July 2015 | Nithin Rao

The signals are clear

Tata Sky has long figured out that the quality of customer service is the key, and perhaps only, differentiator in the direct-to-home television business

The direct-to-home (DTH) television services sector in India is in some ways a commoditised business. Content provided to consumers by television content operators is not exclusive, the same technology is available to all companies, the distributors are common, and there is virtually no difference in pricing as well.

Sending the right message to customers about service issues is critical for Tata Sky
So how does a player like Tata Sky — the largest in the sector, with more than 10 million subscribers — stand apart from the competition? “We have to depend on superior customer service to differentiate our offerings,” says Harit Nagpal, the company’s managing director and chief executive officer.

Tata Sky connects with customers through its website (which also includes a chat mode), a text messaging system and a 24x7 call centre. It has set in place processes to constantly monitor customer complaints and ensure that these get reduced dramatically over a period of time. “Our service and processes should be such that the customer should never have to call us,” says Mr Nagpal. In the last four years Tata Sky has doubled its number of subscribers, but there has been no corresponding increase in the number of customer complaints.

The voice of the customer is taken very seriously at Tata Sky. Every senior director and executive, including those heading the finance, technology, customer service, marketing, commercial and human resources functions, frequently barge into the call centre to listen to customer complaints.

Walking the talk, Mr Nagpal is one of the few chief executives who is not secretive about his email ID. “When you have 10 million-plus subscribers, the best of processes can go wrong and every day there will be a few people who are unhappy... You have to provide a relief valve for such people.”

This is a shortened version of the main article, which is part of the cover story about the customer-centricity culture of the Tata group featured in the July 2015 issue of Tata Review. Read the complete article here >>
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