I read an interesting article that was sent to me from Chris Hagenow, one of our group members and an avowed St. Louis Cardinals fan (I don’t hold that against him). He came across the article link on the Cardinals’ website, of all places. It seems that Charter Communications, the local cable company in the St. Louis region, has gotten so bad at serving customers – the Better Business Bureau issued a warning to consumers! (Why do the Cardinals care? Well, it seems their fans are having a hard time with service interruptions during games!).
From the article:
Customers complain about Charter subcontracting out much of its work.
Consumers say the company acts like it doesn’t keep records of
conversations because each representative in turn gives a different
Charter says it has 10 call centers in the United States, plus others
in Mexico, Canada and the Philippines. Spokeswoman Anita Lamont says
Charter has improved service in the past six months. "We’re certainly
trying to make it better."
One of the things we’ve learned through years of doing customer satisfaction research, is that perception always lags reality in the customers mind. Once you’ve angered your customers, you’ve got a long road to hoe. If a customer has a bad experience this morning, it doesn’t matter if, or how much, you improve service this afternoon. It will take months/years and multiple positive experiences to turn that frustrated customer back into a satisfied customer, and even longer to turn them into someone who is willing to recommend your business. By then, the net bad word-of-mouth far exceeds the positive word-of-mouth. It’s a tough position to be in, and a costly position from which to recover.
What’s Charter going to do? They’re already behind the eight ball. Good luck to ’em – they’ve got a ton of work to do if they truly care about their customers.
We’ve recently been working with a different cable company in another part of the country who have a commitment to giving great service to their customers. Instead of waiting until they’ve got the BBB breathing down their necks, they have taken the long-term approach of working hard, investing in their people and making their service a key part of differentiating themselves from the competition. Delivering great service isn’t cheap – but it’s a good investment. It’s definitely a better investment than the one Charter is going to have to make to recover from their position.
Are you making an investment in your service delivery?