Everyone either cringes or laughs when they consider the track record of the cable companies in delivering customer service. Comedians have named their movies or even their whole persona (Larry the Cable Guy) in salute to the ridiculous nature of cable company customer service. But a funny thing happened to me this past weekend. The cable company did an amazing job delivering customer service to my family, and it was because they enjoy a unique advantage that they are finally beginning to exploit.
Everyone in my house was grumpy this weekend because the Internet service was miserably slow. I was dreading calling Time Warner Cable because I was certain there was going to be some lengthy and unsatisfying engagement that would ultimately result in some poor schnook being dispatched to my house and someone from my household having to deal with an inevitable amount of ineptitude. After their automated system discerned that I was indeed a customer and the nature of my problem was Internet service, I was connected with a pleasant woman in some foreign land.
Within one minute she had confirmed that there was indeed a problem with my modem that would be creating a slow experience on the Internet. She asked me if I had access to my Netgear wireless router that was connected to my Motorola modem. Now, they installed the modem, so it was not a huge surprise that they knew the manufacturer, but I had installed the Netgear router, and their knowledge of it surprised me a bit. She asked me to remove power from the router because she was going to reconfigure the modem to eliminate the problem, and then I should restore power to the router.
Within four minutes of placing my phone call, the person on the other end of the line had solved my problem because she could “see” into my equipment to diagnose and resolve an issue. I probed for what the root cause of the problem was, but the language barrier thwarted my curiosity as she was unable to explain it to me satisfactorily. I was, however, happy that my household was up and running at top speed again. The cable company enjoys a unique advantage in the form of their connection to the customer over their network. Given the ubiquity of the Internet, however, the uniqueness of this situation is going to be replaced by an absolute expectation that the service contractor have this type of visibility into the customer’s situation and a similar ability to resolve many issues without ever dispatching a technician.
The Internet can transform even the hapless cable company into a customer service monster. Any service company that embraces technology to deliver an amazing customer experience will find themselves leading the competition in the not so distant future.