Print Page  Close Window

SEC Filings

Entire Document
<PAGE>   84
     We currently maintain eight call centers located in our seven regions. They
are staffed with dedicated personnel who provide service to our customers 24
hours a day, seven days a week. We believe operating regional call centers
allows us to provide "localized" service, which also reduces overhead costs and
improves customer service. We have invested significantly in both personnel and
in equipment to ensure that these call centers are professionally managed and
employ state-of-the-art technology. Where appropriate, we establish and operate
major call centers which today handle customer call volume for more than 58% of
our customers. We also maintain approximately 143 field offices, and employ
approximately 1,200 customer service representatives throughout the systems. Our
customer service representatives receive extensive training to develop customer
contact skills and product knowledge critical to successful sales and high rates
of customer retention. We have approximately 2,300 technical employees who are
encouraged to enroll in courses and attend regularly scheduled on-site seminars
conducted by equipment manufacturers to keep pace with the latest technological
developments in the cable television industry. We utilize surveys, focus groups
and other research tools as part of our efforts to determine and respond to
customer needs. We believe that all of this improves the overall quality of our
services and the reliability of our systems, resulting in fewer service calls
from customers.
     We are also committed to fostering strong community relations in the towns
and cities our systems serve. We support many local charities and community
causes in various ways, including marketing promotions to raise money and
supplies for persons in need and in-kind donations that include production
services and free air-time on major cable networks. Recent charity affiliations
include campaigns for "Toys for Tots," United Way, local theatre, children's
museums, local food banks and volunteer fire and ambulance corps. We also
participate in the "Cable in the Classroom" program, whereby cable television
companies throughout the United States provide schools with free cable
television service. In addition, we install and provide free basic cable service
to public schools, government buildings and non-profit hospitals in many of the
communities in which we operate. We also provide free cable modems and
high-speed Internet access to schools and public libraries in our Franchise
areas. We place a special emphasis on education, and regularly award
scholarships to employees who intend to pursue courses of study in the
communications field.
     PERSONNEL RESOURCES.  We have a centralized team responsible for
coordinating the marketing efforts of our individual systems. For most of our
systems with over 30,000 customers we have a dedicated marketing manager, while
smaller systems are handled regionally. We believe our success in marketing
comes from new and innovative ideas, and good interaction between our corporate
office, which handles programs and administration, and our field offices, which
implement the various programs. We are also continually monitoring the
regulatory arena, customer perception, competition, pricing and product
preferences to increase our responsiveness to our customer base. Our customer
service representatives are given the incentive to use their daily contacts with
customers as opportunities to sell our new service offerings.
     TARGET MARKETING.  We have an innovative marketing program. We utilize
market research on selected systems, compare the data to national research and
tailor a marketing program for each individual market. We gather detailed
customer information through our regional marketing representatives and use the
Claritas geodemographic data program and consulting services to create unique
packages of services and marketing programs. These