CRM and How it Can Help Time Warner Cable Customer Service

Abstract

This paper strives to highlight the worse scenario of customer services prevailing at Time Warner Cable. Time Warner Cable provides a well-clustered and advanced cable system in the United States. However, the increasing volume of customer complaints symbolizes the deterioration of customer service standards and low level of customer satisfaction. The arguments presented in the paper supports the implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to improve the quality of customer services. The cost of implementing CRM along with the grave needs of training are also discussed in the paper.

Purpose of the Report

The primary purpose of this report is to present the current poor quality of customer services at Time Warner Cable and solutions available through implementing Customer Relationship Management system to improve the level of customer satisfaction.

Background of the Topic

Time Warner Cable, a source of information choices and home entertainment, is committed to provide high-quality services to their customers. However, a number of events currently reported in the media highlights that the level of dissatisfaction among their customers is continuously increasing. It is in this background that the theme of Customer Relationship Management is discussed in this paper to suggest and recommend its implementation for improving the level of customer services ultimately achieving customer satisfaction.

Discussion of Current Issues

Time Warner Cable- A Brief Overview

The entrepreneurs through using Army-surplus coaxial cable antennas created the first ever cable television system of the country in 1949. This invention, in fact, revolutionized the television industry. After almost sixty years, Time Warner Cable, the second largest service provider in multiple sectors, manages and owns well-clustered and advanced cable system in the U.S. Time Warner Cables provides advanced and highly sophisticated technology. It offers a wide array of information choices and home entertainment choices for the entire family to enjoy a high-quality service aiming to demonstrate the phenomenon that customer satisfaction should be the primary objective of a service provider. (www.timewarnercable.com)

Time Warner Cable has an impressive history of leadership and has successfully led the way in the field of technological innovation through using fiber optic to expand and improve their products and services. Their digital system facilitates to offer superior and standardized quality programming with an extended spectrum of channels; offering everything from music and movies to information and news. However, recently a huge decline is being witnessed in the area of customer services and number of complaints is increasing significantly.

The Theme of Customer Service

The theme of customer services is considered as a cornerstone of a thriving and solid business. Most of the companies believe that retention of customers is better than acquisition as far as the factors of costs, loyalty and service are considered. Organizations strive to cut costs without acknowledging that customer attrition could be the sole and largest cost they possess. Satisfying or delighting the customer has the similar bottom line that impact as cutting cost.

The primary element of customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty is to continuously deliver a qualitative customer service that not only exceeds but anticipates their expectations for value. Best relationships maintained with the customers, in fact, entails considerate customer care along with customer experience paradigm. Loyalty and customer satisfaction are directly related with the quality of Customer Relationship Management.

It is essential that customers should have a positive feeling about doing business with the firms. For succeeding in the competitive environment of twenty first century, it is pertinent to ensure that firms should ingeniously and heavily invest in programs of customer relationship management to achieve customer satisfaction.

Customers expect maximum value to be delivered and it is, in fact, customer support that adds value to a huge extent. Customers demand highest possible value for their money, otherwise they quit the relationship. In case a customer is dissatisfied about the services provided by a firm he/she will act as a word of mouth and spread negative sentiments about the services, sharing the poor quality of services with people.

Customer Relationship Management

In recent years, most of the organizations have successfully identified and recognized the need to focus more on customer satisfaction with the increased competition particularly at the international level. Consequently, the concept of customer relationship management has surfaced as the top priority of the organizational strategies. Definitions of customer relationship management (CRM) and CRM systems are too wide ranging. However, the CRM system can be specifically viewed and considered as information system with primary aim of enabling the firms to acknowledge the customer focus. (Greenberg, 2004)

Customer relationship management is an extremely fragmented environment and contains different meaning for different persons. However, one view of the customer relationship management is the utilization of entire customer related data, knowledge or information to deliver products or services. According to an opinion the theme of CRM evolved particularly from business processes like relationship marketing and the continuous emphasis on the idea of customer retention with the help of managing customer relationships effectively.

