In today’s fast-paced, digital-reliant society, customers increasingly seek options to gain information and interact with companies on their time and in their own ways. The self-service movement has rapidly grown from a no-frills option for the budget-minded to a preferred way of doing business for a rapidly growing number of consumers. Today, these options have expanded to include everything from booking and checking out of a hotel room and do-it-yourself dog grooming to purchasing an iPhone from a kiosk.
Always looking at ways to improve the customer experience, Comcast has developed tools to empower our customers to interact with the company, wherever and however they want. Our self-service options include an interactive website offering opportunities to pay bills online, order services, schedule online appointments or order self-installation kits for video, data and phone services.
The level of self-service engagement is encouraging, underscoring the clear value and increased satisfaction delivered to customers. Nationally, 31% of Comcast customers manage their accounts online. Further, the company saw 37% growth in online transactions last year. Self-installations comprised 40% of Comcast’s total installation tally in the second quarter of 2013, compared to 28% in the second quarter of 2011. Overall, in 2012, customers needed 4.5 million fewer service appointments and contacted our company 16 million fewer times.
Through direct feedback, we hear daily about the value and convenience of self-service options, and we are working to further improve satisfaction by offering tools that solve problems quickly and easily and help customers more effectively manage their accounts. It’s a many-pronged approach that spans our business and touches everything from downloadable apps and social media to dedicated resources that can be found through our various portals.
For example, as social media changes the way we communicate with one another, businesses have to respond to that evolution. Comcast’s dedicated Digital Media Outreach team uses platforms like forums, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to seek out and help customers online, listen for feedback and answer questions. It’s a powerful communication channel that continues to connect new customers every day, adding to our more than 80,000 followers on Twitter, 4.5 million likes on Facebook and over a million unique views yearly in our online community.
Offering further convenience, we’ve launched a number of apps for mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad and Android devices, which allow customers to remotely manage their Comcast experiences. These apps allow customers to schedule their DVRs, change the channel on their televisions, watch streaming footage from home security cameras, check voicemail and more.
Self-service will not eclipse traditional forms of customer care anytime soon. Plenty of consumers continue to engage with companies—including Comcast— in person, over the phone or through email and live chat. However, in today’s hyper-competitive and ever-swirling business climate, people appreciate getting the help they need on their schedules and are empowered by doing much of it themselves. It’s a proven path to improving the customer experience.
Ricky Frazier is Vice President of Customer Service Operations for Comcast’s Beltway Region, which serves approximately 2 million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and parts of Delaware, North Carolina and West Virginia.