Customer Care is the lifeblood of cable operators and CTAM Europe, according to outgoing chairman Dennis Hodges. He spoke to Julian Clover.
After two years as chairman of the European arm of cable marketing association CTAM, Dennis Hodges is handing over to his successor Chad Raube, chief commercial officer of Hungary’s FiberNet. For his first year in office, Hodges was co-chair with Jim Helfgott, the former VP, sales and marketing for HBO Central Europe, who is now MD of cable consultants Sand Cherry Associates.
Hodges says one of the biggest achievements of the past year has been the ability to expand the various member programmes conducted by CTAM Europe. “Last year saw the formation of a customer care consortium, where the heads of customer care get together, benchmark, compare notes and talk about their key issues.” This will soon be joined by a customer lifecycle group, represented at the congress through a dedicated track. “It’s another aspect of what’s critical to our business,” says Hodges. “It’s not just sales, but how do you treat your customers from their first contact to when they leave your organisation.”
Although the CTAM concept has been transferred from the US, much of CTAM Europe’s work has been unique to the local organisation. Hodges says that while Europe is made up of many different markets, there are enough nuances between countries to share structures and processes. “I see differences inside of UPC, between Western and Eastern Europe, but the differences are subtle, such as Romania being a cash based economy, so 95% of our customers pay us in cash every month, as opposed to Western Europe where people pay by direct debit.”
Hodges says that CTAM Europe had made executives realise that just because an idea had originated in another country it was still worth pursuing, be it for sales, marketing or lifecycle management. “There’s a lot to be learned cross borders, and CTAM is marketers without borders. I counted 20 different cable operators coming this week.”
The conference has attracted both new and returning delegates for the two days in Barcelona.