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Insight CEO: I Hit Broadband Reports Before I Open The NY Times
CEO keeps a watchful eye out for consumer issues...
by Karl Bode 11:23AM Thursday May 08 2008
Cynthia Brumfield at IP Democracy e-mailed me this morning to note that Insight Communications CEO Michael Willner has started blogging, and one of his first posts discusses how he scouts Broadband Reports before he reads the NY Times. Willner has long been very active in our forums, particularly during the company's recent unwinding of a partnership with Comcast, which resulted in the transfer of thousands of customers. Says Willner:
quote:

In particular, I personally began monitoring Broadband Reports, a site with at least a zillion members who know and talk a lot about broadband Internet services. And our product, customer care and technical folks began monitoring the blogs too. . .To tell you the truth, nowadays, I wake up in the morning and I'm on BBR and some other blogs even before I open the New York Times.
Willner has long received kudos from me for being one of the few industry CEOs brave enough to be accessible to our forum regulars -- all in the spirit of something that seems like a lost tradition: customer service. And unlike some company policy blogs where everything is carefully worded legalese aimed solely at manipulating image, he's blogging off the cuff without the help of a PR team.

That said, as I mentioned recently when bloggers began giving Comcast full body massages for using Twitter, there is a clear difference between placating customers in order to protect brand image, and using online communities to monitor and improve the core issues that cause customer complaints in the first place. The former is cheaper than actually fixing problems. Here's to hoping that Willner is dedicated to the latter.

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haroldo

join:2004-01-16
united state
kudos:1

2 recommendations

Facts before fiction!

Facts before fiction!

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

1 edit

1 recommendation

Re: Facts before fiction!

said by haroldo:

Facts before fiction!
And what the hell is that supposed to mean? Are you sure you are on the right site? I'm sure there is some smarmy political flame forum you would like better.
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.

DrModem
Trust Your Doctor
Premium
join:2006-10-19
USA
kudos:1

2 recommendations

Re: Facts before fiction!

It means:

BBR: Fact
NYT: Fiction

Get it? hahahaha

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

1 recommendation

I think it's great...

...that Mr. Willner takes some time to scan through this and other sites, but don't for a second think it's all about customer service. It's about keeping PR fires under control. If customer service was #1 they would not have to do so much velocity and direction testing of the iBreeze.

Maybe some day he will be able to convince the bean counters he reports to that good customer service means satisfying customers, not just "servicing" them, and invest money in that instead more PR and ad firms (I am speaking generally here, not necessarily specific to Insight).

In any event, keep it up. Hopefully it will rub off on some on that big MSO we all love...
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.
jc10098

join:2002-04-10

Re: I think it's great...

Hey, whatever you want to deem it, it's still 10x better than most CEO's out there. At least this guy spends five minutes to read what others have to say. Even if its just servicing and not actual customer service (which I can't say myself), it counts for something. How many CEO's do you know that are willing to hear customers outright? I can't name too many. Kudos to him if you ask me.

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: I think it's great...

Very true, and I am not criticizing him for doing it. But, just because other companies are dreadful at it does not mean our customer service standards and expectations should be lowered. That's how we got ourselves in this miserable situation in the first place.
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.

S_engineer
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Chicago, IL

Re: I think it's great...

said by RadioDoc:

Very true, and I am not criticizing him for doing it. But, just because other companies are dreadful at it does not mean our customer service standards and expectations should be lowered. That's how we got ourselves in this miserable situation in the first place.
Greed is how we got to this situation. It's the Walmart attitude...in order to keep up with competition, we have to undercut whatever price that the competition has...unfortunately this always comes at the consumers expense. Outsourcing, nickel and diming for everything, crappy technical support are all apart of this clusterf***!
And if the companies are public...forget it.

It's too bad we did not have a story about a Presidential candidate that pops in here every now and again!
jc10098

join:2002-04-10

Re: I think it's great...

Ya, like that'd happen. The only thing those idiots care about (presidential candidates) are the libraries that get built in their honor. Somehow, I doubt things will improve with whomever wins. I just hope they don't get worse. Bush has done a profound job at ensuring whomever wins has one big hole of shit to fill.

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

1 recommendation

While I am not defending the corporate practices you cite, the people who won't pay for quality and instead put up with whatever crap the Wal*Marts of the world dish out in order to save three cents are the direct cause. Presidential candidates can do nothing about consumer idiocy and hubris.
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.

Rick
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-06
Waterbury, CT

4 edits
re: this statement
"Maybe some day he will be able to convince the bean counters he reports to"

You might want to check but last I knew it was CEO of a PRIVATELY held company now..which he and an investment group own.

Mr Willner reports to no one. Which gives much more credibility to why he posts as he does and his interest in his company.

My personal experience with Insight as a previous customer is that they are a first rate operation when it comes to their customer service. And IMHO..that comes from the top down.

I'm not sure what the basis is for your speculation of his motives, but it doesn't appear to be from personal experience with the company.

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: I think it's great...

Rick, he's got bean counters just like any other corporation, public or private. Even if he owns the entire thing outright, he's got bean counters.

