Tried but true: that 1st contact with a company is crucial. Cox [COX] svp, marketing Joe Rooney and vp Bill Geppert emphasized improved CSR training during their CTAM Digital ‘surf camp’session, explaining tactics they’ve used to make the most of the bundle. Cox CSRs now try to get customers to sign up for a bundle at the start. "We used to call our CSRs the ‘huggers’ because they were so nice and friendly," Rooney says, quipping that 1 CSR even gave out the phone number of Dish Net to a caller. Now, they’re called the ‘sharks’ in San Diego, where the avg rep will rack up 4K-5K RGUs/yr. Looking ahead, Cox is ramping up to emphasize VOD. The MSO slowed VOD last fall to focus on HD before the holidays. Its battle with EPSN diverted energy away from shoring up several SVOD programming deals, Rooney said after the session. "I think VOD could be very good for Cox. It’s great to have a network-based product." — Cox’s San Diego market’s been pretty successful, with more than 50% of customers taking 2 products and 20% taking a 3-product bundle (that’s expected to rise to 25% by year-end). — Speaking of CSRs, thanks to Geppert for mentioning Drew Pruitt, the 1st CSR to score an A+ in CableFAX’s "Spot Check" feature. Pruitt was recognized internally and dined with Cox chmn James Cox Kennedy.

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