We’ve all heard horror stories about Comcast and, let’s face it, every large corporation has its share of dismal customer service experiences from time to time.
The problem with Comcast, some would argue, is that it’s often the only choice for many people. Take me, for example. Next week, I’ll be moving into an apartment in an area of Boston where Comcast is the only cable provider I can use. I can’t get DirecTV or DISH because doing so requires the mounting of a satellite dish which, in turn requires permission from my landlord, who (understandably) doesn’t want an unsightly saucer hanging off the side of his building.
My initial thought was to just subscribe to basic cable and use a high definition antenna to get my local stations in HD. Basic cable from my local Comcast office costs under $9 per month. Great deal, right? The problem is, the channels offered are basically (no pun intended) the same as the OTA channels. There’s no NESN or ESPN included, so no Red Sox or Monday Night Football. The price for standard cable skyrockets to over $50 to get a normal cable lineup. I thought I’d take my business elsewhere but after some research realized that there is no "elsewhere" in many places.
So we have a company that, in many areas, is the only game in town. As such, customer service, while necessary, probably isn’t going to be as high a priority for a company like this as it would be for a company that had a lot of competition.
I haven’t experienced some of the more appalling Comcast horror stories but I have been unlucky enough to have a technician pick up my cable box and turn it in under the wrong serial number which resulted in a $400 charge to my credit card that took six months to get resolved. Also, when I canceled the cable from my currently empty for-sale house in Minneapolis, Comcast sent out a technician to disconnect everything, which he did by severing the main cable line that goes into the house with what appeared to be a knife instead of climbing up to the box and disconnecting the cable from there. Another Comcast auditor was out here yesterday taking pictures of everything and muttering, "What the hell kind of technician did this?"
Consumerist.com has a great article from a Comcast customer service rep that contains information about how things are run from the inside. Apparently, reps are told never to escalate a call to a supervisor unless the customer is irate. So if you calmly ask to speak to a supervisor, the rep is supposed to try to handle everything without letting you speak to his or her superior. The customer service center is also disconnected from the technicians’ dispatchers so that if you call to see why your technician hasn’t shown up, the person on the other end will have no idea where the tech is either. They must send an e-mail to the dispatch center and wait to be e-mailed back. Finally, if a technician calls you before your appointment and you don’t answer, they’ll cancel the appointment. If that’s true, that would infuriate me Lou Ferrigno style.
5 Confessions Of A Comcast Customer Service Rep [Consumerist]