It was the best of experiences, it was the worst of experiences to paraphrase the famous beginning of ” Tale Of Two Cities.”
(Photo credit: gordon2208)
The next, little remembered part Dickens’ actual text is “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” With a nod towards that, let me relate two experiences of the last 24 hours and you get a couple of good examples of customer support done at either end of the spectrum.
First, Cablevision. My wife was having issues with the cable TV yesterday. The issue was it wasn’t working. Someone in the house has run her through the troubleshooting protocols any number of times (ahem) so by the time she called customer service she knew that the problem was on the cable end and not something in the house. The rep informed her there was no trouble in the area nor was anyone working on the lines nearby so she’d have to send out a technician. She set an appointment for 24 hours later and basically washed her hands of the problem. My wife then headed out to do errands. Lo and behold, not one but three Cablevision trucks were on the road working on the lines. The crew informed her they were doing maintenance and apologized for the brief outage. By the time she got home, the service was fine and she cancelled the appointment (without speaking to a human, by the way).
Second, AT&T. Our internet service kept failing yesterday afternoon. The modem showed the DSL connection was fine but there was no internet. The rep pinged the modem and said there was definitely an issue but wasn’t seeing any issues except in a town 5 miles away. She asked me to hold while she escalated the issue to the tech support supervisors. 3 minutes later, she came on the line to explain what was being done and asked me to hang on. She came back every couple of minutes to update me. Finally, she said that there did seem to be an outage in the area, gave me a support ticket number and told me when the problem would be solved. There was a lot more detail about what tests we ran but the important point was that she actively looked for information and kept me informed about what she was doing to solve the problem. The service is fine today.
Contrast the two. One rep seemed to want to do nothing but get my wife off the phone as quickly as possible. She gave little information and what she did give was just dead wrong. The other one was proactive, communicative, and apologetic. Why isn’t Cablevision my internet provider too? Duh.
Customers expect reps to treat them as the VIP’s they are. While there aren’t a lot of choices about TV or internet providers in any area, there are a few. I know I can get higher-speed internet from Cablevision. Think I’m going to make that move? Would you? Part of being a good marketer is remembering that any touchpoint the business has with consumers is part of marketing. It all needs to be executed at the same high level. If you’re ignoring the customer service reps in your marketing thinking you’re missing the boat, as these examples make clear. You agree?
Filed under Consulting, Huh?
I spent a good part of the weekend watching the Olympics (can I use that word without IOC permission?). NBC is wall to wall with them across all of their networks and it’s great. It’s truly the smorgasbord of sports – a grand buffet with a little something for everyone. Just in case you’re still hungry, NBC is also streaming everything to anyone who can prove they have a cable TV subscription. Seems fair – why have to pay for the same content a second time?
As an aside, that availability of this streaming has me confused about why people are complaining via social media about NBC’s TV coverage – what they choose to air on which networks, etc. You can be your own producer, and if you’re tech savvy enough to complain in the Twittersphere about it you’re probably savvy enough to figure out how to hook a computer up to a TV screen to watch the streaming as if it was TV.
I tried to get myself authenticated to do exactly that and found out that the weak link in the chain is actually the cable operator. Well, specifically MY cable operator. Every time I went through the process, which involves going to the NBCOlympics.com site and entering your cable user ID and password via your own provider’s site, I got a weird server message. Not an error message as if I had the wrong information – a message you see in the graphic that’s indecipherable. I finally emailed Cablevision support. To their credit, they emailed me back within the hour that I was now authorized. I wasn’t – same message when I went to sign in. I used an online chat link they sent me to try to resolve it. The very nice person (named Keith, coincidentally) let me know after a few minutes that he was a TV support guy and I needed to chat with the Internet guy. Start a new chat. Kevin (the new rep) asked if I had Cablevision’s internet service, which I don’t. I reminded him that as long as I had TV I was supposed to be able to watch the streams. He checked (5 minutes) and discovered I was right. The issue turned out to be Chrome on a Mac – I was authorized instantly on a PC using Firefox. Once I installed Flash into Safari, it worked on my Mac as well. Strangely, it now works on Chrome too.
I suspect we’ll see a lot more of this as the pipe we use to access content becomes less important than the content itself. I’m hoping the bumps will vanish and that rather than a great product such as this surfacing once every four years, we can use it every day. What about you? Have you tried the streaming? What do you think? Any issues getting it to work?
Suppose you went to the supermarket today to buy some vegetables but when you went to pay you were told you had to buy soda as well. The store manager (who you demanded to see, of course) calmly lets you know that the store doesn’t make enough margin on vegetable sales alone while they make a ton on soda so they’ve bundled them together. It’s a financial decision, and the fact that you don’t really drink much soda isn’t their problem. They won’t sell you one without the other. Ridiculous? Maybe for groceries. But you’ve been doing this for years. Continue reading
Like many (OK – MOST) of my neighbors, I woke up Saturday morning without several TV channels available to me. I’m sure you’ve read about the dispute between Fox and Cablevision over what the distributor is going to pay the programming service. It’s not the first (we lost Food Network over the holidays for a bit) or the last dispute of this sort and I’m not going to take sides.
Instead, I want to raise something this dispute got me thinking about. High-def TV. Continue reading
Will the stupid things companies do ever cease? Maybe when the companies themselves go out of business for being complete idiots, I guess. But in the interim, they sure provide a good amount of material for this space. I only found three examples over the weekend (I know – slacker) but since they’re all pretty egregious, I thought I’d share them.
I was up way too late last night watching the great performances by Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson. Of course, as a soccer fan, I’m missing the USA/Canada Women’s match since it’s not on TV and as a Cablevision subscriber, I have no access to NBCOlympics.com video. Yes, I’m aware that it’s pretty easy to spoof the system so one can watch but that’s not this morning’s point.
NBC is charging cable operators for a supplemental package of channels for the Olympics and the online broadband site. While many operators have said OK (and I’m wondering how they’re passing along the costs to consumers), Cablevision said no thanks. I have no issue with this- it’s the same decision as they and others make with respect to new channels and broadband packages such as ESPN360 all the time.
My issue is that history shows that consumers don’t like gatekeepers and will find ways around them. AOL’s walled garden is gone. Others are as well. ISP’s have been fairly open to date (I say fairly since some of where Comcast is heading bothers me) and wireless networks are slowly opening. Again, I have no quarrel with Cablevision’s decision. But why didn’t SOMEONE ask me is I wanted to pay for it? Cable guys hate ala carte pricing, NBC wants to get paid on the whole of a footprint rather than by individual users, but in the end, in theory, my sleepy wife misses some great performances. Sure, she can watch highlights, but if NBCOlympics.com has any archived full-length stuff she’s out of luck.
By the way, why does NBC have you install Silverlight (required to watch) before they let you know if you are able to see live video? Nice benefit to our friends in Redmond but sort of sneaky.