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July 27, 2009

2009 Top Ops Awards: Independent Customer Service Award—NewWave Communications

At NewWave Communications, customer satisfaction is both a goal and a sales tool.

That was the thinking behind creating The President’s Club program. The program offers NewWave’s most dedicated subscribers a bundle of premium customer service, tech support and a rotation of free perks.

Club membership is triggered when a customer subscribes to the Tidal Wave package, a suite of video services, DVR, high-speed Internet and unlimited phone. Within weeks Tidal Wave subscribers receive a letter from NewWave’s president and CEO Jim Gleason welcoming them to the Club. It also includes a membership card. Later the subscriber receives a welcome call from a local manager.

 Presidential Prerogative: Jim Gleason, president/CEO, NewWave Communications.

Presidential Prerogative: Jim Gleason, president/CEO, NewWave Communications.

The program has helped NewWave, which serves 117,000 subscribers in parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee, turn back the clock on churn rates, Gleason says. "We are seeing historically low churn rates in the past few months that rival churn rates from 10 to 15 years ago," he adds. "While these churn rates aren’t completely attributable to The President’s Club program, it has clearly helped."

That’s because, as the saying goes, membership has its advantages. President’s Club members can bypass the usual red tape associated with customer service. Members receive access to a premium 800 number for service calls and they are guaranteed little to no hold time, NewWave says. There’s also a customer service e-mail address reserved for President’s Club members. Service problems are guaranteed to be handled within 24 hours.

Members also are offered special deals on programming packages and free movies through a rotation of promotions and special deals. Belonging to the club is like knowing the management at your favorite restaurant. You skip lines, receive special treatment and, most important, you come away feeling special.

Gleason says the program also functions as a feedback mechanism. If for any reason a member is unsatisfied, membership also includes weekly checkup calls from customer service reps. The extra initiative truly helps NewWave return the favor. "Our program was really designed to recognize our highest-value customers," says Gleason. "The President’s Club is one way to start to show [them] the level of service they deserve.

Fast Facts

  • Founded in 2003, NewWave already has more than 400 employees and annual sales exceeding $100 million.

  • The President’s Club customer experience program began in the fourth quarter of 2008.

  • New President’s Club members receive a recorded welcome call from the local general manager.

  • In addition to access to a dedicated service team, President’s Club members get a free "Movie of the Month" and a free HD upgrade.


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