Fidelity Exec Urges: Put Customers First

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Boston-Cable companies should pay close attention to meeting their customers' demands for choice, convenience and price or risk losing them to third-party aggregators, Fidelity Personal Investments president Gail McGovern said last Tuesday in her address at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing's CTAM Summit here.

McGovern, a former AT & T Corp. marketing executive, noted that several Web-based companies, including Essential.com Inc. and GetConnected Inc., allow consumers to negotiate low prices for services including Internet access, satellite television and utilities.

Fidelity has initiated a number of consumer marketing activities that cable operators can also adopt, including customer-friendly Web sites where investors can conduct transactions.

In attempting to move frequent callers over to the Web, "our customers ended up educating us," McGovern noted. "We learned that we needed to improve our site." The company also learned that "age has absolutely nothing to do with who's using the Web," she added.

McGovern said the cable and financial-services markets have common elements. Both industries are highly regulated, both face increasing competition, both are undergoing rapid technological change and both deliver products and services "that customers care enormously about."

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