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Q&A | April 28, 2022

Making the shift from reactive to proactive customer experience

Rogers Communications VP Scott Thomson on how a digital platform sparked a turnaround with customer experience and organizational culture

Several years ago, Rogers Communications found itself juggling a variety of technologies.

Three closely related departments—wireless technical support, the fiber-network team, and the cable enterprise team—used a different assortment of software applications, making seamless communication difficult. As a result, Canada’s leading cable TV and communications company struggled to provide consistent support to its subscribers.

Workflow recently spoke with Scott Thomson, vice president of technical customer service at Rogers, about how the company brought the groups together to improve customer experience. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Pretty substantial. Rogers had a decades-long affiliation with network technology, and during that time everyone started using different tools to do the same things. Teams weren’t talking to one another. It was like they didn’t even belong to the same organization.

Our business customers typically have multiple services with us—wireless, Internet, and WAN connectivity. They would notice differences in service levels we provided. I would speak to customers, and one of the first pieces of feedback they gave was that our teams weren’t talking to each other.

Having a common digital-workflows platform. We were able to look at consistent customer profiles to see what they might be experiencing with the quality and health of their services. We are now able to diagnose and address common problems and major events across the entire network. We are becoming more proactive and predictive as opposed to being fully reactive.

Having that platform enabled us to flatten the teams to be available to intervene in rising issues, simply because we were able to access information in the moment. For example, we identified what we called “white-glove customers” whose outages could affect large numbers of people. These could be important government agencies, hospitals, public safety groups, fire stations, police departments.

If we noticed that police cars suddenly weren’t connecting to headquarters, visibility through the platform enabled us to resolve the issue before it turned into a public safety problem. It allowed us to communicate to customers that we see the issue, that we’re on it.

We’re now able to hunt for smoke instead of fire with any network issues.

Before, we would pick up service tickets and pass them between teams according to the complexity of the issue. Management only got involved if something went off the rails. It could take a long time.

The visibility gained from data dashboards enabled us to redefine our mode of operation so fires wouldn’t exist in the first place. We also created a new team we call the command center.

That team constantly monitors dashboards in real time. They might look at a ticket and see that a customer hasn’t been updated in two hours. They can intervene to see what is going on and make sure someone is going to communicate with the customer. We know that not keeping customers updated on the progress of a ticket is a point of friction. This allows us to not leave it to chance that the correct customer interaction and experience is going to happen.

Around the same time, we were implementing all these procedural and cultural changes, we were also implementing a proactive monitoring capability. We know when any service falls below threshold, and that creates an auto-event. An auto-event management ticket opens in the platform, which allows us to proactively troubleshoot.

Most of our ticket volume is now driven through those events. This means we’re now able to hunt for smoke instead of fire with any network issues. We can get in front of something, and the customer is never going to see or feel the degradation.

There was a certain resistance to change. We had some people who were seeing the inefficiencies occurring, but they felt invested in the status quo.

Initially, I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. But at one point, I started joking that if I heard that kind of pushback one more time, I was going to come in with my steel-toe boots and start to stomp. We are not here to protect footwear. We are here to deliver better experiences.

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