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Business to Consumer Cable TV/Telecom/Internet Industry
Outbound Sales – Customer Acquisition and Upsell

Situation: Client provides cable TV, phone and internet service to consumers in a major U.S. metropolitan market. Client currently outsources sales calling to one vendor, but would like to spread risk across an additional vendor and improve on current vendor’s manual processes by engaging a vendor that can integrate with client billing and provisioning systems for greater process efficiency and enhanced visibility into customer accounts. Additional challenges included the following:

  • Client wanted to sell multiple services, including cable TV, phone, and high-speed internet. A key goal was to promote multiple products to each prospect in an effort to generate bundled sales, as well as add-on services such as DVR, HD, premium channels, and phone calling features.

  • Target market consisted of a concentrated Hispanic population, thereby necessitating a bilingual team. Also, the records would not be consistently marked as Spanish-speaking, so the agents had to be truly bilingual.

  • Calling activities would be set up and managed as a large number of moderate sized campaigns targeting many and various customer segments rather than one ongoing campaign setup approach.

Solution: Based on the familiarity and depth of Affinitas experience with the cable industry and cable clients, Affinitas proposed:

  • Establishing a real-time link between Affinitas and the client billing/provisioning system. Affinitas was already knowledgeable and experienced in working within this system, as well as the suite of products and services.

  • Staffing with a team of veteran agents with experience in the cable industry.

  • Placing the work in the Affinitas Arizona facility. This facility features a complete bilingual Hispanic team consisting of agents, trainers, supervisors, and QA staff who were raised speaking both Spanish and English while being immersed in both the American culture and their traditional Hispanic culture. As such, these agents speak with minimal accents in either language.

  • Developing a unique approach to automated scripting whereby a universal script was created with a standard greeting, client identification, and value statement. This was followed by identification of the customer’s current service, as indicated by the list name (e.g. – digital video), along with a customer-specific detailed account review driven by customer data from the billing system shown in a separate on-screen window. From this point the Affinitas agents used a free-form consultative selling approach asking probing questions to determine usage patterns and preferences, making specific recommendations for services that would benefit customers, and sharing specific promo offers available in the billing system. Upon customer acceptance, agents entered the new service(s) into the billing system and schedule an appointment for installation if needed.

  • Developing a unique approach to records management where the calling file has very few links to the automated script (as noted above) so that incoming calling files could be loaded quickly into the dialer with minimal processing and data programming.

Results: The Affinitas team exceeded client performance goals on the first campaign, and have consistently met or exceeded goals ever since. Details are as follows:

  • Client SPH goal was .25 for English records. Affinitas has consistently achieved an SPH of .25 to .30 on this list segment.

  • SPH on English records increases from .3 to .35 when taking into account the multiple RGU’s generated during calling, thereby achieving the goal of upselling current customers into multi-product bundles.

  • Client SPH goal was also .25 for Hispanic records. Multilingual agents were able to move from English to Spanish with ease as prospects demonstrated a preference to speak in Spanish, resulting in an SPH of .30 to .50 on Hispanic records. Today, 70% of the agent team is bilingual.

  • The innovative approach to automated scripting coupled with access to the billing system has allowed Affinitas to utilize a true consultative selling approach where the specific needs and uses of prospects can be uncovered, and agents are able to recommend specific solutions with features and benefits that meet the specific needs of each prospect.

  • The innovative approach to record management has allowed Affinitas to begin calling on records within 3 to 4 hours of having received them. Over the last year Affinitas has completed nearly 100 individual campaigns since the initial campaign, with incredible speed to market on fresh customer records.

  • The real-time link to the provisioning system allowed for account set up and scheduling of installations, thereby improving on the efficiency of the current vendor’s manual approach required for this process.

  • Affinitas has outperformed the original client vendor every time that a head-to-head A-B list split was performed.

  • Affinitas volumes and staffing have grown steadily over the last year in recognition of the successful calling results. Agent staffing has steadily grown from 8 FTE to 30 FTE over the last year, peaking to 70 FTE in Q4 2009 to accommodate a national initiative targeting customers who had a high propensity to churn.

  • Client considers Affinitas the “go-to” vendor for the more challenging offer strategies and historically difficult target groups where low response rates have been the norm.
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