New York -- Five weeks into the job, AT&T Broadband chief operating
officer Ron Cooper said he was pleasantly surprised about the strides his new
employer has made in cable telephony and in integrating former MediaOne Group
Inc. and Tele-Communications Inc. cable properties, but he was less sanguine
about customer service.
'Both [AT&T Broadband CEO] Bill [Schleyer] and I were disappointed to
learn that customer-service levels were not where we would like them to be,'
Cooper said at the UBS Warburg LLC Media Week conference here Tuesday.
Cooper joined AT&T Broadband in October along with other former MediaOne
and Continental Cablevision Inc. executives Schleyer and chief technology
officer David Fellows.
Cooper said customer service will be improved by improving training programs,
bringing outsourced functions in-house and expanding online customer care --
currently used solely for high-speed-data customers -- to include video and
telephony subscribers, too.
'Picking up customer calls in 30 seconds is important, but not if you can't
achieve first-call resolution,' he added.
Another neglected aspect of the business, plant rebuilds, will accelerate in
2002, he said.
'Upgraded homes drive RGU [revenue-generating units] growth,' Cooper said.
'We had taken our eye off the ball.'
Other AT&T Broadband initiatives, like bringing cash-flow margins up to
industry levels by 2003, are on track.
'We will exit 2003 in much better shape,' he said.
Cooper deflected questions about the possible fate of AT&T Broadband to
Schleyer, AT&T Corp. chairman C. Michael Armstrong and AT&T chief
financial officer Chuck Noski.
Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and AOL Time Warner Inc. have
reportedly made bids for the unit.
Armstrong has said in the past that AT&T will decide whether to sell
partner with another company or keep the cable unit independent before the end
of the year.
'My focus is on operations,' Cooper said.