Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cable Companies Forced to Connect

It is a shame that New York City regulators have been forced to get involved in the repair business of cable companies. The city has drafted a contract with the cable TV providers that states: “If the technician fails to show up inside the promised window, the company has to give the customer a month’s service for free.” It also requires that the service tech would call, email or text to say they are on their way. And to top it off, customers calling for service would be connected to a live person within 30 seconds. Obviously this is a victory for New York City customers.

Cable companies have consistently ranked among the lowest in customer satisfaction in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Many have been guilty of abusing customer’s time for a lot of years. I am not a fan of government involvement. I would have preferred that the companies improved their processes so customer outrage would not have required this intervention.

What can you learn from this? Ask yourself these questions –

- How well are you doing at respecting the customer’s time? Think about email response time, on hold wait time, repair service calls.

- How do you communicate proactively? Think about whether you are calling when en route, calling or texting when a delay occurs, following up to report progress on an issue.

- What processes need to be changed so they are customer friendly and not company friendly? Re-think scheduling and long “windows” of promised service times.

Customers want respect, to be treated fairly and to receive value for the money they are spending. It is time to make changes that work for the customer. What will you do differently before your customer’s outrage forces it?