The focus of relationship marketing inside Customer Relationship Management is fairly robust and has led firms to explore the strategic measures for improving or maintaining customer retention. Another perception of customer relationship management is that it is fundamentally technologically oriented. The advances made in database technologies like data mining and data warehousing are vital to the effectiveness and functionality of CRM systems.

Technological advances in international networks, improved interactivity and convergence are termed as key to narrating the growth of e-commerce and CRM. The ever increasing trend of using digital technologies by the customers, specifically the Internet, is altering the entire business environment and customer management.

Another dimension is the capability to deliver the strategy in a successful manner. Strategies related to Customer Relationship Management are effective if they can deliver positive results. A CRM system is mostly integrated with different other systems of decision support across entire functional areas, like executive information system, supply chain management, recourse planning system and product life cycle management. While doing so, firms can create an improved management information system in terms of acquiring, planning and controlling across entire channels and as such provide high-quality products and services resulting in larger profit and revenues. The CRM system can support organizations to excel in their abilities to achieve customer satisfaction.

(Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2002)

Customer Service at Time Warner Cable

The history of Time Warner Cable strongly suggests that the company has been striving to provide well-clustered and advanced cable systems to their customers with the aim to meet their specific needs. The company has already completed a countrywide system upgrade for the purpose of creating a hybrid fiver coaxial cable network. The objective is to provide exciting and new services that include High Definition television, Digital Cable, Video on demand, High speed access to internet via cable modem, Start Over, Quick clips, digital phone and Active advertising besides other services. (www.timewarnercable.com) However, there is a huge inflow of customer complaints and increasing level of customer dissatisfaction prevailing in the market about customer services being provided by Time Warner Cables. Complaints about their customer service trebled to 1732 since October, 2007 from the same period, just a year earlier. (Granelli, 2007)

Some of the complaints relates to poor customer response. In most of the cases, the customer response system tackling complaints is not up to the required time level and standards. Often, the customer service representatives are not familiar with their products and provide a considerably low level of technical support. There are also complaints about overcharging of bills with no satisfactory explanation being provided to the customers. The customer service group is mostly clueless. Moreover, the refund system, in case of overcharging, is complicated and time consuming.

When a firm delivers poor quality of service, the customers are entitled to lodge their complaints and customers are frustrated enough to search another company for the same set of services. The city attorney’s office of Los Angles believes that Time Warner Cables caused major distress and havoc when it become number one TV provider, two years ago, in Southern California. The city attorney is of the view that Time Warner made false claims and issued misleading statements to subscribers. The cable giant, in fact, violated different franchise agreements made with the city. They permitted their subscribers to spend considerable times, in hours, on hold with representatives of customer service and also unwarranted delays in repair work.

The current standing in the market of L.A was acquired by Time Warner due to their joining with Comcast in the year 2006 to purchase the Adelphia Communications Corporation, already bankrupt. The two organizations ultimately swapped their franchises to dominate in different regions of United States. The challenge faced by Time Warner was that they had to improve and upgrade the Comcast and the old Adelphia and merge them with their system. Almost five hundred thousand subscribers were badly affected and it is asserted that the entire system was not faultless.

Currently the customer service seems to be a low priority for the cable giants, as perceived by their subscribers. Their customers are unable to contact directly with the technicians or managers, as is the case in other companies such as AT & T. Moreover, customers have to make follow up calls to ensure that service is functioning and complete. This worse scenario strongly suggests the implementation of an effective Customer Relationship Management system to improve and rebuild the image of Time Warner Cables through achieving customer satisfaction.

Application of CRM

CRM generally involves change in business process as well as the induction of effective information technology system. Consequently, the role of leadership is significant for such implementation. Leaders in Time Warner Cable (TWC) should be mainly responsible for monitoring and observing external environment of the firm as they are mostly placed in a best position to set the strategic direction for Customer Relationship Management projects. Moreover, the leaders should exhibit considerable influence in the control and authorization of expenditure, the monitoring and setting of performance, and motivation and empowerment of key personnel.

