Entertainment giant Comcast Corp. plans to add 100 employees by year's end to its Colorado Springs call center as part of a plan to focus the facility on keeping retaining customers in the western U.S. who are considering canceling their service.
The call center currently employs about 600, said Rydne Williams, Comcast's vice president for the Southern Colorado area, which extends from Douglas County to Pueblo.
Comcast switched the local call center's focus in 2012 from general customer service work to retaining existing customers - part of a restructuring of its western U.S. call center operations. The goal was to have each center specialize in handling certain types of calls, such as sales, retention, billing, collections, repair and business services.
Agents at the Colorado Springs center get calls from customers who "may feel the need to make changes either to a lower level of Xfinity (Comcast's brand of television) service or even a different carrier," according to a job posting for a "customer account exec 4" position on Comcast's website. "Your job is to convince them that Xfinity can meet their changing needs better - and keep them in the 'family.'"
Comcast's emphasis on retaining customers comes amid growing competition for television customers from satellite services, online providers and traditional phone companies like CenturyLink Inc., which launched its Prism television service last year in the Springs area.
A recent study by Morgan Stanley found 10 percent of pay-TV subscribers - a third of them ages 18 to 29 - plan to discontinue their service during the next 12 months and turn to Internet-delivered television content such as Netflix or Hulu.
"We have historically looked at acquiring new customers, but in a more competitive landscape we have to make sure we are providing the service our customers expect," David Tashjian, Comcast's vice president of sales and marketing for Colorado and New Mexico, said in a recent interview at the call center.
To reach that goal, Williams said the company wants its technicians to check all Comcast services when making a house call to make sure each is working as expected - a step to avoid sending another technician out to address a different problem a short time later.
The company also is using the Internet as a weapon in its battle with competitors. Comcast unveiled its X-1 on-screen guide in the Springs a year ago and has expanded its use nationwide to allow customers to access any video content from a single screen, including live broadcasts, recorded movies and shows, archived movies and Internet videos and applications, Tashjian said. Customers also can watch television using their Comcast service from most any device, including smartphones and tablets, he said.
"We are on the brink of all (telecommunications) services being delivered through the Internet," Tashjian said. "It is more about a convergence (of technology) than it is customers choosing one technology or another. Even Netflix now has its own television network."
Last month, Comcast agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc., which also operates a call center in the Springs that employs 750 to assist California customers with questions about billing, repairs and other questions.
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