San Bruno Cable: Reduced Costs and Better After-Hours Support for CATV Subscribers
“Having access to Wincable allows us to send a signal to refresh the customer’s Set-top-box, which resolves more issues than a simple reboot. Plus, we can do that remotely, without the need to involve the customer. We also can verify things like whether a customer’s account was current and whether they had ordered a Pay-Per-View event. When someone wants to watch a big Pay-Per-View event, they don’t want to hear that they have to wait until the next business day. “
Founded in 1971, San Bruno Municipal Cable Company is a small, local service provider located in San Bruno, California. The City of San Bruno provides Cable TV services to the community. Some of the services they provide include digital cable, high speed Internet and digital phone services.
Problem: Lack of Immediate After Hours CATV Support
In 2009 San Bruno Cable TV was considering switching to a new managed service provider for their broadband service. They were interested in reducing their costs, but at the same time they were carefully weighing the impact of a change on their subscribers, including the level of customer support they were receiving. Their overall goal was to reduce expenses where they could, but still maintain or preferably enhance the customer service experience for their subscribers.
One area they knew could be improved was the level of support their cable TV subscribers were receiving in the evenings and on weekends. The company that was providing Internet services only provided support for those services. Another company assisted with television support for after-hours and weekend support for CATV. However, according to Steve Firpo, Business Manager at San Bruno, they were essentially acting as an answering service. “For most calls, the representative would simply take a message and we’d give the customer a call on the next business day. If they got several calls in an hour, that might indicate a service outage, so they would page our on-call technician to take a look at it.” According to Firpo, this meant customers who had an in-home issue could be without TV service for the evening, or even a good portion of the weekend.
One of the companies San Bruno was considering switching to was ZCorum. ZCorum provided the full managed services they were looking for, including cable modem provisioning and diagnostics, email hosting, and 24 x 7 support for their Internet subscribers. They also found out ZCorum was already providing after-hours video support for another customer. Jason Young, Vice President of Support Services at ZCorum said the service his group was offering at the time was much more than an answering service. “We were certainly doing all we could to help the customer. We’d walk them through checking lights and the physical connections, and we’d have them manuallyreboot the set-top box if needed. We were able to resolve a number of issues that otherwise would have waited until the next business day.” Still, Young said his team was limited on how far they could troubleshoot due to a lack of visibility into the provider’s operation.
Solution: San Bruno signs with ZCorum and Improves After-Hours CATV Support Services
San Bruno compared the capabilities of their current provider and the other companies they were evaluating, along with the willingness and ability of each to handle CATV support. It was clear that ZCorum was the best choice. They would be reducing San Bruno’s overall cost for managed broadband services, plus they would be able to greatly improve the level of support that their CATV subscribers would receive. The two companies worked together to bring the level of support even closer to what San Bruno staff could provide during business hours. ZCorum was given access to San Bruno’s billing system (GLDSWincable), which Young said made a big difference in the level of support his team could provide. “Having access to Wincable allows us to send a signal to refresh the customer’s Set-top-box, which resolves more issues than a simple reboot. Plus, we can do that remotely, without the need to involve the customer. We also can verify things like whether a customer’s account was current and whether they had ordered a Pay-Per-View event. When someone wants to watch a big Pay-Per-View event, they don’t want to hear that they have to wait until the next business day.”
San Bruno also installed equipment in their headend that allows ZCorum staff to see whether a channel should be working for a subscriber, or if there is possibly a channel outage affecting all customers. This allows ZCorum to more accurately diagnose the extent of a channel outage before contacting a San Bruno technician.
Evaluation: How ZCorum’s After-Hours Support has Impacted San Bruno Cable
San Bruno customers no longer have to wait an extended time for cable TV support if they call after-hours or on weekends. ZCorum is able to resolve the vast majority of calls from their subscribers immediately. Turning to ZCorum not only reduced San Bruno’s cost for managed broadband services, they were able to increase the level of customer satisfaction for those who were having TV issues on nights and weekends.