By Rich Nesin, General Manager and Resident Philosopher
There I was, all set to write an award winning post about AT&T’s free Troubleshoot & Resolve app, a new (and free) on-screen TV application that gives customers access to self-support information and tools for their U-verse TV service. And then, whamo, out of the blue AT&T announced 2nd quarter results of 202,000 new U-verse TV subscribers bringing the total to 3.4 million. Even better, with 75% of those subscribers having triple- or quad-play packages, the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for U-verse customers is up 8.3% over last year.
Reaching for my trusty slide rule I quickly ran the numbers and found that, much to no ones’ surprise, the less money per customer that you spend on support the more profit you make - and apparently the more customers you have the more obvious it becomes. A quick look in my college Economics textbook confirmed my suspicions. More customers and higher ARPU combined with lower support costs equals higher profit. Eager to share my discovery, I phoned a friend at a major TelcoTV provider. He was less than impressed. Apparently they plan it that way.
AT&T has long been using HomePNA diagnostics. I’ve written in the past about them using the diagnostics capability to monitor the performance of customers’ home networks from their central office (you remember – all that talk about yucky stuff like TR-069). HomePNA’s diagnostic capabilities – the ability to obtain valuable performance “metrics” including user data throughput, Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), and Packet Error Rate (PER) for every path in the network - provide the most robust information on in-home network performance and form a key part of user support tools (they log the data for every service call). And the HomePNA diagnostics come for free – they are a product of the managed network architecture.
So naturally the Troubleshoot & Resolve app uses HomePNA diagnostics and adds new network-based resources to proactively troubleshoot the home set-up, diagnosing and hopefully enabling the customer to fix any problem with the set-top boxes and other home equipment.