Streaming providers: Up at 4 AM worrying?
Over the past several years, we’ve had the good fortune to provide customer care for some of the biggest names and biggest events in the short history of streaming: everything from some of the largest live sporting & entertainment events to the latest episodic series (by the way, those are two very different types of events—we’ll get to that later). While the entertainment industry is built up or broken down by critical reviews and opinions, everything counts for a positive customer experience, so now you have to worry about your viewers deciding your content isn’t worth subscribing to because your app is not worth the time.
You’re in the App Business
: Streaming needs a combination of several types of support, starting with where your viewers begin—your app. Even though apps are becoming ubiquitous, so are the frustrations and quirks of each. Helping your viewers understand how to download, register, pay for and subscribe to your streaming service are the first hurdles. If they don’t know how to use your app, your content never gets out of the gate.
You’re in the Connectivity Business (aka get ’em to the table)
: Sometimes it’s not what you offer, but how people access the app that creates challenges. Before your viewers can become viewers, they must be able to find, connect and download your app. That means you are in the connectivity business. Your role is to help users understand how to do things like connect their devices to Wi-Fi, download the app, and understand the basics of connectivity including different options and speeds. But you might be thinking that these technical issues might be best handled by their internet provider, carrier or device manufacturer, right? Wrong. You’ll need to be prepared to provide basic tech support to help people connect. In other words, if you can’t get ’em to the table, you can’t feed ’em.
You’re in the E-Commerce Business (aka users, freeloaders and excuses)
: These days, almost every app offers access to a free trial. Information may explain when or if a user will be charged. The goal is to cultivate a relationship that results in a loyal long-term viewer who is happy to become a paid customer. While free trials are a great way to offer risk-free introductions, they also create a swell of cancellations a day before the free trial ends. Worse yet, you may get complaint calls from free trialers the day after the end of the trial, when they receive their first bill. This creates a swell of complaints like “you can’t charge me” or “it’s not my fault.” These are headaches that can be avoided.
You’re in the Device Tech Support Business (aka get ’em watching)
: Even after your subscribers are viewing your content, they’ll have issues with their devices. Consumers may want to change devices from iOS to Android and vice versa or share content from one device to another, including broadcasting from a phone to a 90” UHD TV. That’s a problem for the hardware providers to manage, right? WRONG! Your customers will call you. After all, they really don’t care that they have multiple cross-platform devices. They only want to watch their favorite team or series. And they usually call about two minutes before the start of the season premiere. They have a room full of friends and family counting on them—now you—to make the magic happen.
The Support Journey
A lot has been written about the buyer’s journey, usually focusing on influences, customer empowerment and right message/right time/right channel. But what about a support journey? You can, with reason and the proper data analysis, build a model that helps you understand and anticipate customers’ post-purchase behavior. You can reliably understand when, where and what type of customer support questions and concerns people may have after the purchase. Understanding your customer journey may help determine how much energy to invest in saving a cancellation attempt. Do you empower agents to create options for users wanting to cancel? Or do they politely assist with cancellation hoping to leave the user with a positive feeling that might help them decide to come back later?
In the streaming world, that behavior creates a hyper support cycle. For example, streaming companies can expect a wave of first-time customers and free trialers in the two to three days leading up to your programming launch. The day of the event, you can expect a high number of customer inquiries like “I forgot my password” or “I can’t access my account.” And they may not always call. These inquiries can come via chat, email, social media and more. So, think multichannel.
In the precious few minutes prior to your event/program start time, expect more urgent technical support calls like:
- “Why is my feed buffering when I have three other services that perform flawlessly?!”
- "My app isn't working!"
- "How do I broadcast from my phone to my smart TV?!"
Understanding this hyper cycle will arm you with insight into these behaviors. More importantly, it provides you with the ability to take that understanding and align customer care resources so you can keep them happy.
One way to gain insight into these patterns is to develop a dashboard that tracks customer inquiries by need or call type. Our recommendation is to make sure it is driven by real-time CRM data that displays significant call types by reason and by channel.
It’s also important to track the root cause of the call. The reason the customer thinks they are calling is often different by the end of the customer interaction. For example, they may think they need password help when, in fact, they didn’t complete the registration. Another example may be to blame you, the provider, when their credit card has expired. Keep this dashboard visible to all your team members and you’ll physically see these shifts happen as the day goes on.
If worrying about how your viewers become subscribers isn’t enough to cause you to lose sleep, maybe the thought of the big day
does. Like a thoroughbred racehorse who’s loaded into the starting gates, the day
is full of nervous energy and eager anticipation.
What Keeps You Awake at Night - Part 3