Here's an Idea. What if you actually notified a customer before, or even at least, after the fact that a field technician stopped by your house to cut your cable and slap an audit tag on it leaving you without TV, Phone and Internet service. A notice in the mailbox, a tag on the doorknob, a courtesy phone call. . .
Oh wait, I have another one. How about training your "techs"? You know, actually teaching them simple skills like how to follow a cable in the light of day to determine where it goes? I could run that class for Cablevision. I did it in the dark with a flashlight. It's actually quite easy once you know what to look for. You start at the first end of the cable you can find and follow it with your eyes until you reach the other end. I know it's a little tricky, the "following" part i mean, but if a guy can learn to use a pair of snips, he can surely master the art of sight. Which makes me think of one question... How DO blind people drive those service trucks anyway? Nevermind, I bet you use GPS or something else "Hi-Tech". Wonders never cease.
Hey, I just thought of another one. Now try to follow along. Cablevision is a business. A business with customers...
n. 1.One that buys goods or services.
2. An individual with whom one must deal
---END OF LESSON---
ok back to my idea. it has to do with customers and a concept that has been floating around for awhile.
"C U S T O M E R - S E R V I C E"
You see how we added another word there. That new word is service...
SERVICE: an act of helpful activity.
to repair or maintain.
to supply goods or services to.
Funny word to have so many definitions. I only listed 3, but these 3 will be really helpful as we sketch out this last idea. I am pretty sure that the "supply of goods and services" is the nature of Cablevision's business. A good "model" if I may say so. I congratulate you. It has worked for many other companies as well.
Alas, however, this is only one facet of the complex world of service. You supply, but you also must repair and maintain that which you supply. Phew! Confusing isn't it. And a bit cumbersome too I bet. Yet this "Act of helpful activity" actually benefits all parties involved. You, as the supplier and someone like me, the Consumer. Oops, new word. Think of it as the supply-ee. You know one those whose money keeps your business afloat.
See, cutting off the consumer by accident... well that's BAD. Bad for business. Cutting them off deliberately? VERY BAD. Cutting them off deliberately albeit by mistake? BAD and gives the appearance of incompetence. Notice a pattern? All of the previous examples end in BAD. But all is not lost. Here is where we can introduce that "Customer-Service" concept we talked about earlier.
manager: How are things going today?
underling: Not good Boss. One of our blind, untrained technicians cut off a customer today.
manager: Does the customer know why they lost service?!?!?!
underling: They didn't at first. And neither did we. They actually called for repair service and since we have no clue we couldnt help them, so the customer discovered the cut line on his own.
manager: That could be bad for business. Send someone over to fix that right away.
underling: But it's after 8:00 PM
manager: First thing in the morning then.
underling: Well boss, thats the problem. No one is available to do appointments for a week and a half.
manager: Can we talk the client into staying home from work and waiting all day for a random tech to stop by? Maybe one of the blind guys?
underling: But the client would lose a days wages.
manager: aha. Thats why I am the boss and you are a... umm... you are not. We offer the client a credit for the lost day of service.
underling: (GASP) but that could amount to four dollars ($4 U.S.)
manager: yes, painful as it is, but you do what you gotta do.
NOTE: The use of a Manager in this example is purely ficticious. It is not known at this time if Cablevision actually employs any Managers at all but it does make use of automated systems and even some humans who aspire to be one day become robots. It is also worth noting that the Customer mentioned was not satisfied and suffered from a loss of confidence in his provider.
EXAMPLE WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE:
Tom the manager: Jim! One of our field technicians mistakenly cut off a customer today. (Notice how the manager is already aware of the problem)
Jim the customer service rep: Yes Tom, I know. A complete misunderstanding, but the customer was notified immediately and informed that although it's late, someone would be by first thing in the morning tomorrow to fix it since it was our mistake. It wasnt possible to talk to the customer about it beforehand and they got pretty angry so I apologized profusely and explained in detail exactly what happened and why. I also took steps to ensure the tech is fully informed about the situation so no need for the customer to stay home from work. I didn't want to inconvenience them further. They were relieved about that.
Tom the manager: Good work Jim, nice save. You keep this up, we'll never have to worry about losing customers to Verizon and the like.
NOTE: This example is a work of fiction. Comparable to such well known titles as The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Star Wars and The Wizard Of Oz. It’s use is purely for instructional purposes to demonstrate implementation of “Customer Service” in an environment where one has a customer or customers and offers service as defined... Well, you get the picture.
I hope Cablevision finds these ideas informative and helpful. They have worked for me and I share them with you freely, sort of my way of giving back to the community in gratitude of my success. I have spent a great deal of time educating myself and researching the concept of “Customer service”. As a Project Manager I have experience in Business Operations, Productivity, Overhead Recovery, Risk Management etc, etc, oh yeah, and Customer Service and Expectation. On a daily basis I deal with scheduling of personel and equipment, materials, subcontractors and vendors, job specs... and customer service. Job costing, customer service, overages, customer service, loss control, customer service.
My credentials Include:
- 40 years of experience as a member of society interacting with many of its other members
- Over 25 years as a consumer purchasing goods and services from high profile companies. Including McDonalds, Disney, Sony, General Mills, Sears and Exxon.
- Several years serving Cablevision as a Sub Contractor in Grounds Maintenance and Snow Removal Operations for it’s facilities in Nassau and Suffolk County. Including the Headquarters in Bethpage where Mr. Dolan lands in his helicopter and needs a clear path from the Heliport to the Building Entrance so that when he gets in and out of the car that drives him 300 feet from the chopper to the door he doesnt have to face the fact that it had actually snowed, stepping on even one flake of the white stuff. ..
You know, this has me thinking again.....
Geez, I hate to get side tracked, but picture for a moment , a “Cable Tech” going to the residence of Jim Dolan unannounced and cutting off the cable service simply because he didn’t understand Cablevision’s own wiring at that house and putting an Audit tag on it.
Now putting aside any concern for that Tech’s future employment at Cablevision and his ability to support his family in the future, imagine Mr. Dolan as he realizes he has no cable TV, no Internet connection and no phone service. Imagine Mr Dolan as he realizes why he has lost those services.
But what I am really trying to envision are his reactions as he is informed that his service can’t be restored for over a week, unless of course he is willing to put his life on hold for a day to wait for a Tech to stop by at some point the following day, between 10AM and 8PM of course. Of course he would also have to sacrifice one day’s worth of his annual earnings. Reportedly in 2001, Mr. Dolan earned:
SALARY + BONUS : $2.975 million
It would only cost him about $8150.00 to have his service restored by his own company after it was mistakenly cut off by his own company.
I would want that caught on video and formatted as a reality program. I would pay extra if it was offered as a channel. 24 hours of “Doing Dolan”. Or Cablevision’s Bloops and Blunders. Episodes could include the blind techs cutting service lines and the automated phone “tech” that, while talking customers through troubleshooting, informs them that while they disconnect their main coaxial cable, their TV may not work.
Or my personal favorite, the phone rep who offered me a glimmer of hope. After offering me a $4.00 rebate, she told me of a Quota system whereby she could request, via email, to send a tech to my house the following morning but that it could take several hours to get a reply. She wanted to know if it was ok to call me back on my home phone. Remember that one, the one that wasn’t working because they cut it off, the phone I was calling to have reconnected
You see how one Idea leads to another. Now I am offering programming suggestions. I better close before I rewrite the book. Good luck to Cablevision and once again I congratulate you on your success in the industry.