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AT&T Turns To 'SmartVideos' to Help U-Verse Customers over First-Time Bill Shock

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October 15, 2012

AT&T Turns To 'SmartVideos' to Help U-Verse Customers over First-Time Bill Shock

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

If you’re a wireless, cable, satellite, DSL or any other kind of telecom customer, you’ll be familiar with “bill shock.” It’s the feeling of the blood draining from your head when you open your bill only to find it’s far higher than you expected. With many pay-television customers, it’s often the first bill, since the monthly amount you expect to pay is padded with one-time and prorated charges.

AT&T (News - Alert), which has apparently been fielding calls in its call center for years related to bill shock, is turning to an unusual solution to help customers over better understand their bills: a solution from a company called SundaySky and its “SmartVideos” product. 

SundaySky president Jim Dicso recently explained the concept. The company “wants to bring to video the same dynamic creation capability that [Hyper Text Markup Language] HTML brought to the Web.” Dicso believes that a decade ago, not many people could use HTML, but now it has become a relatively straightforward way for users to update their websites with new content.

SundaySky says its product is based on a language called “VSML,” or “very simple markup language.” When a visitor to a website clicks “play” on video content, “data is pushed to the SundaySky platform and logic dictates the placement of that data in the video, along with scenes and creative assets.”

This allows companies to create personalized video in real-time for subscribers or consumers; video that is directly related to that subscriber’s issues.  In essence, the videos will be able to do the job of customer service representatives: walk first-time U-Verse customers through their bills to help them understand that charges, and also to help them realize that many of the charges they see on the first bill are one-time costs.

SundaySky charges its client companies such as AT&T to create “the video template” so they can solve their specific business problems. Once the videos are operating, customers pay each month to use SundaySky’s platform.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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