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Time for Reflection

Posted on : 02-05-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Comcast, Customer Service

Tags: ,

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The past few days I have taken a true vacation from work and it feels good!  Not that I do not miss my team or being engaged, but we all do need a rest at times.  Since we began the digital care initiative at Comcast I have worked 7 days a week and all hours of each day.  But now we are at a time where this effort, and the ability of my team is now shining.  I am so proud of each of them.  Through these efforts we have been in numerous media publications, such as:

NY Time – Griping Online? Comcast Hears and Talks Back

ABC News – Still on Hold? Twitter Can Rescue You From Customer Service Line Waits

Business Week – Comcast’s Twitter Man

I realized a few weeks ago that we have really changed the entire Customer Service industry.  It is amazing.  I have received emails and had calls with many companies as they work to replicate what we have done.  But what is it we really accomplished?  Based on feedback from our followers on Twitter we have really made Customer Service more personal again.  Customer Service started to shift to a “self service” model in the `1990′s.  This was great for companies to reduce costs but it did take away from the personal connection that happened when you knew the person you were meeting with, or the personal conversation on the phone.  Around the same time companies shifted to measuring things like handle time, schedule adherence and other numbers that did not reflect the intent of service.

Today best in class companies are measuring things like Customer Satisfaction and first contact resolution.  This is what service is about.  Handle time is good for broader measurement for planning purposes but it is not appropriate at the agent level.  It brings the wrong focus by the agent.

What else have we learned?  Customers, just like most Customer Service agents, are craving real time, unedited information.  If something is wrong they really want to know what it is, what is being done and when it will be back.  We are working to create that environment at Comcast.

A year ago I was presenting to many people from our communications team.  I made the mistake to say that part of the success was that I was not one of them.  But really in this new world order, marketing, public relations and Customer Service are really becoming one.  It is all about talking with, but not at, Customers.  So yes, I admit, I was wrong (but please do not tell my wife!).  This has been a learning process that you have to learn from every interaction, whether it is to many or more one on one.

We have done so much in a short period of time, but I can not help but think what is next?  At Comcast Rick Germano and his team have been working very hard to improve the Customer experience.  The senior leadership staff revamped the corporate credo to ensure everyone was working on the goal of creating the right experience.  It is not something that will happen overnight, but will happen.  I am proud of what we accomplished up until now but I look forward to achieving all our goals.

But beyond Comcast, how can we further improve the Customer Service industry?  What are the next big tasks to tackle? Where do you see Customer Service industry going?

Now it is time to get ready to go to @ComcastBill‘s wedding!