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Comcast Really Does Care

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I have been a loyal Comcast High-Speed Internet customer for years. Their Speed/Price ratio blows away the local DSL competitor. In all these years, I have never had a service problem not related to a hurricane.

All these things combined have allowed me to switch several friends over to their service, and they are all happy with it.

Well, two weeks ago, my girlfriend's cable internet went down. Not just a little down, all the way. Here is where Comcast's big weakness shows. Their support is terrible.

I used to work for a tech support firm that had a Comcast account. I was not on it, but worked with several techs who had been. Cable's simplicity is fantastic... when it works. When it doesn't, this leaves a phone tech with basically 3 options. Check for an outage, powercycle the modem or roll a truck. A truly enterprising tech could check some line stats and possibly suggest a small tweak, but that's rarely going to be any help.

Well, no big deal. They're doing the best they can with what they've got. DSL support is MUCH more strenuous. Well, what about those trucks? Most of Comcast's technicians, if not all in many areas, don't actually work for Comcast. They're contractors, a third-party company. They really don't care whether or not they fix your problem. They show up, do a minimum amount of work, blame the problem on someone else, leave and get paid.

I will give Comcast some credit here, though. They seem to be cracking down on these contractors. Last time I had an issue, they had about a 75% rate of not even showing up.

Bottom line, unless something is SERIOUSLY wrong with the cable in your area, don't count on seeing an actual Comcast employee.

So, these techs came, and they went. And came, and went. And so on... One would install a new splitter, one would look at the wire running to the house. No, not inspect it, just walk outside and look at the bloody thing. One would replace the modem. One would run a new wire to the modem. One would install ANOTHER new splitter.

See where I'm going, here?

Like I said previously, I don't want our local DSL. Verizon FIOS isn't available in my area yet. It's Comcast or bust for me. They WILL fix this.

At this point, what more can we do, though? Well, I recalled a story I read on The Consumerist a while back about Comcast Frank. Comcast Frank is Frank Eliason, the Director of Customer Service for the ENTIRE freaking company.

And Frank likes to help people. His screen name is @comcastcares.

And they really do.

Frank very patiently listened to me whine, bitch and moan about our problems. He offered a startling amount of support via Twitter, then sent the issue up to the people who can fix it.

Unfortunately, this leads us to the bottleneck of local technicians again. Again, they did not disappoint in their disappointment. After several more techs, I was pissed. Frank informed me that there was a Work Order scheduled to fix a wiring issue outside. This was great news! Something new that could quite possibly be the problem. I mean, plenty of people have LOOKED at that wire, maybe actually TOUCHING it would help.

Saturday afternoon rolls around and there's a knock on the door. Allow me to let you in on a little secret. If you have a problem outside, and a dude knocks on your door with his little computer in hand, it ain't getting fixed. Whether they actually don't do work outside, or just SAY they don't, I'm not sure. He does the usual. He checks the modem, the splitter, takes a little stroll outside.

Before he can bail, I get proactive. I hop on my cell phone and pull up Twitter, informing Frank of what's going down. I get the greatest reply ever from Frank, "I just reached out to find out what they are doing there. I am looking forward to the response."

Suddenly, things change. The guy gets his ladder out and changes that damn wire. Guess what? The internet is running better than ever.

Buddy comes back in and gives me some story about how he "Called to check, and since we're the only house in the neighborhood with no internet, it MUST be that wire." Sure thing, Chief. I know what really went down. Frank said "get it done," and you coincidentally decided to change that wire.

So, a big shout out to Frank and his team, Bill, Bonnie and Mark.

However, I have to point something out. First of all, Twitter, while a useful service, should not be the best way to get support from a multi-billion dollar company. If your internet is out, accessing Twitter may not be an option, and you're stuck in phone/truck Hell again. Secondly, if these FOUR people can get done what hundreds, hell THOUSANDS, of others can't, isn't that a problem?

Comcast, you guys offer the best service that many residential customers can get. If your support system improves to match that, there would be no reason for ANYBODY to go to your competitors.

Fulguralis said...
October 13, 2009 at 2:24 PM  

HA HA HA. Way to turn a frown upside down. I might just throw babies on sporks.

In this case, I expect to see more of you soon. :-)

Awlbiste said...
October 13, 2009 at 2:53 PM  

Yeesh. I had Comcast for a year when I live in Michigan and had nothing but trouble, I'd get hours-long outages at LEAST once a week, and they simply couldn't/didn't do anything.

Now I have Qwest DSL and haven't had any problems whatsoever.

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