Avoiding the ‘cable-guy problem;’ customer service as differentiator
(First in an ongoing series of articles focused on how the telecom industry is addressing customer service.)
Communication is step one in taking cable, telco providers out of the red in customer service
Yuval Brisker, president and CEO of TOA Technologies, co-founded his Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company in 2003 with the goal of ridding the world of the ‘cable guy problem.’ He was tired of the all-too-common scenario of a consumer waiting at home for hours on end for a service technician to arrive. Yet, as telecom service providers ramp up their IPTV offerings, they have not proven themselves to be immune from the cable pandemic of poor customer service.
TOA is trying to change this for both industry sectors with its predictive technology for field service providers in the last mile. The software lets customers know when the technician will arrive down to the hour, rather than the standard four-to-eight hour window. To date, the company primarily works with cable companies. Its latest customer win, Cox Communications, will equip its entire field service organization with TOA’s ETAdirect product. The vendor’s customer list now includes five of the top 10 cable companies using this software in the US as well as some large cable operators and a few telcos in Europe. While cablecos are the primary customer today, the service is applicable to IPTV providers that often require eight hours for set-up alone, not to mention the wait on their arrival.
“Every consumer in the country knows what it means to sit at home and wait for hours and not know when the appointment is going to happen – whether it’s delivery of a sofa or air conditioner or obviously a cable or telephone appointment,” Brisker said. “We set out to solve the problem by creating a predictive technology that would track what the people do in the field on a daily basis – really down to understanding how long things take to do and using that information to predict how long things will take them to do in the future. We create a predictive environment to predict how long things would take and then bring the telephony into it.”
The telephony system communicates the expected arrival time to a customer through automated outbound interactive voice response (IVR) technology. Brisker said that the system can predict down to the hour with 96% accuracy, letting consumers decide if they want to hang around and wait, cancel their appointment or reschedule.
“We give them the freedom and choice to not have to wait at home all day and make changes on the fly if they need to move the original appointment time,” Brisker said. “They can actually make changes through the IVR system to their appointment. We’re really enhancing their experience using two-way interactive communication to bring them into the loop of the appointment – not keeping them as the final recipient of the event, but making them a real participant in the whole activity, in the scheduling and management of employees.”
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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