BrowserHawk Case Study - SMARTHINKING, Inc.
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BrowserHawk Drives Customer Retention and Propels Service Offering for SMARTHINKING

Leading provider of online tutoring leverages BrowserHawk to improve system accessibility, speed customer support

SMARTHINKING is a leading provider of online tutoring to colleges and high schools, providing live, easy-access to students. The Washington, D.C.-based company works with more than 500 schools, colleges, universities, textbook publishers and other institutions, to help educators offer students outstanding academic support and elevate student performance.

SMARTHINKING connects thousands of students to qualified online tutors anytime, from any Internet connection, using the company’s web site, which serves as the sole means for delivering its e-learning solution.

As an advanced web application, the SMARTHINKING e-learning solution requires a modern browser with a variety of technologies installed and enabled to function properly. This includes ActiveX, Java, JavaScript, cookies, and a current version of the Flash plug-in.

SMARTHINKING found that with such a large and diversified user base, many of its users did not meet these minimum requirements. Furthermore, SMARTHINKING does not have control over the installation and configuration of the computers used to access its system.

SMARTHINKING needed a cost effective way to ensure every user met these minimum system requirements, without burdening its users, and without impacting the site’s performance or operation. To ensure that support costs were kept under control, SMARTHINKING also needed an automated way to collect information about the browser and system settings for any user that experienced issues with the site.

SMARTHINKING considered developing some browser-sniffing code in-house based on public scripts and its own development. After further consideration, however, this approach appeared too costly, time-consuming and ineffective on newer browsers that came to market.

After careful consideration, SMARTHINKING selected BrowserHawk, the industry standard solution and the world’s largest selling Intelligent Browser and System Analysis tool. BrowserHawk integrated seamlessly into SMARTHINKING’s existing site architecture, enabling a rapid implementation.

“The primary strategic reason we chose BrowserHawk was to help increase customer retention and usage of our service,” said Corey Ramsden, director of systems at SMARTHINKING. “We were sold on BrowserHawk because it allowed us to do browser checking we would be unable to develop and maintain internally to the same high degree of accuracy and quality.”

Now, every user is pre-screened by BrowserHawk to ensure their browser and system meets the site’s minimum requirements. Users that do not meet these criteria are presented with user-friendly information on why their configurations are inadequate, and what steps they should take to resolve those issues.

In addition, BrowserHawk’s ability to automatically collect each user’s browser profile and configuration has proven invaluable. BrowserHawk removes this burden from SMARTHINKING’s users.

Although SMARTHINKING’s user base has grown significantly over the past few years, its support costs for the web site have remained constant, which the company attributes largely to the automated help system made possible by BrowserHawk. Issues that could take several days to troubleshoot before are now often identified on the spot by using the information tracked by BrowserHawk.

BrowserHawk also helped raise the level of user participation and satisfaction with the e-learning solution. This results in extensive repeat business for SMARTHINKING and has furthered its competitive advantage.

“Our most important differentiator is the high quality of tutoring services,” Ramsden said. “BrowserHawk plays an essential role in delivering this top level quality to each and every customer.”
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