For such a pleasant person, Colleen Abdoulah, CEO and chairwoman of the board of Wide Open West (WOW) can be really feisty when she needs to be. And lately, Abdoulah, who stepped into the lead role at WOW, has needed to be to help her small competitive cable operator grow and to lead the charge against what might be an unfair advantage if Comcast is allowed to acquire NBC Universal without some guidelines.
"I'm not asking for anything that is a favor or special advantage," said Abdoulah, who has been carrying the banner for the American Cable Association (ACA) in its testimony before federal regulators on the Comcast-NBCU deal. "I'm not going in badmouthing anybody."
What she's doing in this case is what she does in every case: advocating for her company and her customers. WOW is an underdog in multiple ways. It's often the second or third broadband provider in a market; it's smaller so it's not necessarily first in line for the best programming or technology prices; and it's not a brand name that everyone knows.
To combat those drawbacks, Abdoulah has led a company dedicated to customer and employee service.
"We feel like we've reached a level of excellence in that area," she said, pointing to 97 percent satisfaction rates from employees and 94 percent from customers.
To maintain that, she said, she has to be on point on issues that might affect the company's "philosophical statement to deliver an employee-customer experience that lives up to our name: WOW."
And that's where Comcast comes in. Bigger could end up being better but when you're smaller, it could also end up being a burden.
"When certain companies have so much market power that the small-medium-sized guys have no leverage, I think that's wrong. Give us some outlets where we can go. If large players are bad actors, give us somewhere to talk about it, to get it mediated, to get it resolved in a fair and equitable place," she said.
Click here to read FierceCable's new Q&A with Colleen Abdoulah.