Comcast Redeems Itself, Somewhat
On the internet front, things seem to be fixed. But boy oh boy, what it took to get there…
What I learned from my ordeal was that yes, my instinct was correct – it’s not that Comcast has bad people working for them – though I’m sure it’s possible there are a few, I didn’t encounter them in trying to get this fixed – it’s that they have set up a system for customer “service” that virtually renders it impossible for their employees to deliver it.
Here’s what finally happened: after posting my Comcast rant, I got disgusted again and called again, and got a guy on the phone who was willing to entertain something beyond “let’s just set up another tech appointment.” True, I did have to diagnose the problem myself and also communicate my suspicion that the main cable line or relays or something was worn out and being affected by the high temps we’ve been having. He went and looked at the map and asked, “is this street in your vicinity?” Well, yes. Yes it is, in fact the houses on that street back up to the same alley MY house backs up to. Turns out there are two internet outages reported on that street, and mine, and those are the ONLY internet customers Comcast has on the block, and the ONLY outages they have reported anywhere in the area. “That’s it,” I tell him, “there’s a bad line or relay coming down the alley on our block.” So, he says he’s going to set up another service appointment for the following morning – their procedure is that they are gonna make you sit home for another service call before they’ll put maintenance on it, even if you know what’s wrong, which is dumb – plus he will have his supervisor call when she gets back from lunch. I never did hear from her, but a guy in the office here called later that afternoon thanks to an email this guy sent. I go through the whole scenario with him too, and he’s continuing to insist that a service rep will have to come to my house before they can dispatch maintenance.
The next morning, the internet is working. The service tech calls about coming out; I tell him, “you can come out if you like, but I don’t know what the point is, since it’s working at the moment and we’ve already determined that the problem is on the alley. Or if you want to wait till noon, it will go out by then.” He says he’s going to make sure maintenance has a ticket on it and call me back. At noon, the internet goes out and I call the service tech back on the cell number he called me from; no answer, so I leave a message. I never did hear back from him. So around 4 in the afternoon, I call the guy here who had called the previous afternoon, and I don’t get him either but leave him a message to the effect of “WTF? Is the repair scheduled or not?”
So…that evening, the comment on the Comcast rant below gets posted. I have to say I’m really in awe of that – that Comcast pays people to troll the internet looking for people badmouthing Comcast, rather than just fixing their customer service procedures – but that’s what they do. I sent the guy an email in which I quite pointedly noted that PR is NOT customer service, and that if they would take care of the latter they’d have little need for the former, but that it spoke volumes about the horrible but well-deserved reputation they have for customer service that they feel like they need people on the payroll to put out fires online. I close with the suggestion that, for a reasonable fee, I’ll show them how to set up a customer service system that actually works.
Anyhoo…first thing this morning, there’s an email response from Comcast’s damage control team. And then, around 10:00, a Comcast truck rolls up in front of the house; a guy comes to the door and says he understands there’s a problem with the cable service at the house. “No,” I say, “the problem is on the alley. There are two more houses on the next street over who are out too.” Further amazement – even after all of this, I’m not sure anyone has communicated to the crew where the problem is. And I leave it at that; by this time, I’m just not going to deal with anyone tromping through the house again for no reason. So…they sit out in front of the house a little while, then drive off. When I hear the neighbors’ dogs barking, I know they’re back on the alley. The internet goes out for about 20 minutes, then it comes back on and has been on ever since. The supervisor guy here called back this afternoon to make sure things were working, and then the guy leading the service crew called later on. Turns out there was a bad relay – quel surprise. And…good on all of them; they fixed the problem and actually got it done in a reasonable amount of time.
But sweet lord, what it took to get to that point! And that is totally none of these guys’ fault.
The moral of this story? If you’re having a problem with your Comcast service, and the first couple of calls to customer service don’t get you anywhere, bitch about it on your blog, or put out a ranting tweet or post on your ShoutyFace page, and wait for the PR flacks to come calling.
Once the flacks get involved, your issue is as good as resolved.
Of course the great irony here is that this is a communications company which apparently cannot communicate internally. Then again, that may explain the preference for PR flackery over a good service model. In any case, thank god it’s over.