You’ve probably seen the commercials about how Comcast cable TV is “Comcastic.”
Well, sure, the services are great. Having a lot of digital channels available with very limited outage, a high-speed Internet connection that has yet to let me down and having a home phone with unlimited long-distance and cool features is pretty awesome.
Why then, would I spend time on a weekend trying to figure out the best deal I could get from AT&T? It’s not about price — AT&T’s would be within the same range for similar products. It’s not about the services — those are comparable, too.
No, it’s about service. The only reason I had time to check out AT&T’s Web site was because I was on hold with Comcast’s automated phone system many, many times. The system told me on every return trip that the call may be monitored to improve customer service before it put me on hold and disconnected me a few minutes later.
So I went online to see what Comcast could do to help me via that route. After all, if you read this letter from Rick Germano, Senior Vice President of Customer Operations at Comcast, it’s all about the new ways they want to serve us better.
Unfortunately, nothing online helped. The phone number they gave me was the one for “Press 4 to be hung up on.” The live chat service sounded promising, until I clicked on it and was told it wasn’t available while Comcast worked to improve its system. There’s some irony for you.
I finally posted a snide comment to @comcastcares on Twitter and, to be fair, they responded rather quickly trying to see what they could do to make it right. Unfortunately, when they found out it was a billing problem, they couldn’t help me until Monday. Apparently the new “we work weekends” mantra doesn’t apply to all departments.
Now I’m not one to complain right away — companies usually have to really upset me to receive a good lashing. But this latest attempt to get a billing error corrected was the third. The first two times, the friendly Comcast staff told me a supervisor would take care of correcting the error and someone would call me back to confirm. No one ever called. The only thing they apparently had time to do was put out a threatening notice of my service being terminated if I didn’t pay my bill (which I had, minus the amount of the error).
Again, to be fair, AT&T wasn’t some knight in shining armor. In fact, they probably lost a sale because, while their online chat service worked initially and connected me with a friendly and helpful “Jessica,” it also abruptly ended our chat. Not only was the chat option closed to me, but I could no longer continue to shop for packages online, being told I had to call a toll-free number. (How that worked for deals available “only if purchased online,” I’m not sure.)
The point is that customers want more than services. Customers also want service. And letters like Germano’s are useless corporate messaging. Because it doesn’t matter how many ways you tell us you’re going to help, if we call and can’t get help, then all you’re providing is lip service. And that is Comdiculous.