Committed. Helpful. Proactive. Personal. Words that surely spark joy among customers, Sparklight-style. These are the hallmarks of customer service at the company formerly known as Cable ONE, which, in keeping with its drive to super serve customers at every juncture, used the rebrand as opportunity to recommit.
“Our executives, field technicians, customer service representatives, technical care team and beyond all use these principles to guide their interactions with both internal and external customers. Through these principles, we focus on the unique needs of each individual—treating them with respect and empathy, and actively working to make their relationship with us seamless, easy and rewarding,” says COO Mike Bowker, who notes the company recently streamlined residential internet service plans and pricing based on customer input.
“We want our customers to know that our rebrand is not simply about a new name and look—it means we are continuing to evolve with those we serve by offering innovative options to fit their needs while providing helpful, proactive and personal local service,” he adds.
As Sparklight has evolved from a traditional cable company to a full-service provider that connects customers to the things they care about—family, work, entertainment and community—customer service has remained front and center, and in recent months has focused on three key areas: reducing customer effort, enhancing first contact resolution and improving the customer experience.
“Customer effort looks at how easy is it to do business with us,” Bowker says. “To be more customer-centric in this area, we made changes to our IVR and launched a brand new customer portal, making it easier for our customers to get information they need, when they need it.” Additionally, the team has “been reviewing our workflows through the lens of the customer and making changes to enhance the customer experience. Our associates are engaged with their performance results through dashboards and monthly review sessions,” he says.
Service success at Sparklight begins at home—both literally and figuratively. “Customer service starts from within. We believe that happy associates make happy customers,” Bowker says. “When our associates are engaged, it’s reflected in their customer interactions. Our company culture is one of mutual respect. In addition to providing competitive benefits, we survey our associates monthly to get a sense of how they are feeling about the organization and their role in it. We believe strongly in our open door policy and welcome and encourage on-going feedback and input from associates.”
From there, engagement trickles out to the community, one customer at a time—a gesture that continues to bolster customer retention. “Our associates live in the communities we serve and are personally invested in providing the best customer service, and in caring for their communities through volunteer efforts,” Bowker says.
By way of example, he points to the Sioux City CSR team, which recently proactively called customers to ensure their services were working well, find out if they had any questions or concerns about their service, and thank them for their business. “Our customers have let us know through the in-market monthly surveys we conduct that they appreciate this kind of personal service from their local provider,” Bowker notes.
When it comes to acquiring new customers, “we strive to meet customers where they are,” he adds. “Offering our customers choice is a big part of that. New customers, for instance, can choose to order service online and select a self-install kit, or they can call in and schedule a technician to install service at their residence.”
As the company continues to grow—this spring it acquired Fidelity Communications for $525.9 million on the heels of its $735 million NewWave Communications purchase—customer support is more important than ever. Sparklight associates are available to customers 24/7, with tech support available online and over the phone and sales execs available to assist prospective customers over the phone as well as via web chat. “We also engage with our customers and potential customers via social media, and we have local offices in the majority of our markets for those who prefer in-person interactions,” he says.
– Cathy Applefeld Olson