As a wise man once said (or was it a shampoo commercial?), "You only get one chance to make a first impression." That’s what customer operations SVP Joe Stackhouse was thinking when he challenged his team to improve subscribers’ experience on their "Day of Service," the day when an appointment is scheduled. Often that’s the day of an install or a customer’s first cable "touch."
When he came to Charter from Comcast in 2007, one of the first things Stackhouse did was read every customer email and letter he could get his hands on. He found "we were struggling on the day that the customer had an appointment…there were problems we couldn’t pinpoint and the [customer service] agents didn’t have the tools to fix things."
The solution was to create a pilot DOS team, agents "well trained to handle that moment of truth." The pilot team was based in Charter’s Worcester, MA, call center. The next step was deploying technology so the customer who has an appointment scheduled has his/her call routed seamlessly to the DOS team, bypassing the standard interactive voice response system.
The pilot program worked so well that a second DOS team was formed last year, in the company’s Louisville, KY, call center. In all, 150 of Charter’s 8,000 agents are DOS team members. "We just don’t have DOS problems anymore (see Fast Facts)…it’s been an important step in improving the experience of our customers," Stackhouse says.
Even in this sluggish economy, Stackhouse has found there is enough work for his DOS agents. "We forecast about 90 days out," he says. "The work is still there," he says, noting DOS agents are handling not only primary installs but also triple-play installs and repair.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Stackhouse says his top priority ahead is first-contact resolution, "really understanding what is driving customers to have to contact us more than once or necessitate an additional truck roll." Basing its response on the DOS success, Charter has formed a pilot team that deals with first-contact resolution. When a customer calls in more than once during a three-day period the caller is routed, again seamlessly, to a team of agents specially trained to solve the problem and not have the customer call again.