Customer service catastrophe in cable TV

This client had given its precious name to a merger of the two most-hated cable incumbents and started with at an NPS score of minus 35. Unless they could make things better fast, their entire brand could be tarnished. But what did people really want from TV and broadband companies? What were the core drivers of satisfaction in this unhappy sector?

In a mega-competitive, high-churn sector like UK telecoms during this period, where the barriers to switching are low, things happen fast. Once you start to lose share, it’s hard to stop. In its other markets, this brand scored superbly with customers, so expectations were high. And though its new cable customers had not yet had chance to form an opinion, it wouldn’t take long.

Finding the core drivers of satisfaction 

We swept through 100 in-depth interviews in the client company, from operations, call centres and billing through to sales, marketing and finance. We wanted to understand the mechanics of the business, pinpoint the customer crunch points, and decide what NPS should be measuring. In establishing dialogue with so many people we were simoultaneously able to explain the benefits of NPS and start to gain buy-in for it, shaving months off the schedule.

Gather NPS evidence to build business case

Unbelievably, one of the company’s (not insignificant) revenue streams came from a premium rate 0845 number that customers had to use to report a fault or problem with their cable service. This paid-for helpline was single-handedly responsible for creating huge numbers of detractors. Understandably however the finance department was reluctant to lose it. We used NPS data to:

  • Gather evidence of widespread dissatisfaction
  • Quantify the damage of detraction and defection in financial terms
  • Show the value of lost customers dwarfed the value of the revenue.

The finance team agreed to get rid of the paid-for service line. Therein lies the core value of NPS: it helps people make the right decisions for the right reasons.

Establish a baseline

We designed a 6-month pilot NPS learning phase programme based on the customer journey: sales, connection, billing, service, fault reporting and churn. We included 90% of touchpoints in our scope but, importantly, created a simple dashboard to report results instantaneously to the business. Initial scores were rock-bottom of course, but we had established a baseline and we’d shown NPS was easy to use, understand with instant and engaging output. With clear and actionable results, the only way, literally, was up. The question was how quickly.

After 18 months, the client had taken its NPS score from minus 35 into positive territory. Its brand reputation was unharmed, even strengthened. A dramatic turnaround for customers clearly linked to churn, cross-sales and other financial measures. In those first months, Futurelab had rapidly transferred its NPS expertise into the client, enabling them to take it forward; the client would go on to link NPS to compensation and bonuses.

If you have a reputation at risk today, let’s talk urgently about how NPS can help.



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