Three Ways to Improve Customer Experience

By: Tim Young

Let’s begin the way most every discussion of the customer experience begins: with a personal anecdote.

I’ve been a customer of a large US cableco (who shall remain nameless for the sake of neutrality and the fact that they, more than likely, will be reading this article) for the better part of a decade—ever since I moved into the geographical area the company serves, and through several interstate and intra-city moves.

I’ve never been a particularly lucrative subscriber, I’ll admit. We joined the ranks of the cord-cutters seven years ago, and that decision has gotten easier and easier to live with over time. But we’re consistent and loyal. Sure, we’re internet-only and resist the constant barrage of bundle “upgrade” offers, but we pay on time, every time and rarely call to complain. I can’t think of the last time we triggered a truck roll, and I’ve been able to muddle through any self-installation that’s been thrown at me.

But there have been so many missed opportunities. So, so many.

Most recently, the promotional pricing we were under expired, and we were faced with a bill that was about 60 percent higher than what we’d been paying. So I girded my loins to spend a couple of hours on the phone playing the semiannual escalation game until I got the bill dropped to a reasonable level.

But this time my usual tactics came to no avail. I was told by everyone I spoke to that the best I could do was five bucks off my new total. And my old service was a remnant of my former subscription. There’d been a merger (which narrows down the name of my cableco a lot, but I’m still trying for anonymity here) and the new company apparently felt a lot less generous about promotional pricing for existing customers.

I walked away, called my local telco, verified they had fiber in my neighborhood, priced a plan that beat the cablecos offer for speed and value, and called the cableco back to cancel my service.

Only then did I get the proper escalation. I got an offer that, while still not as good as my previous plan, made enough sense financially to keep me from churning.

I’d need a new modem (though I just got a new modem with almost the same specs maybe a year ago, but that model wasn’t supported by the new company) that would be shipped to me after I repeatedly stated that I had no desire to come to a retail location to pick it up.

A week goes by. Maybe two. No modem. A new bill arrives. Nothing has changed in our pricing.

Deep sigh.

I call the cableco back. First they say there’s no record of my previous call, then a longish hold, then an apologetic admission that the previous call was noted, but that my order of a new modem and a service change had been cancelled by the CSR I spoke to in the last call.

The slow, rhythmic thumping they may heard on that call was my head making contact with my kitchen wall a dozen times while I searched for nice words to say.

They straightened it out, placated me with a one-time bill credit, and overnighted me the new modem (after first asking me several times if I was sure I didn’t want to pick it up at a retail location).


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