Comcast…need I say more?

Sometimes these blogs just write themselves.

We are moving and one of the most dreaded parts of these moves is calling Comcast and changing the cable and internet service. This becomes even more difficult when moving within the Comcast system – in this case between Chicago and Minneapolis. The latest effort just reminded me how difficult it is to improve and bring the voice of the customer to the changes.

It really was a simple request: Cancel my Chicago Internet service and transfer the email addresses to Minneapolis. It’s the same company. It’s a simple task. It’s a net gain in revenue. C’mon, how hard can it be?

OK. Let’s start with the good side. No one hung up on me. Everyone was very friendly and tried to be empathetic. The VP’s welcome message was very nice (though annoying on the third or fourth call). I wasn’t asked to enter my account number multiple times. All of these were great improvements from previous calls…but they did very little to solve my core need. Why couldn’t they just make the system work better?

Just make it easier to get what I want!! It took seven different people to solve my issue. First, it was one complete turn around the “moving” process, presumably set up precisely to handle my request. I started on the moving line, was shunted to Minneapolis, then to Chicago, off to technical services, and finally told to start back with the moving line. Determined, I started over, spoke with a very nice woman who wanted to start the same path. She listened and short-circuited the process, offering to stay on the phone until I reached the right person. Great…until I found myself alone with the auto-menu again. I (finally) made it through the gauntlet, found the right person, and was graciously and efficiently helped!!

Are you ready for the punch line…the irony…the unexpected?

After all the people and the multiple calls, Comcast had automatically changed all of my addresses to my new account. They did exactly what I wanted them to do…perfectly…without my intervention. WOW! I was so astounded that I called twice more to confirm that it was done.

I should have been ecstatic. Instead, once again, I was left shaking my head at how a company could work so hard to get better – remember they did what I wanted and were nice about it – but still miss the boat with their changes.

So what can we learn from these calls? Let’s start with these ideas:

  • Keep the end result in mind. Know what the customer really wants. Ask them and don’t assume anything.
  • Good processes are necessary, but not sufficient. The operators were all competent and helpful. The right changes were made. It didn’t come together in a complete package.
  • Eliminate system obstacles. One of the difficulties in this change was that no one had the complete picture of my two accounts. I suspect that neither the corporate management system, nor the IT system provide that view.
  • Check your success. Two or three question surveys at the end of a call don’t cut the mustard. In fact, they may be worse than nothing, if the customer never makes it that far.

Comcast is working hard to improve, and they’ve made improvements. Let’s make sure we learn from their experience and implement changes that actually matter to our customers!





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