2012 Top Ops Awards
INDEPENDENT CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD
to an expert in each area. The CSC
handles just under million inbound
contacts and about 583,000 outbound
For Jeff Ross and his 900 cable
calls each year, with employees often
employees, customer service is about
pitching in to devise more efficient
more than fulfilling a mission statement
systems to handle all the traffic. One
or keeping up with the Joneses. a
example is the
point of local pride. want
which CSRs helped develop with
to go to church or the store and have
management to better diagnose the
people go, that evil cable comroot cause of video service issues.
he says. As
So far, the tool has helped Armstrong
President of indie cable op Armstrong,
resolve 75% of reported video issues
Ross carries a lot of weight on his
A Strong Team: (L to R) Glenn Dittman, Senior
over the phone, reducing truck rolls
shoulders. He oversees service to some
Installer; Terry Dickerhoof, VP of Customer Service;
and increasing satisfaction.
277,000 customers across Kentucky,
Jeff Ross, Pres; Sherri Lutz, Customer Service Rep;
no wonder that
Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West
and Don Tacik, VP of Operations
Promoter (a system
from a headquarters in Butdevised by Fred Reichheld to measure customer loyalty) is
ler County, PA. And the steward for a family business that
pretty much off the charts, recently reaching 61.97. That beats
began in 1946 when Jud and Ned Sedwick started hanging
Federal Express and Southwest Airlines. NPS
telephone wires across Armstrong County, PA. The family has
for service installations is 75.06. That passes score
deep ties in the area, and good customer service has become
by nearly 10 points. the time installed the service,
an essential part of its legacy. always try to give back to
you know not the typical cable says Ross.
the Ross says. think that it all
Armstrong fulfills 85% of its service requests within days of
renewed focus on customer service started
the call (and more than 95% within days). And it strives for
about 10 years ago when execs created a centralized Cussame- or next-day service when a available. you call
tomer Service Center in Butler to field service, information
and sales calls more efficiently. The CSC began with employ- before four going to fix you he says.
near obsession with satisfaction and constant
ees specializing in simple skill sets but has since evolved
improvement has also changed how it evaluates employees. In
into a bigger operation with 273 agents excelling in 37 specialized skills. A sophisticated routing system gets customers fact, the company recently spent nine months studying a better
way to internally measure CSR performance with a 360-point
scale that includes 90 points for call handing, 90 points for the
call model based on the type of call and 180 points for helping
to create Armstrong its initiative to constantly exceed customer expectations. more, employees
embrace the measurement system largely because they helped
create it and understand its power as Armstrong faces intense
In the 1940s, the Sedwicks ran two crews of six men, hangcompetition from both DBS and Verizon FiOS in its markets.
ing telephone lines throughout western Pennsylvania. Within
feel we really need to set ourselves says Ross.
the first year, the company had grown to 12 crews.
In the end, about making customers feel important.
Armstrong has 14 local system offices.
not easy when there are 277,000 of them. But Armstrong
Armstrong employs one field technician for every 667
somehow pulls it off. not like we can know every customcustomers served.
notes Ross. we want to create the perception that we
So far, it seems like Armstrong is finding success in that
endeavor. And that local pride remains intact.
CableFAX: The Magazine