While this is from 2009 it tells an interesting story about how a CEO pretends that Social Media changed the face of Comcast.
Sadly Comcast could never got to a point where the positive front end was igniting more change in the back end of the company. A pattern we see in many very early engaged companies who never actually introduced a comprehensive social media strategy and stood kind of still at the experimentation level.
In retrospect, it’s no surprise that Frank Eliason left the company. Still today Comcast is considered unethical and have unacceptable business practices by charging more than originally proposed, not terminating accounts as agreed and so forth. Social Media would be of no help to such a company at all – it only uncovers the issues in a broader public. But even that makes no difference in a monopoly. Consumers have no alternative.
I ordered a Comcast connection for the forth time since we terminated contracts for our yacht during the winter time.
Today May 29, 2012 it took over 60 Minutes to complete an order for a $29 Internet Connection including a person online processing this order manually. An unparalleled example of inefficiency and unacceptable business practices.
Everything I entered into a form needed to be manually confirmed and verified then processed against other systems. Obviously it takes time and patience for the poor service rep to excuse himself for the situation. In addition I had to pay for an order that I canceled before because it wasn’t what we ordered. And we had this issue with Comcast before. And again this time: The online order form confirmed a $15 setup fee – but then the agents asked to pay $35 – after some ‘negotiation’ he offered $25 as an installation fee. And if we look into the Internet we see those cases over and over. Yet – what can you do when dealing with a monopoly?
Here is what it takes to process the order:
Ramon Paterno: Hello Axel, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Ramon Paterno. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Ramon Paterno: Thank you for contacting Comcast Chat Sales where our top priority is making sure you are set up with the Comcast services that meet your needs. I will be providing you the best customer service experience with the best services in the market. How are you doing today?
Axel: Hi Ramon :)
Ramon Paterno: Hello there, Axel! I’m here to help you with your Comcast needs.
Ramon Paterno: Please give me 3 minutes to review the information you’ve just submitted.
Ramon Paterno: Thanks! I appreciate your patience, Axel.
user Axel has left room
Ramon Paterno: I see here that you want to take advantage of our Performance – Special Offer Package, is this correct?
Axel: Not sure but like to get the Internet package for 29.95 :)
Ramon Paterno: I see. Thank you for confirming.
Ramon Paterno: I also see here that you’d like to have your own modem, is this correct?
Ramon Paterno: I mean you’d like to use your own modem, is this correct?
Axel: Yes, I have a Cisco Router that I will use
Axel: Actually a modem with router
Ramon Paterno: I see. Alright, no problem there, Axel. Let me process this for you.
Ramon Paterno: I will need to create an account for you here with us, Axel. In order for me to create your account, I will need the following information: 1. full SSN number for future verification purposes 2. Nearest cross street for our technicians to properly locate the residence 3. Contact # for us to reach you 15 minutes prior to your appointment. Rest assured, all information given will be treated with utmost confidentiality.
Axel: I entered them in the form
Ramon Paterno: I just need to confirm them here in my end, Axel. Thank you.
Axel: SSN is xxx-xx-xxxx, cross street is nnnnnnn, contact info 555 555 5555
Ramon Paterno: Thank you for the information, Axel.
Ramon Paterno: Comcast has recently adopted stricter Federal guidelines to protect our customers from identity theft. In order for me to create your Comcast account, I am required to do a Credit Check. Do I have your approval?
Ramon Paterno: Alright. Running Credit check now.
Ramon Paterno: As per Credit check results, you will no longer need to pay a deposit. However, I see here that you have an account balance of $57.27. We will need to settle this first before I can proceed with your order. I am able to take payment now using a credit card.
Axel: Where is that balance coming from?
Ramon Paterno: According to my system here, it’s coming from an old account registered in your name.
Axel: This is almost impossible. We terminated the account correctly and paid everything.
Ramon Paterno: I see. Let me see what I can do.
Ramon Paterno: Just to set expectations, in the event that I will not be able to find solutions to this problem, Axel, the best thing that you can do is to call the nearest local center and have your account checked there I do have their number and I would be very happy to give it to you.
Ramon Paterno: Let me see what I can do first.
Ramon Paterno: May I have 3 minutes of your time for this?>
Ramon Paterno: *this?
Axel: Sure – I’ll wait
Ramon Paterno: Alright. No problem. Thanks for your patience.
Ramon Paterno: Hi, Axel. Thank you for waiting. I tried to see what we can do on your package. Unfortunately, the best way to have this issue resolved is for you to contact our local office. I’ve already exhausted everything here in my end. If you want, I can give you the number of your local office. Will you be needing this?
Axel: OK – let’s do this. I will pay the balance by credit card now and try to get a reimbursment as soon as I’m back in the country – OK?
Ramon Paterno: Alright, no problem.
Ramon Paterno: I’ll give you a secure link to place your credit card information in.