As CRM is associated with the critical parts of a firm’s business, it has been strongly suggested that TWC should adopt much holistic approach. Such holistic approach can place Customer Relationship Management at the heart of cable giant with customer focused business processes as well as the integration of Customer Relationship Management systems.

Time Warner Cable should develop effective CRM software. For developing CRM software, timing is critical as it is a lengthy process and there are certain rewards to those who are able to response appropriately and rapidly. CRM can facilitate the business operations of TWC directly related with the customers.

CRM can prove to be a useful tool for TWC to identify the appropriate and profitable segment of customer groups and for providing support to make a decision about terminating relationships with non-profitable customers. The theme that a firm cannot maintain pure profitable relationship with all of their customers is widely present in most of the services.

The current scenario of bad services reportedly prevailing in Time Warner Cables strongly calls for using CRM to specifically target profitable set of customers in a most effective way as they are the huge source of organizational growth. The fundamental aim of CRM in TWC should be increasing profitability through effective and efficient customer relations. In case the CRM strategy is not successful in influencing profitability after a defined period, then TWC is also not successful. As such, TWC should consider adopting alternative strategies and changing directions.

CRM- Budget/Costs

As a major part of implementing a CRM solution includes costs, this is, in fact, a major concern found in most of the companies. Proper funding should be made to ensure the successful implementation of the CRM software. The cost of the CRM system includes expenses for software, hardware, customization, training, integration and support.

According to an estimate, the CRM project budget for TWC could be approximately ten million dollar. The implementation period could range from a few months to some years. The implementation of CRM software requires buying computer hardware, network equipment, system software and security software. The hardware may cost TWC approximately quarter million dollars. The cost of CRM software is mostly dependent upon the scope of implementation or the number of CRM modules, CRM vendors and the complexity of software. However, TWC may allocate few million dollars for purchasing packaged software. Among other costs are acquiring professional services including; customization; integration; data conversion; and training.

CRM- Training

Since heavy cost is associated with the implementation of CRM system, it is essential that proper training should be given to the users. The release of a robust system that will streamline and automate the operations and improve users’ productivity without appropriate training is not a guarantee to achieve desired results. (Reynolds, 2004)

Training, in the first place, is required for basic usage of computer. Second, there exists a fundamental usage of the CRM system itself; such as learning the user interface, using calendar and other basic functions. Third, is the particular ways in which services can be delivered to the customers to meet their expectations and understand the ways in which the CRM system can support in related processes.

Recommendations to Improve Customer Service through CRM

The increasing poor situation of customer services in Time Warner Cable warrants implementation of an effective CRM system. To ensure successful implementation, certain recommendations are being provided as they could prove supportive in improving the level of customer satisfaction through better and qualitative customer services.

· TWC should use customer satisfaction surveys for assessing customer needs and identify the elements causing dissatisfaction of customers.

· Human Resource Management should ensure that all employees are empowered and motivated to participate actively in improvement initiatives.

· Proper education and training should be provided to all concerned employees.

· Senior management should be visibly and personally involved in demonstrating that increased level of customer satisfaction is considered as a high priority aim and strategic goal.

References

Granelli, J, S. 2007. Time Warner Cable Exec Ousted Over Poor Service. Los Angeles Times.

Greenberg, P. 2004. CRM at the Speed of Light, 3e. McGraw-Hill Osborne Media.

Prahalad, C,K and Ramaswamy, P, B. 2002. Harvard Business Review on Customer Relationship

Management. Harvard Business School Press.

Reynolds, J. 2004. A Practical Guide to CRM. CMP Books.

www.timewarnercable.com


Do you need a reseach paper on this or similar topic?
Order custom research paper