Cisco offers partners an edge

Cisco offers partners an edge

Seasoned networking giant Cisco Systems has announced an online customer-satisfaction tool that promises to give a virtual boost to its channel partners amid the current sink-or-swim industry climate.

Cisco's new Partner Access Online (PAL) tool mirrors the company's own customer-satisfaction feedback system, employing an independent company to survey end-users' pre- and post-sale support. The system, which will be accessible by partners in June, provides real-time online data in areas such as the partner's account team performance, responsiveness, communication and engineer availability.

"The PAL tool will enable our channel partners to improve customer relations and generate strong loyalty, two elements we believe are critical for success in the Internet economy," Cisco Vice President of Worldwide Channels Technical Operations Kevin MacRitchie said in a statement.

The new customer-service system marks the latest addition to Cisco's Channel Partner Program, an updated version of the company's Partner Certification Program, a mentoring system which gives tools to the company's partners to help them increase their expertise and revenue.

Cisco has also unveiled a new track in its Channel Partner Program called Cable Specialisation, which is focused on the service provider market and is available now. Under the program, partners should be able to gain expertise in specific technology areas through a series of training courses and exams, teaching them to plan, implement and support Cisco cable solutions. The cable program is the latest in a list of specialisations offered under the program, which also includes specialisations in IP telephony, WAN switching, network management and wireless LAN, among others.

By providing partners with areas of expertise, the company says it hopes to give them a hand up in the dicey Internet economy.

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