Ramon Paterno: We have generated a one time use web page for you to submit your credit card details. This is a secure web page where you can submit your credit card details. Please click the following link or copy and paste it in your browser to submit your credit card details. Pease remember that clicking on the link will utilize the one time web page and can not be reused.
Axel: –Customer has submitted credit card info–
Axel: OK done
Ramon Paterno: Thank you, Axel. Please give me 2 minutes to process this for you. Once we’re done, I can proceed. Thanks.
Ramon Paterno: Hi, Axel. I will need more time for me to process this for you. Please stay online.
Ramon Paterno: Thanks. I appreciate your patience. I’ll be doing this as fast as I can.
Ramon Paterno: Axel, on the Credit card name field on the previous link, I see here that you filled up the field with “ATT Master Card” instead of your name as how it appears on the card. May I have this information please?
Axel: Ahh sorry here is the name: Axel Schultze
Ramon Paterno: Thanks, Axel. I successfully processed the payment here in my end. Proceeding with the order now.
Ramon Paterno: It’s perfectly understandable, Alex. No need to worry about it.
Axel: How many clients do you handle simultaneously? Just curious :)
Ramon Paterno: In all honesty, I’m actually handling 2 customers simultaneously. I do hope you’re not offended. It’s just because of the heavy chat volume today, that’s why I’m handling 2 customers.
Ramon Paterno: By the way, Axel, just to set expectations, there will be a one-time installation fee for $34.99 for your services.
Axel: NO offense at all :) I’m just curious. Processing a $29 order taking over 30 minutes so far and a person online is just unimaginable. Way too inefficient :)
Ramon Paterno: I mean, for the installation of your service.
Axel: The web site said it is a $15 one time fee
Ramon Paterno: I perfectly understand, Axel, and I am sorry for the delay. Aside from that, we’re currently experiencing system updates that is currently slowing down our system here a bit. Please bear with me. I’m doing this as fast as I can.
Ramon Paterno: The $15.00 fee is for the delivery of the Self-Install Kits, which, unfortunately, will not be possible in this case because of the status of the address that you’re currently in.
Axel: NO – the address was entered first and then the system said it’s $15 based on the address. There was Internet befor and All I need is to be enabled.
Ramon Paterno: Alright, let me check on what I can do about this, Axel.
Ramon Paterno: Please give me 3 minutes for this.
Axel: Please :)
Ramon Paterno: Alright Axel, I was able to check here in my end, and I was able to reduce that installation amount to $25.00. Unfortunately, this is the best that I can do, since I double-checked the status of your location here in my end and I was able to verify that the Comcast cable was actually disconnected from the pole. To reactivate your services, our back-office technicians will have to coordinate with the technicians in the field in resuming your services. I hope you understand, Axel.
Axel: I’m so sorry for you Ramon – It must be a terrible feeling to work for a company as unethical as Comcast. That is cheating wherever they can simply leveraging their monopoly. I very much hope one day you find a position at a business with style and respect.
Axel: And since I don’t have a choice I will accept the $25
Ramon Paterno: Thanks, Axel. I’m almost done processing the order for you. I will be giving you a summary in a bit.
Ramon Paterno: When would you like to have your services installed, Axel?
Axel: Ideally this Friday morning
Ramon Paterno: The soonest that we have is on Friday, June 1, 2012, between 8:30-10:00 in the morning. Will this be fine?
Ramon Paterno: Great! Let me set it up for you then.
Ramon Paterno: Please be aware that we need someone over the age of 18 and who speaks English during the technician visit. The installation will be on June 01, 2012 between 8:30AM and 10:00AM. He will call 15 minutes before the appointment at this number 555 555 5555. Just to remind you, if by any chance you miss the call, the appointment may not be honored.
Ramon Paterno: If you will not be present upon installation, anyone who speaks English and is above 18 years old can be there for you, as long as they have a copy of any of your valid ID and a letter from you, authorizing that person to be there on your behalf.
Ramon Paterno: Before we finish up I’d like to just take a minute to review what we have done for you today. Here’s the details of your order: -Service/s Ordered: Performance – Special Offer, $29.99 per month for the first 6 months, rolls off to $44.99 for months 7-12. -One time installation fee: $25.00 -Total bill for the first month: $54.99 -Monthly Recurring Charges (MRC): $29.99 -Installation Date and Time: June 01, 2012 between 0830-1000 -Account number is: 111111111111111 -Order confirmation number: 1000000000000
Ramon Paterno: Please take your time in reviewing this information, Axel. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them. I’d be very happy to answer them for you.
Axel: ALL OK
Ramon Paterno: Great!
Ramon Paterno: Axel, everything is good to go! Would there be anything else that I can assist you with before we end today?
Now I wonder
Is that all we gained from privatization? “Embarrassing” is probably the fairest description. I just can’t imagine that investors enjoy investing in businesses that have a business practice and inefficient processes like Comcast.