4 Customer Success Lessons Learned from a (Much Improved) Internet Installation

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I’ve been critical of the cable companies many times on this blog but am thrilled that this isn’t one of those posts. After recently moving into a new home, one of my first calls was to AT&T for internet service.

In past experiences, I’ve signed up, typically on the phone with a sales person, and gone through the installation process, only to find that my first bill included a fee that wasn’t expected. Or in another case, my promotional pricing expired resulting in a significant price increase. Never mind the fact that no one ever told me it was promotional pricing in the first place. I’ve since learned that it’s ALWAYS promotional pricing.

Now back to the most recent experience with AT&T. The sign up was about the same as past experiences — but that’s never really been the problem. It’s typically after the sign up. But they did a couple things differently this time around.

The Installer

When the installer arrived at my place, we talked through options on where to locate the equipment. I let him know up front that I’d be working from home, often on video meetings, and wanted to make sure the wireless router would be situated in an optimal location for good connectivity.

This part of the process was also fairly standard. It’s the next step that really impressed me. The installer invited me to download a couple apps on my phone. The first was a speed test app to gauge the quality of the connection. We then went into my home office and confirmed that the quality of connection was sufficient from there.

I also downloaded an app from AT&T and he showed me some basics about managing my router and the devices connected to it. The installer was clearly focussed on maximizing the time while he was on site and making sure everything was working perfectly before he left.

The Customer Success Rep

Before the installer left my home, another person knocked on my door. He was a customer success representative from AT&T. What I witnessed in my living room was an actual handoff, or as we call it in contact centers, a warm transfer from the installer to the customer success representative.

He walked into our house armed with a tablet and his first order of business was to ensure that everything was working properly. He then went over my bill, what I could expect to pay, and when the promotional pricing would go away. And sure enough, my bill has consistently met the expectation set during that conversation.

Finally, he spent some time assessing whether or not I would benefit from moving my cellular service over to AT&T. Yes, it was an up sell — but I was more receptive to his pitch because of the great service and experience provided up to that point.

Lessons Learned

I love lists so here’s a quick list of the learnings from this experience:

  1. Install and serve with a next issue avoidance mentality – I love the fact that the installer checked the quality of connection where I needed it most — potentially avoiding a future call to customer service.
  2. Warm handoff wherever possible – The warm handoff from the installer to customer success in this case was perfect. It ensured that one person picked up right where the other left off with minimal effort on my part.
  3. Double and triple check expectations – There are few more contentious issues for customers than incorrect billing. You don’t mess with people’s money, so checking to make sure my bill was correct was critical. It’s all about clearly setting expectations with customers and then meeting or exceeding them.
  4. Great service paves the way for up selling and cross selling – If your company is anything like AT&T and has many different products, it might make sense to up sell. When you take good care of customers, they will naturally be more open and receptive to doing more business with you.

To conclude, I was careful in my usage of the term “customer success” in this post. While customer service is so often the group in organizations that handles issues and problems that arise, customer success has the strategic role of taking the handoff from sales to ensure a smooth customer on boarding and a lasting relationship between customer and company.

So far, I’m impressed with the clear improvements made by AT&T compared to previous experiences. Keep up the good work!

Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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