Horowitz Lends Data to CaritaSoft

CaritaSoft Inc. last week unveiled plans to integrate consumer behavior research from Horowitz Associates Inc. into its Customer Value Management Suite customer-service software.

The companies pitched the new service last week in Bal Harbour, Fla., where cable executives had gathered for a Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing-sponsored research conference, CaritaSoft president Michael D'Eath said. No new clients have been signed, he added.

The partnership with Horowitz allows cable operators, overbuilders and satellite providers to integrate new attitudinal data into existing billing and demographic records.

"We can start to look at not just where people live, but what their propensities are to buy," D'Eath said.

At the CTAM research conference, Horowitz received an award for its studies on consumers' willingness to buy bundled telecommunications services from a single provider.

As cable and other telecom providers face more competition, "you now have customers saying, 'I'd like to be treated as a human being, not just a person who lives at a particular address,'" D'Eath said.

Consumers are less responsive to pitches when customer-service representatives don't know whether or not there are children living in the home or whether the subscriber already takes a certain service, he added.

"The goal is to increase customer satisfaction in the industry by selling people things they really like," D'Eath said.

Though the economy has recently taken a downturn, D'Eath said he's not concerned that his cable clients will tighten the purse strings on their marketing budgets.

"People are still spending," he said. "The fight is still on.

"There's a battle out there for customers. Companies have got to find not just a customer, but the right customer."

Software that incorporates data on a prospective customer's propensity to buy-and the likelihood that they will stay with the service over time-can help a provider's bottom line, he added.

Also last week, AT&T Broadband announced a pilot project called the Customer Contact Experience Initiative. Launched at the MSO's Los Angeles, Calif., call center, the CCEI aims to improve the customer's overall experience.

AT&T worked to bolster five areas: hiring the most qualified CSRs; providing better training; developing new technologies for improved customer care; reorganizing the call-center management structure; and developing a company culture that recognizes and rewards good customer service.

"In today's evolving marketplace, and even with all the technologies available, customer service is still the most valued commodity," AT&T Broadband vice president of customer care Wendy Rasmussen said in a press release. "Anything less than outstanding performance has a negative impact on the satisfaction of our customers, who may, in some cases, switch to another provider."