Hello all, I'm back from Singapore. Got a bunch of other matters to cover with you including the Singapore trip, the beginnings of the CRM iPhone Bakeoff and something I'm writing on 2007's greatest concept, Neo-Narcissism. Blog entry to follow on that today. But first, I want to present the latest in the every other month progress reports from DirecTV, written by their SVP of Customer Care, Ellen Filipiak. She was timely in getting it to me. The reason its a few days later than August 1 was because I was in Singapore. So the lateness is my fault.
Please feel free to comment all you want about it. I'm printing this exactly as I got it with no changes except to make it bold. In a few months, I'll do an analysis of what we've all seen, but I will say she seems to be making some genuine progress. You'll note the differences between June 1 and this one in tone, content, approach and information....
In my last update, I shared that I was planning to visit most of our call centers with the express purpose of listening to customer calls as well as getting feedback directly from our representatives on ways we can improve service to you, our customers. Many of the comments I heard match what customers say when communicating directly with me or other members of our leadership team.
At DIRECTV, we handle millions of phone calls each and also make about 1 million visits to customers' homes on a monthly basis. The vast majority of these "touches" are handled in one call or visit. Like most organizations, though, we have areas in which we need to make improvements. I would like to share with you some of the areas we will be working on.
Providing accurate and consistent information
During my site visits, I learned that the knowledge tool our representatives use as a resource to help our customers contains some conflicting information. We are in the process of reviewing everything and removing outdated and conflicting information. We have also put into place a new review process so we can ensure this situation does not occur in the future. Pretty basic….we just weren't doing it as well as we could.
In addition, we just completed a review of all of our troubleshooting materials and guidelines, in conjunction with our field operations, engineering and training teams. We have made several modifications to our troubleshooting procedures, which ultimately will help us identify and resolve problems more quickly for our customers. We will continue to refine these efforts as more models of hardware become available, especially High Definition products.
We have also been reviewing how calls are distributed to our representatives, to make sure our customers are getting to the person who can best assist them based upon the reason they are calling. For example, we want to make sure that our customers calling with a question about their receiver or picture quality, is immediately given to a representative who has been trained in technical troubleshooting. Similarly, if the call is about a bill, we want to send it to a billing representative.
We know that it is very frustrating to explain the reason for a call, only to be transferred to someone else. By making some changes in our routing, we have already reduced transfers from one agent to another, although we still have work to do on this.
Simplify our promotions and fulfillment process
It looks like one of the most frustrating issues for customers has been with our rebate and fulfillment process. Earlier in the year, we did not do as good a job as we could have explaining what our customers needed to do in order to receive their rebate or gift (such as a portable DVD player). Also, the forms were not being processed in as timely a manner as they should have been.
We have simplified these processes for future promotions and have given our representatives more tools to help customers when questions do arise.
Better coordination with our field operations team
We are working closely with our field operations team to ensure we have better, more accurate information to provide customers who are calling about the status of a technician arriving at their home. We have not solved this issue completely, but are working on this, and I will post updates on our progress in the future.
We are also working on ways to ensure the order the technician has contains the list of all of the equipment needed to complete the work ordered by our customers. While our technicians carry some additional inventory with them, occasionally, we don't have enough equipment to complete the job at that time. We understand how frustrating this is, and have taken additional steps to review the accuracy of orders prior to them being given to technicians.
I also wanted to remind everyone that there are many different ways to reach DIRECTV. On www.directv.com, you can complete many transactions (such as paying your bill or ordering a movie) as well as find information about our products, programming, pricing as well as troubleshooting tips. You can also complete many transactions in our automated phone system at your convenience.
Finally, I wanted to acknowledge that we have had some challenges over the past couple of months with the software systems we use to support customer care. This has resulted in us not being able to assist customers immediately when they called us. We apologize that this occurred and want to assure that we have taken the appropriate steps to prevent future problems.
My team and I are aggressively working the items above as well as many other initiatives, which are fundamental to identifying and meeting our customers' needs. As always, I appreciate Paul's letting me share updates with you, and look forward to providing more updates in the coming months.
SVP Customer Care