Rhonda from Comcast Corporate is one nice lady. Between the phone message she left last night and the pleasant conversation we just had, it feels like I’ve been thanked for being a Comcast customer about a zillion times. She promised to have an A/B switch sent to me right away, and will call to follow up in a few days. Also, she gave me the corporate number anyone can call if they really want a human being to solve their problems: 215-665-1700.
Background: Things went haywire in a hurry when I asked customer service a question by typing instead of talking (see previous post). Why, I wondered, couldn’t I get an intelligent response to a simple query via email? I am one of those who prefer to communicate with businesses by email. I’ll only pick up the phone if email doesn’t work, or if I’m in a hurry for an answer.
Long story short, lawyers have instilled a deathly fear of having anything “in writing” in Comcast executives. So their the policy– which was not followed in my case– is to send a canned response, and if the customer goes away, great! If the customer replies, however, the representative is supposed to pick up the phone and call the customer.
That’s what didn’t happen in my case, and Rhonda has contacted “Diane” to explain. Poor Diane. She might be just like me, a person who just happens to prefer email to the phone.
But she’s a small cog in the giant corporation, which must protect itself from emails that could be dredged up and used by forces hostile to Comcast, costing them millions.
I’ve tried to relay all this without sarcasm or bias. Most Comcast employees are good folks just like you and me, trying to make a living. And they do watch tweets and blogs (although I had help getting their attention from the friendly and approachable Eric Stark, who wrote the article that started me on my quest).
I do think the decision-makers at Comcast could do a better job of not wasting our time. First, obviously, the front-line warriers who respond to email queries could use better training. But second and more important, the policy as explained by Rhonda– even when executed perfectly– is insulting and time-wasting to those of us who prefer to communicate via the keyboard.
My recommendation to Comcast is to post some kind of warning that the best route to full and complete answers is via phone. There must be some way for them to be honest with us on their customer service page without using Dilbert-like directness such as: “Please enter your query here. We will intentionally waste your time with a canned response that has only a 10% chance of answering your question. However, since we’ve found that an additional 40% of customers get discouraged and quit after receiving a canned response, it WORKS FOR US! WOO HOO!!! HIGH FIVE!!! Thanks for being a Comcast customer.”