Clearing Subs’ Self-Installation Hurdles

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Nights, weekends and holiday gift-giving occasions: These are the times customers are most likely to attempt self-installation of the equipment and software needed to enjoy high-speed Internet connections, place Internet telephony-based calls and digitally record their favorite TV shows.

And these are the times customers are most likely to request technical support from their cable and broadband service providers when they run into trouble.

So it’s not so surprising that these are also the times when customer-service representatives are most likely at a premium.

For the executives tasked with managing customer and technical-support operations, there’s good news. The most efficient and cost-effective solution doesn’t entail opening new contact centers or hiring and training additional agents. In fact, the best approach may be expanding or introducing the use of self-service systems that respond in real-time to customer inquiries and deliver the appropriate level of support.

Automated applications are less expensive to deploy, scale more easily and deliver a consistent and user-friendly experience even for information that often times is highly technical.

Here’s a look at how customer-focused MSOs can deliver top-notch service-on-demand care through existing channels.

ON THE TV

Utilizing the same systems that allow customers to watch the latest video-on-demand titles, operators can transmit a full range of video tutorials. Developed in coordination with the hardware manufacturer, these videos include step-by-step, model-specific directions. Voice instruction, complemented by actual footage of the specific product being installed, enables customers to make the connections necessary for proper setup and operation of their new equipment.

Miss something? Need to troubleshoot a problem or stop to take a phone call? Just as you would when watching a regular VOD movie, you can pause, rewind and fast-forward the action.

Need to support alternative languages, for example? Since a visible narrator for these videos isn’t necessary, the simple addition of multiple audio tracks would do the trick. The approach is much simpler than attempting to provide technical support in multiple languages around the clock out of your contact centers.

ON THE TELEPHONE

Deploying advanced speech recognition (ASR) systems with speech-to-text capabilities, operators can deliver telephone-based support. The automated application accesses the step-by-step, product-specific installation directions or troubleshooting procedures it needs from a centralized database and reads them aloud to the customer.

Navigating the system is easy for the caller. Instead of listening to a long series of menus (e.g. Press 1 for Manufacturer A, Product 1; Press 2 for Manufacturer A, Product 2; and so on), the customer simply speaks the product model number or enters it on the telephone keypad.

The ASR system retrieves the relevant data files and asks the customer for additional guidance: “Initial installation? Installation troubleshooting?”

As with the TV-based service, information can be paused, repeated or advanced. And because easy-to-produce text documents serve as the source files, the ability to deliver multilingual support is a mere translation away.

Most consumers today are accustomed to visiting vendor Web sites to check their account balances, make payments or learn more about new products and services.

ON THE WEB

Building on this familiarity, MSOs can encourage greater use of online technical resources, all of which can easily be translated for multilingual support requirements.

Web sites can assist customers by featuring:

  • Digitized video clips and photographs outlining installation processes;
  • Searchable step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting tips and answers to frequently asked questions; and
  • Links to service-related software and hardware-specific firmware updates.

As operators unveil new services to drive revenue growth, the delivery of top-notch customer and technical support plays a critical role in ensuring uptake and keeping subscribers satisfied and loyal.

By making easy-to-understand support resources available to the customer in multiple easy-to-access-and-use channels, operators both lower their support costs and differentiate their offerings in an ever-increasing competitive marketplace.

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