(One Question, four parts)
A local cable company, Zeron, has had a monopoly on cable services in the County. As a result, the number of customers has grown significantly. In order to keep up with the high call volumes, Zeron has outsourced several agent and customer service positions. There has been a high level of customer complaints over the past few years, both to the company and to the Public Service Commission, which oversees the cable company. In the past decade, without any competition for cable services, Zeron has chosen to do little or nothing to reduce the complaints or attempted to correct the causes of the complaints. The areas with the highest percent of complaints include: long hold times, complaints about the customer service agents (apathetic, unprofessional, unresponsive, and not knowledgeable), inaccurate billing and extra fees, failing to meet scheduled appointments, service disruptions, and an unacceptable level of complaints not being resolved on first call. See below for examples of common complaints submitted.
There have been many articles written in the local papers and discussed by the media that Zeron’s employees– the customer service agents, technical staff, field staff and even management– have failed in meeting the needs of their customers. Staff absenteeism has grown and the annual employee satisfaction survey has shown that employee morale and job satisfaction are at all time lows. Additionally, a recent customer service survey of all public service providers in the county ranked Zeron last with an average score of 2.2 on a scale of 5 in overall customer service.
Recently the Public Service Commission approved two new cable providers for the county and they have started making deep cuts into Zeron’s market share. In fact, the competitors’ marketing and advertising has focused on excellent customer service and exceeding customer expectations. The company has requested assistance from your consulting firm to help it improve its service quality and, therefore, stop the loss of its customer base and possibly win back some of its lost customers.
Support and be specific in your responses.
What specific actions would you take to improve Zeron’s service structure and its overall level of service?
What step-by-step approach would you recommend in creating a customer-centric culture throughout Zeron?
Utilizing the criteria for Category 3.1 and 3.2 (b) of Baldrige, what actions would you take to build better customer support and customer relationship management (CRM).
What specific actions would you take to improve the overall morale, sprit of service and commitment of Zeron’s employees?
Common Zeron Complaints
1. I put in a service call on April 17. Today is April 20 and I have not had any service for phone, cable and internet. I have called and I got different answers of why I have no service by three different service agents. I know that I am just one customer and I will no longer be a customer. Thank you for the worst service award.
2. Late for Service Calls: Zeron scheduled a service tech to my address on Thursday, 29 March, between 07:30 AM and 08:30 AM. The service tech was an hour and a half late and didn’t install the additional line in a back bedroom that was requested on the initial work order that I placed. No one called to advise me that the service rep would be an hour and a half late. I had to contact Zeron to inquire as to what happened and why the service tech was not on time. This lateness by techs is typical and unacceptable.
3. Outages happen but Zeron’s dismal failure to quickly update its messge service about the outage just magnifies the problem. A quick message at 1-800-ZeronCC acknowledging a problem ensures customers that they are working on it. It took them 34 minutes to answer my call. I think Zeron owes customers prompt service. We understand outages happen but not sloppy customer service.
4. I noticed an increase in my bill, called to inquire and was told that an increase was due for that month and beyond. I stated that I wanted to reduce my service and avoid any higher monthly cost. I was placed on hold, transferred from one to another representative, placed on hold again. After about thirty minutes, I called again, was placed on hold (ignored) again. After more than an hour and twenty minutes on the phone (holding), I never received any satisfaction. Zeron has earned a notorious reputation for disrespect and disregard for their customers.