I am a Comcast customer. I actually love Comcast. I have their high speed internet service, cable and an HD box to compliment my wicked Sony TV. I am a huge fan of On Demand and their programming is second to none. I’ve called customer support a few times over the last 8 years and honestly … sometimes the issue was my fault, not theirs.
A few years ago, Frank Eliason did something awesome. He started monitoring Twitter for Comcast mentions and he quickly realized that there was an opportunity for him to solve customer problems. And he did just that. A quick scan of the ComcastCares proves that this channel has been effective for Comcast as a customer support channel. To this day, I still see case studies, white papers, blog posts and even examples in books of Comcast and their effort to engage with the social customer. Bill Gerth, who is now the face of Comcast Cares is carrying on the legacy day in and day out – hats off to Comcast, Bill and the entire support team for this amazing effort. It’s not easy.
But here is the problem. And, I am not picking on Comcast but this is a lesson for all business. Look what I found when I searched for Comcast in Twitter.
Of course, if you searched for any brand or product in Twitter you would undoubtedly get similar results. Customers on Twitter are not afraid to speak their minds; and often times they do it a little too much which is certainly irritating at times.
I am confident that Bill and the Comcast team addressed each and every one of the issues highlighted above. They are doing what a good “social brand” should be doing … listening to the customer and solving problems. But there is deeper issue here. The Comcast Guarantee states that “We will always be on time within your appointment window or we’ll credit you $20 or give you a free premium channel for three months.”Judging from the above, Comcast is having a hard time living up to their own guarantee and I have to ask why?
Because I am customer and “pulling” for Comcast since they were one of the early pioneers of customer support via Twitter, I am going to assume that they have already hired some consultant or six sigma brain wizard from Stanford who is looking to eliminate waste internally. If they really want to address these customer support issues, they need to tackle the “root cause” of the problem. If a technician can’t make the 3 hour appointment window, they need to understand why and fix the process.
This is one attribute of a social business - which is gathering the collective feedback from the community and changing a business models or process, if it makes sense of course. In this case though I think it does.