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Comcast Strengthens Billing Bond with CSG

Sarah Thomas
7/31/2014
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Comcast is taking its relationship with billing systems and services specialist CSG a step further, announcing on Thursday it will turn over its entire residential billing services to its long-time partner.

CSG International has been working with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) for many years, providing the cable operator with a customer care and billing platform for two-thirds of its existing residential customers. Today's expansion will see the BSS vendor take over Comcast's entire residential business. The pair have signed a contract that extends through June 30, 2019. (See Comcast Deal Shrinks CSG's Outlook and CSG Reups With Comcast.)

This means that CSG will be consolidating an additional 2.3 million residential customers onto its billing platform in early 2015, as well as taking on additional customer account migrations moving forward. Comcast is a high-profile win, but the billing company has also signed up other mobile and cable companies of late, including Grande Communications and MTN Group Ltd. in South Africa.

In announcing the partnership, Comcast noted that consolidating with CSG will make it easier for customers to interact with the cable company, an interesting statement given the recent scrutiny Comcast has come under for poor customer service. (See What Can We Learn From Comcast's Customer Service Nightmare?)

"CSG has been a great partner and this new agreement will help us provide more consistent customer interactions by creating opportunities to standardize and streamline our back-office operations," Scott Alcott, chief information officer for Comcast Cable, wrote in a statement.


For more billing, customer care and revenue assurance insights, check out our dedicated BSS content channel here on Light Reading.


CSG announced its enhanced relationship with Comcast as part of its second quarter earnings, which included non-GAAP operating income of $29.8 million, or 16.1% of total revenues. The company brought in revenues of $184.6 million in the quarter, down 2% from $180 million in the previous quarter. The dip caused CSG stock to lose 2.14% of its value and sink to $26.04 in morning trading. (See CSG Earns $29.8M in Q2.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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bobbyv
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bobbyv,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/17/2015 | 3:44:07 PM
Re: Does managed services mean better customer service?
Cable TV billing has been "outsourced" pretty much forever.  This move doesn't change that;  it simply move from one outsourcer to another.

There is one way that this will improve Comcast's service significantly.  Right now if you move from a Comcast served area by CSG to one served by AMDOCS (or whatever other billilng system) there is no way to transfer equipment automatically.  When all on CSG that can be done automatically.  It also means an easier learning curve for any customer help people if they only have to learn one billing system.  The billing system training is not a trivial exercise.
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 3:39:44 PM
Re: Does managed services mean better customer service?
I'm sure CSG can do a good job, and I'm even more sure that this move has everything to do with saving money on Comcast's part. And I can't see that finger, but I have a pretty good idea which one it is. Thumbs up.
sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/31/2014 | 3:32:49 PM
Re: Does managed services mean better customer service?
You can't see what finger I'm holding up either... :) 

That is a benefit Comcast claims and, given how bad it's reputation is, it couldn't hurt. I think simplified processes and better interfaces could improve the customer care experience. Although they've also admitted bad customer service is essentially part of the training, so maybe not.
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 3:25:36 PM
Re: Does managed services mean better customer service?
Sarah -- your photo is too small. I can't see if your tongue is planted firmly in cheek regarding the use of outsourcing as a means to improve customer service.
sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/31/2014 | 1:59:12 PM
Does managed services mean better customer service?
I guess outsourcing billing means Comcast can instead focus on improving its customer service. They need to have a good idea of what's going on when people call in, which makes it so important they have an agile, responsive billing system as well as a good view into it.
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