Insight operates in Illinois and I am very familiar with them since both my parents and my sister have now or have had service with them in the last decade.

Considering your rush to defense with little or no current experience, nor any professional background or backup, plus your history of corporate ass-kissing, I conclude that you're just trying to stir the pot as usual.
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.

Rick
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-06
Waterbury, CT

Re: I think it's great...

lol. Little to no experience?
C'mon Doc. You're really grasping at straws with that one.

"RoadRunner Rick"..aka INSIGHT..Roadrunner Rick..a name synonymous with their service for years here at BBR...
has had a great deal of experience with them as any long term member of the RR forum could attest to.

In any event, I'm glad to have helped you understand the corporate structure of the company a bit more. Perhaps you can now see that given he's the owner of a private company, he has and had no reason to act in the manner in which you accused him of in your posts.

And finally, I'd hardly call what your Sister has had for a service in years past your personal experience with them.

Now that's a real stretch if I ever saw one.
--
The Coyote captured the RR! Roadrunner Rick is now Comcastic!

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: I think it's great...

Little or no current experience. Your reading comprehension is slipping, or you are just ignoring facts again as usual. I seriously doubt you've ever had cable service from the company considering you don't live anywhere near their territory.

As for the rest of what you have posted, it's the same mindless drivel as always.

Especially considering my parents had Insight until they sold the system and my sister still has Insight. And guess who their go-to guy is for technical issues? It certainly isn't you.

All you've done is prove how little you actually know.
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.

Rick
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-06
Waterbury, CT

Re: I think it's great...

"I seriously doubt you've ever had cable service from the company considering you don't live anywhere near their territory."

If facts interested you I guess you could mosey on over to the RR forum and check it out.
It shouldn't be hard to find one of my almost 4 years of posts there.

"And guess who their go-to guy is for technical issues? "

Him?
»/profile/30671 ··· e/306718


--
The Coyote captured the RR! Roadrunner Rick is now Comcastic!

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: I think it's great...

Hey there Ricky, when have you lived in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio or Illinois and had cable service from Insight? Have you completely lost your ability to understand the written word? Or are you too busy trolling to care?
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.

SlickEnW
Premium
join:2003-01-21
Seattle, WA

Blogs? What Blogs?

This is not a "blog." This is a broadband mega house brimming with information.

Micheal Willner: Fail.

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: Blogs? What Blogs?

Good lord. Has reading comprehension been outlawed?

He reads this site and "some other blogs".

You might want to look around here more, because there certainly are some of those too. And technically, the front page here meets the criteria for a 'blog'.
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.

YogiYahooeys

join:2004-08-17
Evansville, IN

I've seen this in action...

I just wanted to mention that I am an occassional poster to the Insight forum and based on many changes that I have seen, especially recently, I honestly do believe that Willner and his staff read and react based on the feedback that they read. Kudos to them!

hurleyp

join:2000-06-20
Ottawa, ON

Many Members

Wow, I hope the 1-zillionth member won some kind of prize from BBR.
--
"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
pfsmith

join:2006-11-16
Lafayette, IN

Oh how I miss you...

...Mr. Willner!

The transition to Comcast has been and is still painful. It's going badly. I'm not getting what I'm paying for. No one at Comcast support has a clue. And, there's no sign that it will get better as Comcast is obsessed with P2P and usage limits, instead of service and reliability.

Please bring Insight back to our territory in Indiana! Surely you have plans for expansion again, right! Some competition would go a long way to improving things.

Anonymous_
Anonymous
Premium
join:2004-06-21
127.0.0.1
kudos:2

2 edits

.


.
SilverSurfer1

join:2007-08-19

My $0.02

Good: Notwithstanding the real reason Wilner reads this site (keeping current so he knows how to put out any potential PR flames) the fact remains the guy is ten thousand times more informed/proactive than the average white collar criminal CEO.

Bad: Keep the sugar coated lies to a minimum about how he reads what people express here for customer service reasons. We all know what a load of BS that is.
emptywig
Huh? What?
Premium
join:2002-08-05
Pasadena, TX

Re: My $0.02

Good God, people, I understand a certain amount of cynicism, but as a business owner myself I can assure you that there are some of us who DO want to keep our customers happy. Does it help the bottom line? Of course it does. Is that the only reason to do it?

Absolutely not. Personally, I could make more money if I worked for one of those big POS corporations, but the bottom line is not the bottom line for me.

The best reason to do that is that it is much more pleasant, rewarding, and personally fulfilling to run a business where your customers really like you and your service/product. It MUST TRULY SUCK to get up and go to work everyday for a company that people hate. It must suck even more to be the head of such a company.

Similarly, it must really suck to be so completely cynical that you can't give a guy some benefit of the doubt.

wig
--
Please keep your f---ing religion to yourself.
SilverSurfer1

join:2007-08-19

Re: My $0.02

said by emptywig:

Similarly, it must really suck to be so completely cynical that you can't give a guy some benefit of the doubt.

wig
you cannot even begin to compare your small business operation to Willner's giant, multimillion dollar corporation. You're not even in the same universe as a corporation of that caliber so you have absoultely no room to talk about what constitutes cynicism vs not.
emptywig
Huh? What?
Premium
join:2002-08-05
Pasadena, TX

1 recommendation

Re: My $0.02

Were the waves bad today?

