Speech Technology Magazine

Mobile Technology Solves TV Troubles

Synchronoss' SmartCare IVR gives Mediacom subscribers on-the-go options via their smartphones.
By Leonard Klie - Posted Feb 10, 2013
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Solving their service and billing issues has become easier for the approximately 1 million subscribers to Mediacom Communications, the nation's eighth-largest triple-play cable TV, phone, and Internet service provider. Those subscribers, located in smaller cities throughout 22 states in the Southeast and Midwest, can now use their smartphones or tablets to access the company's customer service department.

This improvement is thanks to a mobile application, MediacomConnect, which is powered by SmartCare, a cloud-based product of the Synchronoss Mobile Content Management Platform. The application was launched in November.

In the first month alone, the mobile application was downloaded by more than 12,000 customers. Since then, the company has seen about 1,000 additional downloads per week, with very little marketing.

The application is able to guide customers through the process of troubleshooting problems with their TV or Internet service, schedule service appointments, and view and pay bills. Customers can use a voice-activated or on-screen search to quickly connect to the information they need. And if they book service appointments, the app can automatically add that information to their phones' calendars.

MediacomConnect is designed specifically to extend key customer care services and functions to the mobile environment. "Consumers increasingly rely on smartphones for anywhere, anytime access to information, and that trend is driving the need for self-service capabilities that further enhance the customer experience," says Tapan Dandnaik, senior vice president of customer service and financial operations at Mediacom, headquartered in Middletown, N.Y. "By expanding customer interaction options to include mobile devices, our subscribers gain direct access to their accounts and the ability to communicate with us in a manner that meets their preferences and fits their busy schedules."

If needed, customers can connect to the contact center right through the app. The 24-hour call center employs about 800 agents, but if the call center is busy, customers can schedule callbacks for when it is convenient for them.

"An agent is never more than a button press away," Dandnaik says.

During a customer's call with an agent, Synchronoss' computer telephony integration makes all the account information and the troubleshooting steps already taken available to the agent as a screen pop. That goes a long way toward keeping customer satisfaction high, Dandnaik says.

Prior to adopting Synchronoss, Mediacom had been using interactive voice response technology from SpeechCycle (acquired by Synchronoss early last year) for its regular phone channel. "Our relationship with SpeechCycle provided a lot of value to our customers, so [implementing Synchronoss] was a natural move," Sonia Boska, senior manager for customer experience at Mediacom, says.

"Our goal has always been to make it easy for our customers to do business with us," Dandnaik adds. "Synchronoss really bought into our vision of what we want to do for our customers."

Prior to the official rollout of the mobile offering in November, the company tested the application for about a month with about 2,000 subscribers, who gave it high marks for ease of use. Before that, the company subjected the app to internal testing among its employees. "When we launched it, we were very confident that our customers would like it and use it," Boska says.

Roughly 30 percent to 40 percent of the customers who have already downloaded the application have used it for troubleshooting problems with their service; about 25 percent have used it to pay their bills or check their accounts. "These are people that are getting satisfaction when they use [the application], and there's no need for them to call the contact center," Dandnaik says.

"Customers are using the app, and we can look at that as call deflection," Boska adds.

The new application is available as a free download for use on iPhones, iPads, or Android smartphones. Dandnaik says that Mediacom will likely add support for Windows Mobile 8 and other mobile platforms in the not too distant future.

The app took about a year and a half to build, largely because of the amount of integration that went with it, according to Dandnaik.

The company also plans to update its Web site to allow for more multichannel and cross-channel interactions. The customer service portion of the company's home page currently provides information on how to chat with, call, or email Mediacom customer support.

"Service providers are quickly realizing the value of adding a mobile self-service application as a way to improve customer relationships," said Biju Nair, executive vice president of product management and chief strategy officer at Synchronoss, in a statement. "With the adoption of SmartCare, Mediacom will enhance the customer experience by providing its subscribers with an application that utilizes the rich capabilities of the smartphone and [lets them] gain access to the answers they need, when and how they want them."

Dandnaik says, "By deploying innovative solutions like MediacomConnect, we hope to further simplify the customer service experience for all our customers."

App at a Glance

Since rolling out the mobile customer service app from Synchronoss in November, Mediacom has seen:

  • 12,000 downloads in the first month;
  • 1,000 downloads a week since; and
  • 30 percent to 40 percent of users troubleshoot with it and 25 percent of users pay bills with it, leading to a significant amount of calls deflected from the contact center.

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