Frontier Communications has a bit of a tarnished customer service reputation, having recently emerged from bankruptcy. Some would argue the company is a good candidate for a fresh, new brand. But new President and CEO Nick Jeffery is not totally convinced yet, as he revealed today at a virtual investor conference.
The company is continuing to explore the possibility of a new brand, said Jeffery, who came to Frontier less than a year ago as the company emerged from bankruptcy. He added, though, that “The brand really does run deep, and some say the old one is a bit tarnished and a new one would be better [but] I’m not sure that’s necessarily true.”
Reiterating a point of view he has expressed before, Jeffery said his focus is on “fundamentally changing what we do” and “how do we treat our customers?”
“How do we remove the pain points?” he asked rhetorically. “How do we make billing simpler? How do we make the set top simpler? How do we make service great? How do we make customer interactions with us more seamless?”
All these things “have a significant impact on brand and that’s reflected in touch point and brand NPS [net promoter score],” he said.
He noted that these efforts are paying off in the form of higher touch point NPS scores and new customer gains.
Every week, Jeffery looks at customer experience statistics, including “hundreds and thousands of small things which, collectively, add up to the brand experience and will flow through into improved NPS and ultimately improved net adds as our position and reputation in the market improves.”
What the company does with the brand is a “tangential” question, he said.
Frontier recently did some research involving 12,000 customers about what attributes they currently apply to the brand and what the company wants them to be.
“There is little doubt we want to be perceived as a more modern, more agile, more digital, more successful and more fun brand than we’ve been in the past,” he said. “Whether that means we need to change the brand or not is still undecided in my mind.”
Jefferies said his thinking is shaped, in part, by his previous experiences as CEO at Vodafone UK.
“I started with an extremely tarnished brand, but I didn’t have the option to change the brand” because it was used internationally, he said.
The experience, he said, “taught me that with the right actions in terms of simplifying your proposition, eliminating pain points, reducing customer friction and building a more modern version of that Vodafone brand, we were able to take our NPS from amongst the worst in the Vodafone group to the best it has been in 32 years. In other words, in the entire history of the company, the brand has never been stronger.”
Frontier’s starting point, he said, “is much better than Vodafone UK’s was” and he summed up his thinking with the comment that “I’m optimistic that, with the right action, whatever we call the company, we will end up with a much stronger brand position.”
Jeffery made his comments at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.