Renaissance plans to hire more than 20 staff to expand its support centre, which will operate on a 24/7 basis by June.
The company is retraining nearly 50 of its current staff in preparation for the expansion. As well, the company wants to employ another 20 customer support personnel to be based at its Onehunga, Auckland headquarters.
As part of the support business’ expansion, Renaissance’s online reseller portal is being upgraded with more comprehensive product information and is designed to be accessible “anywhere, any time”, says recently appointed head of services, James Cowie. This includes access from mobile devices, in particular the iPhone, he says.
Cowie adds the services business will have a more direct link to the distribution business, headed by Bronwyn Sinclair. This means the company will be able to act more quickly to address any product issues identified by partners, he says.
Renaissance may add more third party support partners after June.
Cowie also plans to gain Support Centre Practices (SCP) certification for Renaissance’s support centre. The SCP programme measures customer support effectiveness based on a set of performance standards, and is run by the US-based Service Strategies organisation.
The company continues to plan its brand consolidation and has employed the services of a “corporate identity guru”, says CEO Richard Webb.
He says the company won’t change its “look and feel” in the short term, but is soon set to launch a loyalty scheme to reward people for buying more Renaissance products and services. One example of the planned incentives is discounts on Apple products for those who sign up for training at the Renaissance-owned tertiary design college Natcoll.
If the name of the loyalty scheme is well received, it could be adopted by the company at large, says Webb.
Renaissance’s drive to create its own intellectual property base won’t just be about building IP, but also acquiring it, says Webb.
“It will probably include incubating some companies and technologies as part of our mandate,” he says. The company is in discussions with some firms regarding incubation, he adds.
Renaissance is moving away from what Sinclair calls a “very siloed distribution offering”, and will now have managers for particular areas of the technology market rather than for particular products.
The business may add additional vendors, she says. “We are not looking for hundreds of new brands but we will definitely look at new ones where we don’t offer a full solution.”
The company’s annual general meeting is set to be held mid-May.
Renaissance recently announced a $2.7 million pre-tax loss for the full year ended December 2009.