With all due respect, Mr. Surfer, you have no idea what kind of company I run, or how big it is, so I think its you who has no room to talk.

That being said, running a multimillion dollar corporation DOES NOT mean you have to assume an adversarial relationship with your customers.

And I have as much room to talk about whatever I choose as you do to mindlessly spout off about all kinds of stuff you have absolutely no personal knowledge of.

wig
--
Please keep your f---ing religion to yourself.
SilverSurfer1

join:2007-08-19

Re: My $0.02

said by emptywig:

Were the waves bad today?

With all due respect, Mr. Surfer, you have no idea what kind of company I run, or how big it is, so I think its you who has no room to talk.
Really. So you own/operate a business where your profit margins/losses are identical to those of Insight. Pardon me for my (gasp!) cynicism but I seriously doubt that.

BTW, your little comment about the bad waves was cute. Did you come up with that one all by yourself or did your (cough) marketing dpt help?
emptywig
Huh? What?
Premium
join:2002-08-05
Pasadena, TX

4 edits

Re: My $0.02

You're very clever, comic-book boy.

But the fact is, we do more than $2 million each year, and pay employees and suppliers, and insurance and all the other stuff that a real business has to do, and we still keep our customers happy. We've been doing it since 1954. And unless you can say anything comparable, STFU because I'm pretty sure I understand business a little better than you do.

And how much you make/how big you are doesn't mean you can't care about your customers.

Edit: BTW While my profits in dollar terms might be smaller, I'm quite sure my profit MARGINS (which is what you mentioned) are larger than Insight's.

wig

TScheisskopf
World News Trust

join:2005-02-13
Belvidere, NJ

Dear Mr. Willner:

Kudos. Been reading you some Christopher Locke, have you?

PolarBear03
The bear formerly known as aaron8301
Premium
join:2005-01-03

Now if only...

...Mr. Roberts would do the same, maybe... crap, I need to go take my Prozac, I'm talking crazy again...

TScheisskopf
World News Trust

join:2005-02-13
Belvidere, NJ

Re: Now if only...

When it really gets bad for me, I recommend a 55 gallon drum of Haldol Injectable, an IV line, fed by a sump pump stuck in the drum.

Bliss.


FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

2 edits

Some info on Insight Communications

Very small footprint(only 10th largest cable company) with 721,000 customers:


Basically operates in 3 states(but mostly just Ohio & Kentucky):


Biggest investor in this Private(not traded publicly anymore) corporation is the infamous Carlyle Group, known for it's board members of George Bush #41 and a member of the bin Laden family: »www.insight-com.com/documents/in ··· 2005.pdf
»www.carlyle.com/Portfolio/item74 ··· 424.html



The Carlyle Group is currently suffering thru the current mortgage & leveraged investments meltdown and maybe may have to reevaluate its current investment portfolio. Meaning that cost cutting & selling off investments by Carlyle may be in Insight's future.
»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlyle_Gr ··· le_Group
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page

DownTheShore
RIP tmpchaos
Premium
join:2003-12-02
Beautiful NJ
kudos:14
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: Some info on Insight Communications

Interesting information, but the point is being missed. He's at least one CEO who is paying personal attention to the voices of his consumers, rather than just having information filtered to him.
--
Life is simply one damned thing after another.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Some info on Insight Communications

said by DownTheShore:

Interesting information, but the point is being missed. He's at least one CEO who is paying personal attention to the voices of his consumers, rather than just having information filtered to him.
The point being that Carlyle is well known for flipping its investments after selling off pieces(like they did with Insight to Comcast) and also reigning in costs. So, all I am saying is that with the economy the way it is, ongoing customer service by Insight may be put under pressure to reduce costs and improve profits for Carlyle investors. And we all know that cost reduction usually hits customer service, notwithstanding a CEO with a good PR sense.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
satellite68

join:2007-04-11
Louisville, KY

3 recommendations

Insight...good

Kudos to Mr. Willner for taking a minute out of his day to read here, for whatever reason it may be.

Demerits to posters above for questioning his motives and/or agenda. Christ, are you people ever satisfied with what people say and/or do?

cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·ProLog

Re: Insight...good

I agree.

Kudos X2 to Mr. Wilner for coming to this site and reading real world posts. Companies need more people like Mr. Wilner who aren't afraid to step down to the customer level and see how things are perceived from down here. Too many CEO's are blinded sitting on their high perch, out of touch with every day customer interactions.

I hope other companies follow in Mr. Wilner's footsteps.
rjbasye

join:2000-05-24
Dry Ridge, KY
I agree, people are never satisfied. Maybe that's why you don't see more executives making themselves more visible around here. Damned if you do Damned if you don't.

AnonProxy
Premium
join:2001-05-12

Another dumb CEO

Can there be more, you bet!

ARGONAUT
Have a nice day.
Premium
join:2006-01-24
New Albany, IN
kudos:1

If Mr. Wilner is reading...

Having "Anime Channel" on basic subscription would be nice.