With cable and Internet provider heavyweights Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner, and Charter in a seeming race to narrow their field service windows, it’s a relatively small competitor that’s now upped the customer-service stakes.

Mediacom, the eighth-largest cable company in the country, announced Monday that it will begin offering weekend and evening service appointments, as well as offer some customers 30-minute service windows — the timeframe the company promises it’ll show up in for a repair or installation. In recent months, Comcast and Charter have implemented a two-hour service window, while Time Warner is testing exact-time appointments. Comcast is working on one-hour service in test markets.

But the weekend and evening service appears to be a new wrinkle. In the past, Mediacom workers would usually pack up the vans at 5 p.m. But now they’ll extend their service hours until 7 p.m. — giving customers a chance to deal with a problem after work.

“We found that customers wanted appointments that fit easily within their busy lives and service technicians that they don’t have to wait on to arrive,” David McNaughton, Mediacom’s senior vice president of marketing, said in a release. “In short, they wanted their interaction with Mediacom to be simple and easy.”

The 30-minute service window will be offered to customers that choose to sign up for the first appointment of the morning or afternoon. (Other appointment times will be subject to the previous service window.)

Thomas Larsen, a public affairs representative for the Middletown, N.Y.-based company, told the SmartVan that improvements in the company’s back-end dispatching made the expanded field service offerings possible.

“Technology has helped us get to this place,” Larsen says. “Now we have GPS in all our trucks, so we’re better able to figure out where our trucks are and better able to move our manpower around the company. So technology’s played a role, but at the end of the day, customers have choices in service providers, and we want to differentiate ourselves based on service. That’s certainly something we’ve emphasized this year and going forward.”

The company is also outfitting its techs with new, well, outfits.

The company will issue every tech — both in the field and in storefronts — with new, consistent uniforms and hats bearing the slogan “The Power to Simplify.” The new uniforms will replace the current menagerie of golf shirts, denim shirts, and button-downs workers have been sporting. They’ll be rolled out in April.

Mediacom serves 1.1 million customers, mostly in smaller towns and cities in the Midwest and Southeast.  The company has 4,500 employees nationwide, and although it employs some third-party field techs, the majority of its service workers are in-house.

Other SmartVan articles on the service-window race:

Field Service’s Next Frontier: Better Fine Print? | March 15
Time Warner vs. Comcast: The Race to Close the Service Window | Feb. 7
How Comcast Killed the Four-Hour Service Window | Jan. 18
The Cost of Waiting for Service | Nov. 9
Comcast Vows to Halve Despised Service Window Wait Times by 2012 | June 23

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.