Time Warner Cable’s recent announcement it will begin a new advertising campaign to entice consumers to return from defection, while retaining existing customers, define Cable TV Industry perceptions. It seems the cable TV company along with business counterparts keeps thinking in the past to define their future. It’s not clear whether Time Warner Cable used focus groups to gather consumer data in what is wrong with customer retention, or if they used in-house marketing to conclude those consumer sentiments. From a business aspect it misses the mark. See (Time Warner Cable Tries to Win Back Ex-Subscribers)
The Cable Business of Top-Down Selling
One would think the cable industry should have figured out that top-down selling is not an ingratiating tactic for consumer satisfaction long ago. With large call-centers and CSR’s (customer service representatives) armed with strong-arm selling tactics, consumers are befuddled with cable TV packages which favor hefty priced tags with little or no choice for scaled down versions. Consumers choosing lower priced TV packages are summarily penalized with little or insignificant discounts.
The premise being used in well-known “boiler-room” tactics include offering 6-month discounts on top packages where consumers receive a “Taser” like shock as the promotion ends. This type business tactic is systemic throughout the industry including satellite TV offerings. Direct TV goes a step further by adding a 2-year contract supposedly due to the high cost of hardware installation. To believe these type sales policies are consumer friendly is draconian, for use of a better word.
Add STB’s for Ancillary Revenue Generation
Let’s not forget the infamous STB, (set-top-box) promoted as the latest in technology yet offering little more than friendly functionality to find programming, missing newer technology coming in mobile broadband innovations. In reality, the hardware is no more than an ancillary revenue generator adding lucrative revenue from consumer priced packaging. Since being required on every individual TV, resulting recurring monthly revenues can be substantial for cable companies.
Cable TV businesses believe TV Everywhere, their online version of cable, is a serious consumer retention tool, yet is actually akin to giving a giving a 1% gratuity to a waitress on a $500.00 restaurant tab serving 10 customers. While the service adds mobile functionality to cable TV customers who already have an existing cable TV package, it does little to off-set the monthly fees which actually determine consumer satisfaction. Their all or nothing bundles, priced accordingly, should be the primary focus of industry executive metrics, if any hope of changing consumer sentiment is a serious initiative.
Customer Service Guarantee
The service guarantee as a tool for customer satisfaction has been around a long time and is being over-used as retention tool, living long past its usefulness. First, consumers do not believe in the concept. A 2-hour window vs. a 4-hour window of appointments does little to address the fundamental business problems. Even when a technician meets the deadline they can rarely use the technical expertise required to ensure 21st Century technological usability. In essence, consumers must call-back to get assistance with problems which should not exist after the visit.
Cable TV as a Defeating Acronym
The cable industries use of “Cable TV” (Cable Television) as an acronym to define their business is incomprehensible. The acronym is completely outdated serving only to remind the consumer of horrible customer service abuses engrained for decades. Executives holding on unsavory references to their business should run from those perceptions immediately, to rename, and redefine old stigmas into a more mainstream competitive description. The same applies with outdated marketing efforts which use guarantees that do nothing more than promote internal tunnel-vision.
Using Generation Y to Transform Industry
Defining cable TV as a mature market, industry executives should throw out outdated marketing concepts, and take a realistic look at how to re-define a clear vision. Self-actualization, reflection, collaboration, and forward thinking should be top priorities. Cable business executives should empower Generation Y to define the future. That is, hire plenty of this generation and listen to them carefully. Mentor and promote these contributors to bring out their transforming power in teamwork and collaboration to move sales and retention forward. If not, the Cable Industry will continue to (get it wrong again).
Image via Hollywood Reporter