It’s no secret that cable companies have earned a rather unsavory reputation over the years, due in large part to things like surprise service costs and customer grievances. Fortunately, there are specific steps cable companies can take to flip the script — and many don’t require a ton of effort. Little things like increased transparency, improved home visits, and more product flexibility can all go a long way.

Transparency that adds clarity
Over the years, transparent billing practices have been a serious shortfall for cable companies, and a major point of contention for customers. No one likes to be surprised by product and service limitations or additional fees showing up on the bill.

Want to build trust? It’s pretty simple: Be straightforward about your products and services and what they can and cannot do.

Customers will be much more forgiving of shortcomings as long as they know exactly what they’re getting into. Listing services and products individually and in specific detail online, including any limitations, is a great place to start. With popular sites like Yelp and Google reviews aiding customers prior to purchase decisions, consumers expect full details to be available at the outset. Not every service or product will be perfect for every customer; so being upfront on the exact pros — and even the cons — is a key selling point.

The same is also encouraged when it comes to billing. No one enjoys getting surprised by unexpected charges. If extra fees do need to be applied to a bill, then the customer should be notified as soon as possible. From there, providing a concrete explanation can smooth over an uncomfortable situation, improving customer relations.

House calls that bring the love
Home installation of cable and internet services is one of the few times customers have a face-to-face experience with the cable company. That rare connection makes these interactions some of the most important moments your company will have with each customer, and can leave a lasting impression. Narrowing down appointment time slots and quickly replacing damaged goods on these visits are simple ways to mitigate negative customer feelings.

As some companies have begun to figure out, a shorter appointment window is a huge (and easy) way to improve the service experience, because it allows customers to maintain a better sense of their personal schedule. If you can pull it off, a two-hour timeframe is preferred.

In more serious scenarios, the longer appointment window could cause previously installed hardware to become inoperable or damage to personal belongings. No matter the situation, it should be handled quickly and without additional cost to the customer. Resending a technician to replace malfunctioning products or a customer’s damaged personal electronic devices at little to no extra cost should be offered as soon as possible. This can be accomplished by partnering with a third-party warranty provider.

Personalization that increases flexibility
Today’s consumers live in an a la carte world. By offering more personalized packages with set prices for each individual service, cable companies can set themselves apart and better compete with streaming options, while also catering to customer lifestyles and budgets.

Cable companies have earned a negative reputation over the years — but it doesn’t have to be that way. With these tips and suggestions for breaking harsh stereotypes, you can make your customers’ lives a whole lot easier.