Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011 - 29

INDEPENDENT CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD
Click! Networks
The phrase " customer service " gets bandied about
a lot these days, as if it somehow operates in a vacuum separately
from everything else. It's doesn't. And Click! Networks,
which takes our Independent Customer Service Award this
year, knows better than most that great customer service really
comes down to community involvement and credibility-both
of which are intertwined into the fabric of any business. And
interestingly, this " business " is part of municipally owned utility
Tacoma Power in WA.
For Click! Networks, customer service is all about engaging the community.
fi ll the gap. " It's a comprehensive way that we work with these
organizations, " says Robinson. " We're not just here to run
spots. " Says Lachel: " It' a part of our culture since Day One. "
In effect, Click! considers community involvement part of its
For Marketing and Business Operations Manager Mitch
Robinson, it's all about customer acquisition and retention.
" Because there's very strong competition in the marketplace,
differentiation is very important to us, " he says,
noting that customers tend to remember the customer
service experience-both good and bad-when considering
whether to switch to a competitor. " We don't worry so much
about cutting the cord, " Robinson says. " We think about
our competition. Any day of the week, one of our customers
could get a very nice postcard from someone else. "
That Click! is municipally owned creates a sense of mission
for employees at this indie op, which still must cover
its costs and " manage strategically to our budget, " notes
Robinson, but whose main competitor is none other than
cable's most formidable giant Comcast. So Click! has concentrated
on " hyperlocal " service that weaves its marketing
in with community events and organizations-all with an
eye toward bolstering ties with potential customers. How
local is it? It's so local that the main number listed at the top
of its Website doesn't even include an area code.
Click! execs say they're fulfi lling a big need in this close-knit
community of 200,000 residents. As Government and Community
Relations Manager Diane Lachel puts it, the Tacoma market
is " kind of strange " because it's without a local broadcast
station that would normally drive local events. So Click! tries to
CableFAX: The Magazine
July 2011
customer service strategy even as it serves overall marketing
purposes. For example, Click! offers " The Click! Family Flick "
free every month at a local theater. It not only serves as a nice
thank-you for existing subs, but it also helps create awareness
about Click! as a local provider. " I love a captive audience, "
says Robinson. " They're going to see 30 minutes on the screen
about us before the movie. " In addition, Click! holds " Cable:
101 " classes to educate subs on everything from the ins and
outs of VOD to family-friendly TV to the age-old conundrum
of how to work that remote. And it fi lls Tacoma Public Utility's
225-seat theater just about every time. When it comes to customer
service, something here just seems to, uh... click. ■
- Michael Grebb
FAST FACTS
■ With volunteerism an integral part of Click!'s overall customer
service, the operator's 100 employees donate some 2,500
hours per year to local causes.
■ Tacoma Power is more than 100 years old. When the utility
started laying down fiber to control its substations, it created
Click! Networks to make full use of the infrastructure and give
residents another telecom option.
■ Click! Network is one of the largest municipally owned telecom
systems in the U.S.
cablefaxmag.com
29
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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011

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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2011 - Contents
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