From Brian's Desk

Contact Center Excellence – Stand Out From The Crowd

Cable Companies; Do they Really Suffer From Poor Customer Service?

Cable companies have long been viewed as having poor customer service, among the poorest looking across industries.  I think this needs to be probed a bit deeper to perhaps get a better understanding of why this is.

Consider your own experience with one or more cable companies that you have had.  Mine has been that my emailbox, mailbox and pop-up ads all show me what I can get for a ‘low monthly price’.  Then they start me out with teaser rates to get me to sign up as a customer, and I do so because the price is right.  Then, 6 or 12 months later, even though they warned me in the small print, my introductory rates expire and then I pay much more for their service.  And, then I am unhappy.  Therefore, whenever I call into customer service, I am already not happy.  It is very difficult to have a satisfying interaction with a customer service department when I am already unhappy with the company, and further annoyed at having to call customer service in the first place.

I don’t view this so much as a customer service issue as a value issue. This is what has dogged the utilities industry for so long. Not that the service experience per se is so poor, but rather the company’s value proposition is so poor. In short, the way customers view the value they receive spills over into their view of their customer experience. Cable and satellite companies spend generously on customer acquisition, but not on customer retention. As a brand new customer, I feel valued and I feel I am receiving a product at a price point that I feel matches the value I receive from the product. The problem is, acquisition is based on the teaser rates that increase dramatically once the discount period is over. The value does not increase, but I am paying much more. And, my mailbox and emailbox is stuffed with more teaser offers, all to the benefit of new customers, but not me. In the end, utilities and those that look like utilities don’t spend enough effort on convincing customers that they provide value equal to cost, and that dissatisfaction manifests itself in the service call center.

Personally, when I am billed over $100 a month for a scant few channels outside of what I can get locally, I don’t see the value lining up with the cost.  And I am not happy about it.

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