« Human Contact Doesn't Cost Extra at Insight | Main | Cable A-La-Carte - A Great Idea, or Is It? »

Friday, May 09, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Rachel Begley

I think one of the biggest aspects of customer service is LISTENING to the customer. Being that I work for another cable provider in the Louisville area (guess which one lol), this is what I do for my customers.. I listen.
Generally, most irate callers are this way because when they call in they don't feel they are listened to. We hear this at our call center and unfortunately I had the same treatment when I called into Insight today. I think it's a problem with most call centers these days.
This is not meant to be a complaint so to speak about my experience but really to give an example of how the customers feel they aren't listened to.
In my case, being that I do outage management where I work, I do know what I'm talking about. I have experienced packet loss for over a month with my HSI and over the last few days major issues with it, including non connectivity and speed issues.
I was able to track down the issue to a core router and even managed to get someone to tell me they sent the issue to the NOC only to have them tell me that everything was within limits.. then blame it on my modem. I provided screen shots of the issue down to the exact server that was the problem.
It literally took me finding others in the area and conferencing them in to say they had the same issue going on and show the same core router as the issue.... still to be told my modem is the issue. Common sense says that if several people in an area are having the same issue, showing the same results that one person's modem would not cause all of the issues.
This gets back to listening to the customer. If they listen, and use common sense they would see that I'm saving them time in doing all that I'm doing, thereby saving the company money and resources by providing all info needed to trend an issue such as this.
I think listening to a customer, regardless if they have the background I do, or even if they are just a novice user is highly important. Not only can it save the company money in the long run, but it also makes the customer feel that someone really cares.

RC

Mr. Willner,

Danny just stopped by to inform me of my road's approved status and that you had called his boss.
Whether or not you were directly involved in the approval, I'd like to give many thanks to you for following up on my comments.

~RC

c martin

if its all about customer service, then why is it everytime a customer calls in to get customer service..we get the run around and then its all about selling something.. When something is broken i dont want to hear about what i dont have and how much money i can save, i want my problem resolved. I want to be treated like a human being, not some dollar sign every time the phone rings.. Maybe you should consider that about the customer service aspect...

RC

Mr. Willner, first off I have to say that it's refreshing to see a head officer of a company such as Insight taking a proactive stance and actually talking with the customers in this day and age. The more I hear about Insight in the news lately and get further information, it seems like Insight is a lighted beacon amongst a swath of cable operators that "just don't get it."

I'm not an Insight customer yet, although I dearly hope to be soon. My road just had it's request order sent up to purchasing in NY from the local office down in the Louisville KY/New Albany IN area. Unfortunately it's been put on hold for some reason, but I maintain faith that it will happen.

Your post here on return calls did strike a cord with me though. See I've been maintaining almost weekly contact with a Danny Campbell for 5 months now, in order to help push things through. He's been exceptional about the frequent calls and working on multiple surveys that finally resolved in my road qualifying for service. Prior to that, I've been on the phone with survey techs since December - who came back again and again saying we wouldn't qualify. Difference was that no one prior had taken into account where the cable was to be strung, and the subdivision that actually wanted the service put in. So the same sections of road that the cable was to be strung on were not considered in the original surveys. Places where a subdivision developer wanted cable put in, were not considered at first glance.

What it took, was simply someone that would stop - listen to the situation - and act accordingly.

I'm well aware that a business must be profitable in order to remain functional. So please don't misunderstand this as a rant or negative set of remarks about underserved communities.

I've personally fought to get some kind of service to this road for 3 years now, going so far as to contact several members of state and local government, *every* potential broadband provider, all the while considering starting a WISP myself because no one was interested in 2 and a half roads of customers. AT&T has their focus on the Indiana waterfront cities across from Louisville. All the money goes there - while I'm told "5 years to never" I may see any development.

Here's some suggestions though:

1. Might check that your new prospective customer survey crews are fully trained to get the survey done the 1st time. Insight probably wasted a lot of time and money doing from what I understand to be over 8 surveys on the same area. Danny did what at least 2 others could not get done. Efficiency is a wonderful thing.

2. This is probably been discussed on some level in R&D hopefully, but look at putting wireless transceivers on the end of your cable lines. In my case the line is to end on my property, it could reach more people wirelessly without a install of additional cable and a $90,000 fiber node.

3. Keep tabs the WISPs, they're plowing paths most people wouldn't think of because they have a personal stake in what they are doing. Necessity breeds innovation. Broadband Reports has cable forums sure, but there's much more available to explore.

4. Find a way to involve the communities. I don't mean fund raisers or building a fire house... I mean ways of educating people about digital services, why it's important for the future. The Insight website could use a section or separate portal for people that want Insight to submit "we want service" requests. Don't just make it a generic "send us an email" or "call our office" - that's AT&T's favorite trick and it's impersonal as can be. Most folks know they need something, but have no clue on how to get it or who to contact. I presented the idea to people involved with Rural Broadband Development in Indiana. They have rural "this" and "that" strung across several sites, and each agency tells you to call another. We need a central hub to go to, where the people in underserved communities can go to learn, and to be honestly heard. Being a business, you want customers. Being an underserved community - we want to pay and get services. It fits. Some times people are more than willing to help get services in and compromise too. At the end of the day, when things are installed - you as the provider end up being the hero.

5. Keep an open mind when it comes to web created content. Google might be one example, as it was developed from two guys living out of a trailer on a school campus. What I'm trying to get at is that a tight iron fist approach won't work on the Internet. Take a look at the RIAA vs. artists and the music purchasing market for an interesting example. Artists took to releasing "pay as much as you want" albums and they still make money. Take a look at modding and community made projects in the video game industry. Games that have long since died in retail production are still having content produced for them and quite active. Give people tools to create, but make a safe environment - let them grow on their own.

6. Encourage competition. The community store house concept proved to be a failure as we know all the way back to the first colonies at Plymouth and Jamestown. New ideas, better productivity, efficient methods, a fresh look, hard workers... should be promoted and rewarded.
These are probably obvious, but it never hurts to reevaluate and remember the basic roots of a great foundation.

7. Reinvent the wheel. Being on Broadband Reports is great because you can see what people complain about. Therein lies an opportunity. Each time someone presents an applicable problem, ask "how can we make this better than those guys?" "How can this be improved?" "What if..." may be the single most important pairing of words in all of man-made innovation. "Why not..." is probably a close second.

8. Take angry comments and verbal whiplash worth a grain of salt. Yes it can be an indicator of something drastically wrong, but on the Internet more often than not it's someone's opinion based on either someone else's opinion, or a bad experience. Like the recent reply about a PR fire-stopping measure - take into consideration that the ratings on Broadband Reports for any given category of service provider are pretty low. The worst companies make the news the most often giving the whole industry a bad name. People have been burned over and over again till they feel it's become the norm, the economy is in a bit of a slump for some sectors, and gas prices are driving people nuts. If you talk to a disgruntled (but reasonable) person and try to find out why they are angry - understand the full situation... you'll find the cause & effect. Generally, they've got legitimate concerns or just don't have the knowledge to fix the situation.

9. For general health, learn to be content and laugh with and at yourself. Being on the net can be a stressful and frustrating adventure. If nothing else, take 2 minutes and find a nice web comic to chuckle at.

God bless, and good luck.

~RC

The comments to this entry are closed.