Guest post from Stephen Archut, Product Marketing Manager, IBM Business Analytics
Follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenArchut
My wife and I recently decided to “cut the cord” and cancel our cable service, keeping only internet and telephone. Neither of us are big television junkies so this would be an easy way to save money as our total bill for cable/internet/telephone was more than $200 per month.
I knew this would be a painful experience because we are profitable customers for our provider. We had a bundled (cable/internet/phone) package, and we also had the sports package and a premium channel. Our credit card was on file so our bill was paid on time automatically. We also rarely called for customer or technical service.
I finally placed a call to my provider.
It did not start well. I was on hold for 20 to 25 minutes before finally speaking to a customer service representative. As I explained that I was looking to downgrade my service to just internet/telephone, I wondered if this customer service rep was utilizing a decision management system and what sort of prompts he was receiving about me based on my responses to his questions.
Decision management empowers frontline workers, such as call center agents, and systems to make the right decision each time by combining predictive analytics, business rules, scoring and optimization techniques into an organization’s systems to deliver the best recommended actions.
His immediate response was to ask why we wanted to cancel cable. I gave him my reasons: we don’t fully utilize the service and wanted to save money. “Well,” he said, “if you cancel your cable, your internet and phone will go up to $105.”
“$105!,” I exclaimed, “Perfect, that is half my current bill. Let’s do it.”
After some stammering, and realizing his feeble attempt at a threat had backfired, he regrouped and then offered to throw in another premium channel and lower our bill by a third.
“Not interested,” I said.
This back and forth went on for several minutes and I was getting frustrated to the point of cancelling my service entirely instead of just downgrading my service.
Finally, he offered a 50 percent discount for 12 months on what we were currently paying, which I begrudgingly accepted. And, it was more to just get off the phone with him.
Bottom line: this conversation could have gone much, much smoother and better for the cable provider and any customer if the representative had decision management been in place. Instead, you now had an unhappy customer who wasn’t nearly as profitable.
In this specific scenario, the call center representative would have been able to make notes on my increasing tone of agitation and been prompted to take the most appropriate next best action. In this case, it would have been allowing me to downgrade my service and to not propose any counter-offers.
Retaining customers shouldn’t be the sole goal. Paying $105 per month for internet and a phone line is surely more profitable than discounting my current cable/internet/phone bill by 50 percent.
This goes for any industry that has customer service representatives interacting with customers. The two goals must always be happy customers who are profitable. If my cable provider had downgraded my service, I would have been a happier, more profitable customer.
Instead I’ve told all of my family and friends and have written a blog about it.
For more information:
**Learn more about IBM Analytical Decision Management
**Watch a short demo of IBM Analytical Decision Management