Insights Blog

Can Cable Operators Adopt an Uber-like Customer Experience?

Posted by Scott Dutton on July 17, 2014 Topics: Cable Operations, Field Service Automation

CSG International | Creating an Uber-Like Customer ExperienceWith millions of apps available for smartphones, it’s no surprise that many businesses are looking to enhance their mobile platforms to deliver a better customer experience. 

Many cable operators such as Comcast, DISH and Charter Communications are already offering customer care apps today. While these apps focus largely on enabling consumers to watch their favorite shows across multiple devices, many operators are also enabling consumers to pay their bills, troubleshoot technical issues and hold live chats with customer care.

When it comes to cable and satellite companies, the end-game for delivering an unparalleled customer experience must include mobility as part of the overall customer interaction strategy —particularly as it relates to technicians visiting a subscriber’s home to install, upgrade or troubleshoot service.

Earlier this year, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts pointed to Uber as the Holy Grail of the customer experience. Uber is hot on the scene when it comes to leveraging a sleek user interface combined with real-time technologies to pair consumers looking for transportation-for-hire with available drivers.

My question is: if Uber can deliver this kind of experience to customers, why can’t cable and satellite service providers? The answer is they can, and many are on their way to deploying Uber-like strategies to deliver a differentiated experience.

What are operators doing to get one step closer to an Uber-like experience? Market leaders are leveraging four key technologies:

1. Unified communications tools and field workforce platforms. Based on our experience, many consumers don’t mind the two-hour appointment window as long as they know when a technician is near their home. Unified communications tools give operators the ability to proactively alert a customer that a technician is on the way, whether that’s a phone call at home when the technician is 30 minutes away, or a text message appointment reminder. Operators are also starting to send a digital business card for the technician along with appointment notifications. This allows customers to know who is going to be at the door, their tenure and experience with the company and how to contact them, creating a more personalized experience.

2. Leverage GPS for location-based information. Integrating GPS technology with mobile field service management can drive dramatic efficiencies. For example, one large operator reduced vehicle idle time by 25 minutes per vehicle per day (which, by the way, translates into a reduction of $6 million per year in fuel costs alone). These same GPS technologies that improve operational efficiencies in the field can be leveraged to show consumers via mobile where their technician is en route; calculate based on real-time traffic data when they will arrive; and use location-based data to trigger an automated update to the customer when a technician’s estimated arrival time has changed.

3. Eliminate the silos for how field technicians support customers. CSG’s experience has shown that operators who optimize the movement of their technicians in the field are those who consolidate and manage all scheduling information across all lines of business. Through a consolidated view, operators can “see” the customer service process in its entirety—and that holistic view opens the opportunity to not only serve the customer well, but also upsell and cross-sell services.

4. Centralize customer communications preferences. It’s one thing to let a customer know in advance that a technician is on their way, but how do you know it will reach the customer through the right channel? By using a centralized “profile” on each customer, operators customize communications based on the consumer’s preferences.

In short, today it’s all about leveraging the systems already in place to mobilize your business to reach the next frontier of customer service. So will operators deliver an Uber-like customer experience? With so much focus on the customer these days, it’s really not a matter of if—but when.

For more on how to optimize your field force to deliver an exceptional customer experience, read my blog post on "Fulfilling the On-Time Service Guarantee: a Field Service Guide."

Scott Dutton

Scott Dutton is a Director of Product Management at CSG International.