Twitter and facebook and social media monitoring are having just about zero effect in improving customer service in the cable business. In fact, one might argue that every moment spent on these efforts is a setback for the customer. Observing cable provider customers and listening to their stories, it would seem more prosaic projects would go a lot further in lowering costs and improving customer satisfaction.
Here is a real-life example this week in New York City, and this is not an example of Cablevision, Comcast or Verizon: Last Monday a woman in Grammercy Park ordered a new cable service for her apartment. She is told that there is availability on Thursday if she can be in her apartment between 2PM and 5PM. Though she is employed and works in an office, she agrees.
Do you already know where this is going? At 5:30 PM on Thursday, there is still no cable installer, and no phone call update, so the woman calls the cable provider (sic!). The service representative says she will check and get back to her. NOT. But around 6PM the woman receives a “Courtesy Call” (sic!) to say that the engineer will arrive at 7:30PM.
Right on time, at 7:30PM, cable guy shows up and does a clean and neat job. But when the woman shuts off her television, her DVR box shuts down as well, cancelling all of her programming. And then upon turning the cable box back on, the unit performs a complete reboot requiring 7 minutes. The woman calls Technical Support but cannot understand the man on the other end of the line. When she asks him to repeat, he hangs up. She calls back, and this time she is told that they will need to send a technician, and their first available slot is for one week later.
Where should this company begin the long journey to earning the respect and trust of customers? Their website is sprayed with banners about ‘deals’ and ‘bundles’ and other pricing information.
But a focus on customer service? Nothing.
Do they display their customer service ratings? No.
Do they show the posts to customer forums? No.
Do they show product reviews? No.
Are their interaction channels connected? Is it easy to track a complaint? Do they know survey every customer to see if their installation went well? Or give them the tools to provide their experience post-installation?
Well, one gets tired of typing ‘no.’
I’ve been visiting towns and states around the Eastern US Seaboard, and something is clear: the smaller the business, the better the service. Privately owned businesses tied to their communities are unflaggingly responsive to customers. But as we scale, the voice of the customer, and the loop back to the customer, fail to hold.
The net of it is: The big “Social CRM” and “Social Media” projects tend to do a good job in capturing abstract comments disconnected from specific events, and this information, as it is on a high level, fails to tie into someones performance review. You might as well shut down these social projects if they are just so much lipstick on the pig (no disrespect to pigs – they’re smarter than your dog!).
Classic Customer Service projects want to look at the customer experiences of individuals as well as aggragates. They create closed loops that track the steps that go into a successful customer experience for each specific customer, and then let the results impact the performance reviews of employees. If your customer is not happy, you won’t be happy. You might even be fired. You’ll certainly lose a bonus or commission or access to a pay increase.
Next time around I want to drill into ways of providing intrinsic rewards for employees – things that allow them to feel true satisfaction in their jobs while at the same time empowering them to succeed.
Right now I’m helping a young woman reconfigure her cable box.