Posts Tagged ‘ wide open west ’

Customer Service is Back!

…and companies like Wide Open West are leading the way.

Have you received the personal cell phone number of a Comcast service rep lately? Have you called AT&T service lately, where the very friendly customer service rep concludes each call with, “I would just like to make sure, before we hang up, that you’ve been extremely satisfied with the level of service I’ve provided.”? Have you issued a brand complaint online, only to have it quickly addressed by a customer service rep on Twitter?

Times are changing…and for the better, it would seem.

For years, the monopolistic monoliths have gained a reputation for treating their customers like numbers…nuisances, even. Poor service, bad attitudes, lack of issue resolution. This is all presuming you had the good fortune to navigate through the automated prompts by either saying or pressing 1 now, only to talk to a real live person 20 minutes into your service call.

But two things have changed:

1.) Social media has changed the customer service landscape, as what were once private service calls can quickly escalate into very public disputes.

2.) Companies like WOW have raised the customer service bar, and their legacy competitors have no choice but to follow suit.

I recently switched cable television providers. Unhappy with extremely poor customer “service” I’ve received for 20 years from what was once the only game in town, I finally got the opportunity to make the switch to a provider who would treat me with respect, urgency and interest—none of which did I ever feel was the case with my former provider.

It was a different experience from day one. I received the personal cell phone number of sales rep, who indicated right away that she would also be my service rep. She told me to call hernot an anonymous toll-free touchtone labrynth—if I were to have any questions or issues whatsoever. (I’ve already tried this out, and the conversation has been direct, instant and personal. When’s the last time you said that about a service provider?)

Once I signed on, I was not forgotten. I received this hand-addressed, hand-written thank-you note from my personal service rep at WOW:

When’s the last time your cable provider did that?

What’s nice is that it seems that the larger companies, who for years have been basking in the comfort of their own monopolies, are starting to embrace this more personalized approach to customer service. For me, though, 20 months of trying harder does not make up for 20 years of bad road. I’m going to give the new game in town a shot; the old game had plenty of chances.

Because if it weren’t for social media, or companies like WOW raising everyone else’s game, does anyone honestly believe these companies would be changing at all? See: your electricity provider.

Doubt it.