WOW to invest ‘significant’ portion of $25M into customer service, CEO Elder says

WOW CEO Teresa Elder
WOW CEO Teresa Elder said investments in the cable company's customer service ranks will begin to show benefits to the bottom line this year. (WOW)

After announcing a $20 million to $25 million reinvestment into its business during its first-quarter earnings call in March, WideOpenWest will spend a bulk of the money on improving its customer service acumen, according to CEO Teresa Elder. 

“A significant portion of that has been dedicated to improving the way we interact with our customers,” Elder told Cablefax. “We’ve hired additional quota-bearing sales headcount, added and improved our training programs for front-line employees, and we’re developing a mobile app and making improvements to our WOW Way website. Many of these investments will reap benefits as the year progresses, but we’re already starting to see positive trends in both customer and employee retention. We’re just getting started, but I’m very encouraged by the preliminary results we’re seeing.”

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A former Clearwire executive, Elder took over for Steven Cochran in December 2017. She told Cablefax that it’s a “misconception” that the Denver-based operator is in the cable business—it’s actually in the “business of connecting people to their communities and to the world.”

Unhappily, like a lot of U.S. “connectivity” operators, the growth rate for adding these individuals seems to be slowing a bit. WOW added 8,700 high-speed internet users in the first quarter vs. 10,100 in the first quarter of 2017.

Elder spoke at length during the first-quarter call about improving WOW’s net promoter score and getting the ranks to buy into the company vision. 

“WOW’s vision is to connect people to their world through the WOW experience: reliable, easy and pleasantly surprising, every time,” she told Cablefax. “We communicate the vision frequently and have incorporated REPS (reliable, easy, and pleasantly surprising) into our vocabulary throughout WOW.

“We really do treat our customers as neighbors, not like numbers that way many other companies do,” she added.