Customer billing and care systems have always been able to tap into cable subscribers' account information, but CSG Systems Inc. said it has software that can also tap into subscribers' minds.
An extension to CSG's Advanced Customer Service Representative graphic user interface software for customer-service representatives, ProfitNow! applies a slew of "if-then" computing algorithms to raw account data and customer-caller responses. It then predicts how likely customers are to churn from a service, or how likely they are to sign up for added services.
The customer-service representative can then take steps to head off the customer disconnect or upsell added services.
In contrast to other analytical data providers out there, CSG's ProfitNow! system can provide scores for each subscriber, rather than simply sampling groups of customers, said Meri Christenson, ProfitNow! senior product manager.
On the upsell side, ProfitNow! can predict whether a customer is likely to take additional products or services and what the potential net profit would be. The big advantage is the CSRs, who are under pressure to process calls quickly.
"It really just helps them speed through their calls and offer the right thing the first time," Christenson said.
But it doesn't just stop at predicting customer interest, according to Richard Wolniewicz, vice president of CSG Analytics.
"Also, we think about things like, 'If they were to take an offer, would they keep it very long?' " he noted. "Package churn, of course, is a big issue, and upgrading someone to a premium service like [Home Box Office] and having them churn off of it in two months because they were disillusioned with it is a big cost to a carrier."
In the U.S., Time Warner Cable is using ProfitNow! is its Palm Springs, Calif. and Houston systems. A second, unnamed MSO is also using the product, Christenson said.
While the anti-churn aspects of the product might have initially lured cable customers, it's the upsell predictors have gained the most attention these days, Christenson noted.
"I think it was the churn hook that got them, and then after using the product, they found that the increase in revenues that they were seeing based on the profitability predictions was what intrigued them more," Christenson said.