Cable One's Might: 'We're smartly reducing the need for customer contact'

As it continues to migrate its business from pay-TV to focus on residential and commercial high-speed data, Cable One is also working to make another important change: It's working hard to keep installers out of customer homes.

The Phoenix, Ariz.-based MSO reported a 36 percent drop in truck rolls in the third quarter, the result, it says, of an industrial-engineering-based program that company CEO Thomas Might called "Altice-like." 

"We're smartly reducing our need for customer contact," Might said. "About 70 percent of our labor, and for most cable companies, is customer contact labor."

A self-identified industrial engineer himself, Might said Cable One began to look for ways to limit customer interaction back in 2008. And from 2010 to 2014, the company reduced its head count focused on customer contact by 21 percent. Might described the process of looking for ways to reduce customer contact as "ongoing."

"We don't lay people off," he insisted. "Our associates help us do this, because we don't lay them off."

The priority on reducing customer-focused labor comes as France's Altice has pledged to bring European-like operational austerity to the U.S. with its purchases of Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Suddenlink Communications. 

It also comes as Cable One's fellow smaller- and mid-sized MSOs impact customer-focused labor by also shifting away from video services and toward high-speed data. 

For the third quarter, Suddenlink posted a 3.6 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to $605.1 million, a benchmark it said that was achieved largely on the back of residential Internet services growth.

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