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Last Updated: May 16, 2014

 


 

Maps are great for finding things that you already know are there. If you want to know where a Target is in your area it's easy enough to pop over to Google Maps and search for Target. Unfortunately, maps are really bad (incapable, actually) of telling you what's provided in your area. Availability.net strives to offer a comprehensive list of what services are available broken out by zip code. That way, if you want to know what you can get in your zip code you can simply go to that page and find out.

 

Comcast Customer Service Is Still A Work in Progress


Posted: August 20, 2015 by David Curry



For years, Comcast has been hounded by complaints about under-performing TV and internet service and almost non-existent customer support staff. In an effort to reverse course, the telecom behemoth announced earlier this year that they were promoting a new VP for customer experience. When Charlie Herrin took over this role he admitted that it would be a long undertaking and that results would not be instantaneous. He certainly has his work cut out for him, especially after embarrassing incidents in 2014 included a customer service representative berating someone attempting to close his account and a frustrated user being charged $1,000 after canceling his inconsistent service. The first part of 2015 hasnít been any better, as Comcast held the top position in the annual Customer Service Hall of Shame rankings.

Herrinís first step toward addressing the customer service issues was by making the initial interaction for new Comcast customers as pleasant as possible. This meant narrowing appointment windows for when the cable guy would arrive to set up the service. To help this process run smoothly, the company launched an app that allows customers to track the location of the cable man in real time. This way, thereís no need to put off that quick trip to the store to fill a prescription, whereas before, customers were left sitting around for six hours, never sure if they could run a quick errand for fear that they would miss the installation provider and have to make a new appointment. Despite these improvements in being able to track service technicians, Comcast isnít stopping there. They are also instituting a new program where a customer receives a $20 credit if a technician arrives late to a scheduled appointment.

The next part of Comcastís plan is to improve the quality of customer service providers, both over the phone and at their stores. An essential component to this transformation is hiring an additional 5,500 representatives to lessen wait times. Each of these new employees will undergo increased technical training, as well as workshops designed to improve their interpersonal communication skills. We all know that these skills will be put to the test, so we commend Comcast for recognizing that what they have been providing their employees in terms of communication and anger management techniques has not been enough.

The last part of the customer service turnaround involves physical store locations. In addition to more capable individuals running the places, Comcast is working to make it easier for customers to exchange cable boxes, pay their bills, and receive additional information about their accounts. Some locations have already received a facelift and include additional seating, video screens that show the customer's number in line, and a special counter specifically set aside for returning and exchanging cable boxes. Furthermore, Comcast has made an agreement with the UPS Store so that customers may now return their cable boxes to any of their locations without penalty.

All of these changes certainly sound good, but Comcast has made similar, albeit less ambitious, declarations of improved customer service in the past. Until tangible results are evident, Charlie Herrin remains on the hot seat.

TV Everywhere and TiVo Expansion


Posted: August 10, 2015 by David Curry



In an era when cable television subscriptions are declining, many of the largest providers are working together to promote the TV Everywhere concept. Comcast, Mediacom, HBO, and others are making a concerted effort to educate their subscribers about the existence of TV Everywhere. Research studies have shown that over 25% of cable television subscribers are unaware that they have access to the various platforms which allow them to watch both network- and cable-produced shows on their computers and mobile devices. The companies developed the system in an effort to stem the tide of cord-cutting customers who are canceling their cable video services and flocking to streaming video providers, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime.

A number of issues have haunted TV Everywhere since its development. The most serious issues involve live television broadcasts. As it stands, only a limited number of cable channels have agreed on retransmission terms that allow for their content to be carried on mobile devices at the same time that it airs on TV. The major broadcast networks, comprising CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, have yet to agree on terms for TV Everywhere, in large part due to issues surrounding regional affiliates and geographic overlap. Although they are considered secondary issues compared to transmission rights, problems with user authentication and passwords remain a stumbling block for TV Everywhere, according to an industry report published in late 2014. Cable companies are working to resolve these concerns and streamline the overall experience for customers accessing TV Everywhere on their phone, computer, or tablet.

Despite the adversity facing cable companies, TiVo has seen increased revenue and subscriber totals as a result of its Roamio OTA DVR. This system is designed to locate and record the freely-provided television shows disseminated by TV stations. For around a one-time cost of $50 and a monthly subscription of $15, users are able to watch live television on their TV and stream it to devices on the same wireless network. Furthermore, TiVoís DVR system boasts integrated streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu Plus, so that consumers have access to their subscription services on the same platform that they watch broadcast television, a prime example of the type of streamlined integration TV Everywhere has yet to achieve.

TiVo has reached out to the smaller cable companies that offer both broadband internet and cable TV packages in an effort to create new working relationships. In particular, TiVo is targeting these companies so that they can generate revenue by leasing the Roamio DVRs to broadband-only customers. While this sort of arrangement is unlikely to be as lucrative as individuals subscribing to a full cable package, it could provide some economic relief for cable companies that are hurting from cord-cutter abandonment. So far agreements to establish this leasing program have been reached with Frontier and WideOpenWest (WOW), while ongoing talks continue with other providers across America.