How Cable Companies Can Enhance Their Reputation with a Proven Process for Building Rapport


Comcast ranks as one of the worst customer service companies, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, but Bob Davis thinks opportunity for reputation management lies in call center training.

When cable companies come under fire from their customers, it takes a toll on the company reputation. But there are ways to manage a company’s reputation through superior customer service. Examples include providing quality agent training and coaching, supervisor training and coaching, and customer centric offers based on their wants, interests and needs. Even if a customer is frustrated due to a service or billing issue, showing a genuine interest in them, empathy and making an emotional connection goes a long way toward resolving the problem.

Unfortunate PR

First let’s look at the issues. Angie’s List provides an example of the PR problem facing the industry in an article with the unfortunate headline, “Why cable, Internet and TV customer service sucks.” The article cites random Internet outages, interrupted television shows, surprise fees and more. It also says that the category ranks among the top on Angie’s List in complaints.

Last year the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Comcast and Time Warner Cable among the 10 most hated companies in America, with consumers objecting strongly to missed appointments, new charges, outages and programming errors.

Some of the issues are growing pains that have accompanied the industry’s rapid growth in recent years, driven by strong customer demand for all things digital and providers’ needs to constantly upgrade technological infrastructure, offer new products and services, and add customer service staff and field technicians to keep up the pace.

The PR issues may also by driven by a vocal minority, with cable companies maintaining that they service the vast majority of customers with no problems.

Opportunities in every call

In cable call centers, every call—including complaint calls about billing and service issues—is a tremendous opportunity to not only solve problems but also build rapport with customers, sell more products and services, boost retention and build positive long-term relationships.

In training, coaching and consulting for cable call centers, Robert C. Davis and Associates has taken an exclusive approach it calls The Quality Conversation to help cable companies achieve dramatic gains in sales, customer service satisfaction, retention and revenue.

The Quality Conversation leads agents through a robust call flow that includes a proper greeting, full discovery, solution, overcoming objections and an assumptive close. The greeting, full discovery and overcoming objections steps of the call flow are especially critical when a customer calls in with a complaint about billing or service, or to cancel service altogether.

Building rapport, overcoming objections


Bob at USAtoday

Bob Davis coaches a sales agent at USAToday on building rapport with customers.

“An enthusiastic greeting that asks the customer how the agent can help is really powerful,” said Bob Davis, president of RCDA. “It is difficult for customers to reject people who say they want to help them, even when they’re calling in to cancel service, but it takes training, coaching and practice to master the greeting process and build rapport with the customer from the start,” he said.

RCDA teaches agents how to transition to full discovery on a complaint call by showing empathy by expressing that they’re sorry to hear about the problem, and that they can help. Then they ask the full discovery questions to determine customer wants, interests and needs that allow them to make a compelling offer tied to those wants, interests and needs.

Often customers object to the offers, and RCDA teaches agents a three-step process for overcoming those objections. The agents learn to find a point of agreement with the customer about the objection, let the customer sort out his or her concerns and then provide a solution. Even customers who object angrily to a price, the process has proven to lead many to a successful close.

Dramatic results

For example, RCDA helped an authorized reseller for major cable companies increase its closing ratio by 13 percentage points and its multi-product sales by 14 percentage points. A major high-speed Internet provider increased its saves rate on inbound cancellation calls from 49 percent to 62 percent.

RCDA backs up its process with coaching and training supervisors how to coach for long-term sustainability.

The process is always customized, Davis said, and often includes fallback measures such as offering frustrated customers a waiver or discount, and processes to explain hairy issues like fee increases with logic, compassion and empathy toward the customer’s point of view. “And the results are dramatically positive,” said Davis, “to the tune of higher customer satisfaction, retention and millions of dollars added to the cable company’s bottom line.”

For more information on The Quality Conversation for cable call centers contact Bob Davis direct at 678-548-1775 for a free consultation, or visit