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Communicating With Snowbirds

Know your audience. That bit of wisdom works for comedians — and for cable operators.

In Comcast’s Florida region, instead of trying to zero in on the largest segment or the easiest to address, senior vice president Amy Smith said the region has created customized, innovative products unique to each user in Comcast’s largest — with nearly 3 million customers across the state — and most diverse regions.

The state has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the country, as well as a significant elderly population and a substantial segment of customers who spend half of their year in another location. For Smith, a 20-year Comcast veteran, the challenges are many. But given her competitive nature — she is an accomplished equestrian in her spare time — Smith said she and her team are more than up to the challenge.

“What I like about competition is it makes you better,” and it forces innovative thinking, Smith said.

The Florida region is so large for Comcast that it influences Spanish-language packages company-wide. Smith announced plans this year to add 32 channels to the MSO’s Multi- Latino tier, including sports, entertainment, children’s programming, music and history. It also doubled Internet speeds at no extra charge.

And she simplified offerings for elderly customers, tailored products and service specifically to gated communities and began offering a seasonal package that offered more convenience to the state’s socalled “snowbirds,” who leave their homes up North and head to Florida for the winter months. This influx numbers in the hundreds of thousands of homes, Smith estimated, and presents logistical challenges, such as increasing staffing to handle the influx.

For those customers, Comcast Florida has a seasonal program that enables them to keep service year-round. “It allows them to keep the products and services in their homes for a nominal amount, so when they come back they don’t have to go through the hassle of being home for a technician visit or going through the whole process again,” Smith said.

Comcast Florida also has regular programs for the elderly — including events during its all-digital Project Cavalry rollout to walk customers through the changes to their service or just pointing out the features and functionalities of products they already have.

“We make sure that population understands the different ways in which they can use the products and services,” Smith said. “The events we hold at retirement communities give us a real competitive advantage. We can explain new technologies and explain elements of products and services they already have that they are not aware of.”