New cable COO slams AT&T service


After bragging for years about how much more its executives value its
customers than cable operators, AT&T Broadband's new management has found
its customer service badly in need of an overhaul.

'Both [AT&T Broadband president] Bill [Schleyer] and I have been
disappointed to learn that service levels are not where we'd like them to be or
need them to be,' recently hired chief operating officer Ron Cooper told
investors at UBS Warburg LLC's annual media conference.

Customers with billing or service questions faced persistent problems.
'Picking up customer calls in 30 seconds is important, but not if you can't
achieve first-call resolution,' he said.

Cooper said he and the other former Continental Cablevision Inc. executives
hired last month found that one problem is that AT&T Broadband had laid too
much control off to outside contractors -- particularly sales, an area that
'should be a core competency.'

Outside vendors including APAC Customer Services Inc. and Convergys Corp.
handle system acquisitions and upgrades, which 'all generate traffic to the call
centers, and we weren't always handling it,' he added.