Digital Marketing

Lessons from the Cable Company: Customer Experience IS Your Brand

It’s no secret that cable television is fighting a tough battle right now. It used to be that you needed a cable coming out of your wall if you wanted your MTV.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
You have your choice of platform: TV, phone or tablet, so you no longer need to be chained to the sofa in the family room if you want to watch Breaking Bad while hoping your curious 3 year old doesn’t walk into the room and see a human head attached to a turtle.
You have your choice of content providers: Cable, DSL, Fiber, Dish, Netflix, Hulu, ChromeCast, Amazon Prime. Gone are the days of watching cartoons on Saturday morning and only Saturday morning and you better like Barney.
AngryThis leaves the cable company to fight a lot of battles. They fought one with me this week.
As with many great deals, I received an incredible introductory rate during my first year. I received cable and internet. Nothing premium. After my year ended, I watched my monthly bill go up…and up…and up. I was now paying $140 a month to watch House Hunters while tweeting whether they would choose house 1, 2, or 3. It was time to re-evaluate.
After asking friends on Facebook about a potential new provider, my decision was made. I was switching and my bill would be cut in half.
When calling the cable company, I was upfront with them about my reasons for leaving and asked them if they could match the new rate. Instead they offered me a faster connection speed in case I ever choose to become a gamer by night. She thanked me for my patience and set up the cancellation for Saturday.
The next day, I started receiving “unknown caller” calls every hour. After a day of this, I picked up the phone and there was my cable company wanting to negotiate. I explained to him that I had this conversation with a very nice customer service rep two days ago and she couldn’t help me. His response?
“She’s in customer service. I’m in customer retention. I can help you.”
And there is the fatal flaw.
The customer retention person needs to be the person that the customer speaks to at the moment of frustration. When this doesn’t happen, you end up with an annoyed customer and it’s not easy to recover from that.
I have been very happy with my cable and internet service the entire time that I’ve had them. The only thing that I wasn’t happy with was the price. The 2 years of good experiences was severely damaged by my user experience upon planned cancellation.
Employees need to be empowered and the customer experience needs to be at the center of your brand. A poorly executed customer experience can result in tweets that spread and Facebook posts that influence friends behavior. The result is  a big tangled web of negativity that completely hides the fact that people may have been very happy with their product.
Bad experiences hurt brands and ultimately, will hurt business.
Have you ever had a customer experience that left a bad taste in your mouth?

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Sharon Suchoval

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