Allstream is changing the game with customer service

Three years ago we set out to improve our customer service. Here’s how we did it, and what we’re doing next. While we’ve made tremendous progress in serving our customers, we are committed to continuously improving and evolving with our customers.

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The telecommunications industry isn’t exactly renowned for stellar customer service. Customers have become accustomed to waiting on hold, just to talk to an entry-level call center employee who often isn’t empowered to properly resolve customer issues and complaints. Which means waiting yet again to speak with a manager.

As a result, many customers have low expectations from their telco and see it as more of a utility. Many don’t feel they’re important or relevant to the service provider; they feel like a number. As a result, they don’t feel particularly loyal to that telco, nor are they likely to recommend it to others.

What Allstream does differently

Allstream has made incremental improvements over the past three years, such as allocating more resources to the right areas, speeding up response and turnaround times, and adjusting to ensure they meet customers’ expectations, product- and service-wise.

Every customer response is shared with the entire company—from frontline team members to the president. And all negative responses are assigned to an “owner,” who will contact the customer and find a solution to the issue whenever possible.

This also helps to continually improve customer service, deliver an exceptional customer experience and promote customer advocacy throughout the organization.

What’s NPS and why should you care?

How do we know we’re doing a good job delivering on the customer experience? We use an industry standard metric called NPS (Net Promoter Score), which measures customer loyalty to a particular product, service or brand, based on how likely a customer is to recommend that product, service or brand.

It’s similar to the star ratings you find on Yelp for restaurants or retailers. But instead of stars, it’s a score based on a scale of -100 to +100, so it’s entirely possible to get a negative score! In fact, in our industry, a negative score is fairly common.

For telcos, it’s widely understood that a score of 0 is typical. It’s a neutral score—for every customer that likes you, another doesn’t. All telcos have a score, so it’s an easy way for customers to compare which company offers the best service. But in this industry, 0 or negative scores are standard.

Why NPS matters to Allstream

Allstream, however, has turned that upside-down. Three years ago, we set out to become a more customer-focused organization, aiming for a score of +10. This year we’ve received a score of +32, which in our industry is a huge deal.

NPS matters because our customers matter. While we’ve made tremendous progress in serving our customers, we are committed to continuously improving and evolving with our customers in this hyper-competitive environment.

We’re not done yet. When it comes to customer service, there’s no ‘finish line.’ We’ll keep working toward getting even better results. And we’ll constantly strive to maintain and improve our NPS as part of our commitment to ensuring we keep the customer front and center of our business model.

Find out more about what customer service means to us in our Q&A with a customer service manager at Allstream.

Image: PeopleImages/iStock

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