Broadband Communities

OCT 2014

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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80 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | OCTOBER 2014 TECHNOLOGY SMS for Customer Care Consumers have adopted text messaging with unprecedented fervor. A well-rounded customer care solution should take this preference into account. By Mike Roddy / NuTEQ Solutions T he broadband industry is often considered a bottom dweller in the customer service department. Service providers are plagued with relentless call-center volumes, generally from customers who are unhappy just because they have to call. Te defnition of customer care changes from service provider to service provider. Many small providers claim their level of service is a diferentiator. However, cost-efectively scaling that personal level of service to a large corporate structure seems an ever-elusive goal. In addition, customer needs change. Societal expectations have changed from high-touch service to no-touch and on-demand touch. Customers want a person on the phone when they want one, but otherwise, they want to be left alone. Few technological leaps have taken place in call centers. IVRs have been around for years, and callbacks – though better than being left on hold – are simply another form of delay. Customers despise going through phone trees, validation processes and endless holds to achieve what they wanted in the frst place – talking to a person – only to be subjected to the same validation and data gathering again with a call center rep. Online chat sessions provide some relief, but they appeal only to a particular segment of the market, not to all consumers. To provide quality service at acceptable cost, service providers consider afordable call-center labor well beyond their service territories and third-party call-center outsourcing, domestic and international. Does simply adding head count – at any price – solve the underlying issue: "Why are my customers calling month in and month out?" DIFFERENTIATION IS KEY New service providers do not necessarily need to follow the old models. Diferentiation is key, not just in product and price but also in customer experience. Technology enables more opportunities and reduces cost structures. For instance, smartphone apps drew a lot of attention just a few years ago. Each service provider created its own app, believing it would capture consumers' hearts. However, though developing a smartphone app may have a manageable cost, consumers rarely download and use these apps, and their long-term maintenance costs are high as smartphone life cycles get shorter. Adding head count to call centers may reduce hold times but will not solve the underlying problems that cause customers to call their service providers.

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