New Cox Business Ads Promise Satisfaction

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To promote the reliability of its new high-speed-data network, Cox Business Services last week began offering a 30-day satisfaction guarantee for new commercial customers that sign long-term agreements.

Cox Communications Inc.'s commercial unit — which broke newspaper and radio ads touting the guarantee last Monday — will follow up with direct-mail appeals to targeted businesses starting this week, said marketing communications manager Betty Jo Roberts.

Cox is aiming for companies with three or more employees in those segments it's identified as more likely to purchase broadband. Companies that already use a dial-up service — and reside beyond the reach of digital subscriber lines — are often good prospects, Roberts noted.

The promotion will run in every market where Cox offers commercial Internet access. Local systems can add their own "sweeteners" to the deal, Roberts said.

In Orange County, Calif., for example, the operator will offer free installation for qualified business accounts. Other markets will promote a free first month of service with a long-term contract.

Roberts said she doesn't expect many customers to demand a refund, but those who do will both get their money back and be freed from their contracts with no questions asked. The company will conduct fact-finding to determine the issues that might affect satisfaction levels, she said.

The guarantee promotion, which runs through May 10, is the first Cox Business campaign involving Periscope, the company's new ad agency. The Minneapolis shop was involved in all aspects of the effort, from strategy to media buying.

It's also the first major ad campaign Cox Business has run since it moved from the now-defunct At Home Corp. cable-modem platform to its own high-speed network.

Most existing Cox Business customers did not have to switch to new electronic-mail addresses following the transition. Many commercial accounts used vanity e-mail domains, and Cox had handled services for its business customers even before the switch from @Home.

Cox notified business clients about the transition via direct mail, e-mail, telephone messages and its Web site (www.coxbusiness.com). To thank customers who took the steps needed to access the new network, Cox gave each business the opportunity to register for a $75 online gift certificate, good at any Web site where MasterCard is accepted.

"We've had a 78 percent activation rate on those certificates," Roberts said. Customers have until April 1 to register them, she added.

Though the new ad campaign is exclusive to the company's high-speed Internet service, Cox Business also markets digital telephony and video service in most of the MSO's commercial markets.

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