring did not affect the build out of DirecTV’s back-end. In fact, he said, the deal was another example of Agency’s continued focus on working with large blue chip companies.

The financials were not disclosed, but DirecTV will pay Agency.com for the time and effort it has spent developing the platform.

During its several-year partnership with Agency.com, DirecTV has taken its order processing system online through both client-server and extranet-based applications. Today, Agency.com is also working with DirecTV Latin America, to launch interactive television games in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The deal with DirecTV Latin America once again exemplifies a strong relationship between the two companies. And, in today’s competitive environment where clients are hard to come by, that’s priceless.

Christine Gordon is a senior editor with atNewYork.com, an internet.com property.

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