Tag Archives: customer service

Comcast Customer Service Is Still A Work in Progress

Comcast Service Truck

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 hasn’t been any better, as Comcast held the top position in the annual Customer Service Hall of Shame rankings.

Herrin’s 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, there’s 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 isn’t 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 Comcast’s 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.

A New Low in Customer Service

I think it is safe to say that the art of customer service is fast becoming a lost art.  If it isn’t already dead, then it is certainly on life support, and it appears that the doctors might be close to declaring it in a persistent vegetative state.  My apologies to anyone who might have gone through this obviously tragic and heartening situation with a loved one, I do not wish to diminish the sadness of such a thing, only to make the point that it is becoming harder to find, receive, and be treated like we, as customers, matter more than our checkbooks.  Instead, many of us are finding that those who are supposed to be the liaison between us and whatever product we’re purchasing, or already purchase appear to find us more of a nuisance than respected.

Wait staff at restaurants seem to give two flips about us, and yet expect us to give them a generous tip for their lackluster service, bank tellers seem to not give a hoot about who we are, or how long we have been a patron of their institution, and don’t get me started on the monoliths of government, such as the DMV or any other place where we might have to interact with government employees who operated in a zombie like state where they are incapable of moving too fast, or recognizing us as actual people.  All of that though may pale in comparison to a recent customer service encounter that happened in Norway.

A teenaged girl contacted her cellphone provider to complain about usage notifications and the exchange between her and the customer service rep apparently didn’t go too well.  It apparently went so bad that after the telephone conversation ended the customer service rep felt the need to send the girl a follow-up text message that reads as follows, “It’s rare to encounter this level of cheek. Hope you burn in hell!”  Needless to say that once the phone company got word of this message, they fired that customer service representative.  To be fair though we do not know what the teenager said to the representative to spark such a reply, and I think we all would agree that teens can be prone to disrespect and more than a little sense of entitlement; but as anyone who has ever worked in any of the service industries knows, you cannot stoop to an angry customers level.  It also needs to be said that customer service is a two way street.  If you as the customer treat those who are providing the service with respect, you might be surprised at how much better service you receive.  As the old adage goes, you can attract more flies with a drop of honey than you can with a gallon of vinegar.