Does Comcast Care?

A lot of virtual ink has been expended writing about Comcast, which has embraced Twitter to provide customer service (Frank Eliason @comcastcares), but which suffers from a reputation of poor customer service in other quarters.

I don’t have Comcast here in north Jersey, but I was in Connecticut at my mother’s house yesterday, and I saw a small slice of Comcast in action.

You see, Mom recently had to get a new device (free) to handle the upcoming switchover to digital TV. Once it was installed, everything started not working. Phone help was inadequate to resolve the problem, and so a tech person was scheduled to visit the next day, between 12-2 pm.

I was out doing yard work when this tech guy pulled up (early!). The first thing I saw was a friendly face – a guy who engaged me in conversation with a smile. He then proceeded to go in the house, troubleshoot, and eventually replace some old relays on the outside of the house that weren’t “digital-ready”. Having quickly done a thorough job, and having made sure that everything was working perfectly, this fellow took his gentle laugh and smiling face and drove off to his next appointment, as a Comcast ambassador of good will.

Does Comcast care? I cannot make a blanket judgment one way or another about a huge organization. Does a certain technician servicing Berlin, CT care? He sure does. Enough to make me publicly praise him in a blog post, though I didn’t even catch his name. And that’s the point, isn’t it? Giving remarkable, caring service.

Loyalty is earned at the point of contact with customers. Hire caring people. Then folks will believe that your company cares.

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

4 Responses to Does Comcast Care?

  1. This is a great idea, so, what are we to think of those that ship their Customer Service off to other states/countries?

  2. Nazim Uddin says:

    Hi Steve,

    My experience with Comcast had been drastically different. NPR just did a piece about how the cable industry is taking advantage of the confusion over the digital transition to corral people into upgrading to set-top-boxes for the wonders of digital cable.

    When I first got my HDTV in summer of 2007 with built-in QAM tuner, I expected to receive the regular broadcast channels without having to pay extra for a set-top-box. I got nothing instead. I called the customer service number (more like the sales department) and they kept dodging the question of broadcast HD channels on cable. They kept pressuring me to get upgrade to the Digital Package which was about four times more expensive than the basic cable I had. You may ask that why didn’t I put up an antenna if I wanted broadcast HD channels. I didn’t, because of the limitations of digital signals over long distances. I live too far from a broadcasting source to get a signal, and unlike analog signal which degrades over distance, with digital, you either get it or you don’t.

    Well, after being given the run-around both through their online live chat and on the phone with multiple customer service representative, I called the FCC. Comcast called back that afternoon to come and fix the “problem” the next day. They reset the signal in my area, a service note came on the TV an hour before the technicians came over and changed some cable because supposedly it wasn’t “digital ready” and blamed it on the equipment. That was a lie.

    The FCC because of my complaint, and I am sure complaints from other people, realized that cable companies, like Comcast, were taking advantage of this gap in coverage. People who were too far away from an HD signal but didn’t want to buy the Digital Cable package and were only interested in the network channels. On September 11, 2007, announced that broadcast channels must be made available by cable providers to all subscribers who have digital tuners built into to their equipment. Document available here: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-276576A1.pdf

    What this means is that, if you recently bought a new HDTV, it comes with a QAM tuner, then all broadcast channels have to be provided unscrambled so that your TV display it, without the need to rent a set-top-box.

    Now, whether the digital conversion applies to just broadcast or also to cable, I am not sure. But NPR reports that basic cable customers are noticing that non-broadcast channels once part of the package are disappearing. The cable companies are now asking that their customers upgrade to the Digital Package or rent a set-top-box. This is basically extortion.

    And please don’t get me started on bandwidth cap with its implication on future video-over-internet services, traffic throttling, or the direct feed to the NSA on all our online activities.

    So, please, please, understand that while they may show a lovely smile when they show up, the implications of their policies are both very unpleasant and have real-world negative consequences.

    Thank you.

    Nazim

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