That's not the way to win fans, Comcast

Monday, February 09, 2009

I posted the other day about the funny exchange I had with Comcast’s online help. In the middle of last night, someone (or, more likely, some script) posted a comment.

Thanks for sharing this post and I apologize for the experience. I will make sure that this is passed on the appropriate department for evaluation. Most importantly, we would like to have our customers have a good experience. I am also sorry to learn that you are deciding to cancel your cable service. If you are interested, I can reach out to my contacts and see if we can offer a lower-rate package including both services for you. If you are interested, please send me the phone number listed on your account so that I can assist further. Thanks again for sharing this post. Best Regards, Mark Casem Comcast Corp. National Customer Operations We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

First of all, it’s nice that Comcast is looking at what people say about them online. This makes good business sense. But that’s where the good decisions end. What mistakes did Comcast make? Let me list them for you. First, they clearly didn’t read the post. The comment responds to the general gist of the post, but not the details. That, coupled with the timestamp, suggests that this was not a person but an automated script. Engaging dissatisfied bloggers in conversation about how you can provide better service is great. Spamming blog comments with vague promises to fix things is not. If Mark Casem wants to personally sign the comment, then I want Mark Casem’s email address, not some generic help address. Sure, this means that Mark Casem is going to get a lot of junk mail, but there are always costs associated with doing business. Comcast’s IT department can get a better spam firewall. Second, they could have contacted me directly. Every blog has an “About” page. Mine is right here. It tells you how to contact me. Some people already have. A ten-second personal email would have been so much more effective than this. Third, if a package is available at a lower rate, why don’t you just give that to people? Sure, it costs you some money on people who would have never known about it. But don’t you think it might create some customer loyalty? When Verizon Fios comes to DC, if they’re offering a better deal, do you think people who have been overpaying Comcast are going to stick around? It is somewhat ironic that a complaint about how the customer service people are nearly indistinguishable from a well-designed IM bot gets a response from another customer service person who is indistinguishable from a computer program. Or maybe it’s not ironic but appropriate. In any event, it’s unhelpful. Too bad Comcast didn’t make a real effort to engage me. I would have happily spoken to a real person, and would have blogged about the good experience. I know I complain a lot, so I make an extra effort to also talk about the things that go right. But you missed your chance this time, Comcast. I’m not emailing your help desk. If a real person comes back here and talks to me about my problem, not about the problem that other customers who use the same keywords have, I’ll talk. Edit to add: As you can see in the comments, Mark Casem replied directly with his email address. I’ll be contacting him later today, and I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Posted in: comcast , complaint , customer service , dc , harvardstreet