There was a whopper of a storm last night in Phoenix – buckets of rain, roars of thunder, plenty of lightning, and wind that likely toppled many a chaise lounge into a pool.
While storms are not all that unusual in August, which falls in what we refer to in Arizona as the monsoon season, rain here is nonetheless an exciting event for us desert dwellers. So people here, as in most places I guess, tend to get a thrill from watching storms and talking the next day about their impacts.
Last night’s storm knocked out power for 55,000 customers and resulted in the closure of segments of two highways in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
My unit was somehow spared from the outage, although the lights in our hallway are still out this morning, and the electricity in the units in the rest of our building, and the two other buildings in our condo development (as well as several surrounding buildings in central Phoenix), suffered outages. We didn’t get out of this storm scot free, however, as our cable TV and Internet services went out last night and are still down at 9 a.m. today.
That takes us to the discussion about the customer experience part of this discussion.
Clearly, there was a storm that likely impacted a broad swath of people, most of which no doubt own and use cellular devices that are likely still reachable (at least in my case) despite any wireline broadband outages that may have resulted in the area. So why am I as a consumer forced to reach out to my service provider, Cox (News - Alert) Communications, to report the service outages and ask when service is likely to be restored? And why do I have to make two calls: one to the cable TV part of the Cox’s operation, and a separate one to the Internet broadband folks at Cox?
This situation would seem to be the perfect opportunity for Cox to proactively contact me and other subscribers with an email, text message, or even automated phone call, to our cell phones to explain the breadth of the outage and let us know when we can expect services to be restored.
It would also be really great if consumers like me didn’t have to wait on hold for 15 minutes to reach a Cox customer care specialist only to have to do it all over again moments later to have a similar discussion about another of our services with the same company. What about all this multichannel and omnichannel customer service we’ve been hearing about for the past few years? It would seem that a company in the communications arena should be among the first to adopt such solutions.
I actually asked the helpful Cox customer care representative that question this morning, and she said that while some reps can address both cable TV and Internet service calls, she is still awaiting training to allow her to do that. So perhaps it’s simply a training issue rather than a technology one. But as a customer I don’t really care about the backstory, what I’m interested in is getting my service back up as soon as possible and with the least possible effort.
The need to deliver solutions – whether the solution is the product or service itself, or the support around it – that require the least possible customer effort is very important today, which is a time in which consumers are growing increasingly impatient with waiting.
We talked about that in last month’s cover story “The Importance of Reducing Customer Effort – and Maybe Even Choice”, in which MicroAutomation’s (News - Alert) CTO Chad Wright suggested that the No. 1 thing that you can give to customers to keep them coming back is time. And we address that again this month in the Deliver section stories headlined “Amazon’s Dash Button Removes the Friction of Online Ordering” and “Why Consumer Demand for Connected Home Products is on the Decline: And What We Can Do About It.” The importance of saving customers time is also a key imperative in the business-to-business arena, as Content Boost’s Allison Boccamazzo notes this month in her column titled “Don’t Let A Lack of Time Cripple Your Content Marketing Plans.”
Never has it been more important for businesses of all stripes to be proactive in figuring out how to tune their offerings, and the customer service around them, to save customers time – and then to execute on those discoveries.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere