Is Comcast Starting To Care About Customers?
OK, stop laughing; it’s a serious question. No, really! Comcast’s customer service is spectacularly, legendarily, archetypically horrible, virtually everyone agrees… even Comcast executives. But some recent steps by the company just might be moving them in a customer-friendly direction. Read on…
I'll Change This Time, Promise!
In the midst of Congressional testimony concerning Comcast’s proposed merger with Time-Warner Cable (which was ultimately denied by the FCC), Executive VP David Cohen admitted that top officials of the company “are deeply disappointed” in their customer service.
Comcast later said (optimistically, in my opinion), “it may take a few years before we can honestly say that a great customer experience is something we’re known for." Let's take a look at some of the biggest customer service problems, and what Comcast is promising to do about them.
Some of the most highly-publicized Comcast customer service outrages involved changes of “difficult” customers’ billing names to things like “A**hole Brown” and “Super B***h.” Mr. Brown got his new name by trying to cancel the cable portion of his Comcast account; the lady got her insulting bill after a long fight over billing discrepancies. Other customers’ billing names have been changed to things like “Whore” and “Dummy.”
And yes, those profane and insulting names appeared on the next bill mailed to those customers. I'm sure being a customer service rep is a job that can be maddeningly frustrating at times, but it seems that Comcast tolerated a culture of abusive behavior. In the normal course of things, Comcast would have fired the reps who made the insulting changes, retrained the remainder, and that would be that until the next time it happened. But now, Comcast is taking steps to ensure that it can’t happen again.
Customer service software has been supplemented with a long list of blocked words that cannot be used in customer billing info fields. If a customer needs to make a legitimate name change that includes a blocked word, such as “Glass,” a manager can override the block.
Comcast is also taking more control of its customer service staffing, training, and supervision. The cable company terminated at least one underperforming call center contractor. It’s opened three new in-house call centers and is hiring 5,500 people to staff them.
You Can Check Out Any Time You Like...
Customers who no longer want to be customers have had to endure lengthy and often acrimonious inquisitions by “retention specialists” who follow ruthless scripts in their efforts to bully and browbeat defectors into staying with Comcast. Their income heavily depends on keeping customers, so they easily get downright nasty about it. Last year, tech journalist Ryan Block recorded an epic phone battle in which a desperate Comcast rep flatly refused to cancel his service.
Comcast is moving away from those scripts and the take-all-prisoners approach to customer retention. Tom Karinshak, Senior VP of Service, says that “at the end of the day if they leave us, then it has to be a world-class experience on that piece as well.”
Waiting for the cable guy is another sore point with customers, especially if he never shows up. Comcast now automatically credits a customer’s account with $20 if a technician is late for an appointment.
Unjustified modem rental fees also drive customers into frenzies. Comcast is infamous for losing records of rented modems returned to the company. The only way to convince Comcast that you had your very own modem was to produce a receipt for it. Now, Comcast says it’s waiving that requirement and will just trust its customers.
There’s really nowhere for Comcast’s customer service satisfaction ratings to go except up. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index’s latest annual report shows Comcast in dead-last place among major ISPs. Its ratings in three categories – Internet, TV, and phone service – plummeted to record lows over the previous year. Even Comcast’s customers in its headquarters town of Philadelphia have little good to say about the company.
Perhaps being named “the most hated company in America” so many times has finally awakened Comcast’s top management. Hey, I said stop laughing; anything can happen! How's the customer service from YOUR internet or cable provider? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 12 Aug 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Is Comcast Starting To Care About Customers? (Posted: 12 Aug 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved