KEARNEY COLUMN: Cable provider aims to WOW! customers in Charleston
Colleen Abdoulah first came to Charleston a year ago to introduce her Colorado-based cable company, WOW! to the local employees of Georgia-based Knology and say, “We hope to buy you.”
The $750 million deal was announced in April and closed in July, prompting the CEO's second visit to the Lowcountry. With the transition now in full swing, Abdoulah returned last month to check in with the team and to make a sales pitch ahead of Tuesday's rollout of the company's brand in Charleston.
In short, WOW! wants to live up to its name, Abdoulah said, and plans to do that with a combination of technological upgrades and a human touch.
“You can't compete on product and service alone,” said Abdoulah, a gregarious Canadian. “We differentiate ourselves on the customer experience.”
Sitting in the North Charleston hotel ballroom where she had just addressed her 70-odd local employees, Abdoulah promised next-day installation and same-day service for problems thereafter. She said WOW!'s call centers aren't manned from overseas, nor are they automated.
“You're going to get a live person if you want one,” she said.
But before WOW! can truly compete, Abdoulah said, it must upgrade the legacy Knology cable, Internet and phone services to be on par with its much larger competitors, like Comcast and AT&T. “The first thing we're going to do is go all digital,” she said.
Though that transition might mean a converter for some customers, it also eventually will mean more high-definition channels, faster Internet speeds and clearer phone service.
WOW!, which has grown from a regional provider into the nation's ninth-largest multisystem operator with more than 600,000 customers and 3,000 employees, plans to concentrate on integrating with Knology's systems this year.
But then it will lay more cable around the region and expand into commercial service.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him on Twitter at @kearney_brendan.