Today at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts spoke on stage with Federated Media’s John Battelle. For the first part of the discussion, they talked about the usual stuff: the state of the industry, competition, and the like. The answers were pretty PR-friendly, as you’d expect. But a bit of a surprise came with Battelle asked about the role Twitter is playing with the company.
“It has changed the culture of our company,” Roberts said. Comcast has for a while now been using Twitter to scan for complaints and engage with customers. The idea was not his, but rather rose organically when someone in the company realized that a lot of public complaints were being sent over Twitter.
Roberts went on to note that “Famous Frank,” also known as Frank Eliason (Comcastcares on Twitter), now has 11 people working under him simply to respond to information about Comcast being broadcast on Twitter. Roberts says that it’s an entirely different kind of dialogue coming in then the usual phone complaints, and he seems very pleased about the work the team has done with the customers on Twitter.
He also noted that it’s not just Twitter the company is using now to engage with customers. They also use Facebook and some of the other networks.
As a very unhappy Comcast customer, I’ve had a number of interactions with Comcast’s Twitter team. There’s no doubt, they are very responsive, and are trying to be helpful. The real problem Comcast has is that their product and all other forms of service are simply not up to par, to put it nicely (I often put it much less nicely on Twitter).
Still, Comcast is a great example of a large company using Twitter in a meaningful way. And don’t think for a second that Twitter doesn’t know that. Expect them to unleash their monetization idea about charging these companies sometime soon.