Tag Archives: comcast customer service

How to Become Even More Hated

Comcast is a company people love to hate.  Between its virtual monopoly in most of its markets, its high and constantly escalating prices, its abysmal customer service, and its attempts to take over the cable, broadcasting and entertainment worlds, how can you not hate Comcast?

The Curmudgeon has written about various Comcastic shenanigans on several occasions (including here, here, here, and here) and we all remember that now-legendary exchange between a guy trying to terminate his Comcast service and a Comcast customer service representative who just refused to provide that particular customer service.

Just a few weeks ago The Curmudgeon had his own little Comcast drama.  When his internet service died during the workday, the most a telephone customer service representative could do was permit The Curmudgeon to go to a Comcast store and swap his modem for a new one – and install it himself.  (Actually, the customer service representative didn’t know what to do, didn’t even suggest that, so The Curmudgeon, who has been down this road with Comcast many, many times, had to suggest it himself.)  When the new modem didn’t work, the best Comcast could do was offer a service technician house call – two days later.  After two more calls The Curmudgeon managed to wrangle a same-day service technician visit.

When that technician couldn’t immediately fix the problem he traced The Curmudgeon’s line to “the box” – The Curmudgeon has no idea what or where that is – and came back with an explanation:  someone had unplugged The Curmudgeon’s line in the box.  And who can that have been?  Well, since the box is locked, the only person who could have done it was…

You guessed it:  another Comcast service technician.

After that it still took an hour to restore The Curmudgeon’s service because the new modem turned out to be defective.  The technician said that’s not uncommon because the inferior modems Comcast rents its customers are so cheap.  (In fact, he said he went through a whole carton of defective modems the previous week.)  The technician also blew a half-hour fussing over the lack of speed of The Curmudgeon’s internet connection because he misread his service call’s specifications and thought he was shooting for a much greater speed than the account stipulated.

Comcast knows it’s the company people hate, too.  How else to explain why it’s trying to erase its name from the public consciousness and become known as “Xfinity” instead even though Xfinity isn’t even a word?  (Maybe they hope all our head-scratching over the strange word will distract us from remembering that it’s related to Comcast.)

But just lately The Curmudgeon has observed that Comcast continues to show a real knack for doing things that will make even more people – even non-customers – hate it.

In all the time The Curmudgeon has looked for art expressing dislike for a company he’s writing about he has never encountered so many such images as he did when he searched for material about Comcast – and as you can see, he couldn’t choose just one

The latest:  the home page for The Curmudgeon’s web browser is philly.com, home of Philadelphia’s two major daily newspapers, the Inquirer and the Daily News.  He visits this web site numerous times every day, and when he does, and even though he employs a powerful ad blocker that had virtually eliminated the annoying problem of pop-ups, every time he visits, up pops – an ad, strangely, for Comcast and not for Xfinity.

And not just once when you visit the site, either:  it pops up on every second or third article you view.  You have to wait while it sloooooooooowly scrolls down to cover virtually the entire screen before you can remove it.  It is incredibly irritating and it’s hard to believe that anyone who visits that site to read more than an article or two doesn’t start swearing about Comcast and its employees’ relationships with their female parents.

The really amazing thing is when you realize that a reasonably high-level executive at the company, based on the recommendation of a committee of people whose work is highly respected, decided that this was a good way to reach customers with a new message, would appeal to people, and would not in any way alienate those who encountered both the ad and its constant repetition.

When it comes to having a knack for doing things that will make people who don’t even know you hate you and people who already hate you hate you even more, nobody – nobody – does it better than the tone-deaf folks at Comcast.

A Customer Service Quiz

What do you call a company that leases its customers equipment that’s so inferior that it’s constantly breaking down and in need of replacement?

What do you call a company that reduces the hours of the stores where you get replacements for that cheap equipment?

What do you call a company that makes those stores bigger and nicer but also makes them less efficient by requiring employees to walk long distances to retrieve that replacement equipment instead of turning around and grabbing it off a shelf, as they did in the past?

What do you call a company that develops such a bad reputation for customer service that it decides to change its name to escape that self-imposed but well-deserved stigma?

The Curmudgeon doesn’t know what YOU call and he knows what THEY want us to call it but HE calls it Comcast.comcast2


Customer Service Hell

In general, people seem to hate their cable television carrier.  In particular, they seem to hate Comcast, the biggest and baddest of the cable carriers.

The Curmudgeon is among those who have a beef with Comcast, although it’s not serious.  The internet signal he receives, and to a lesser extent the television signal, is very weak, resulting in frequent but usually brief service interruptions.  When he calls about interruptions Comcast customer service personnel always inform The Curmudgeon that the lines through which he receives service were purchased from another carrier and not laid by Comcast – as if this should matter to a customer.  Because the signal is weak, it really won’t accommodate a high-quality cable modem, so The Curmudgeon has to settle for Comcast’s own cheap modems, which generally last no more than eighteen months.  This means frequent trips to the Comcast store to swap modems:  trade in the old, cheap modem and leave the store with a new, cheap modem.

And to be fair, The Curmudgeon has had a few recent and spectacular conversations with Comcast customer service employees in which they quickly diagnosed complex problems he explained to them and then talked him through detailed, step-by-step instructions to fix those problems.  The Curmudgeon was impressed – very impressed.  (And by the way:  on the first of those two problems the customer service person was in India and on the second she was in the Philippines.  The moral of this part of the story seems to be that you’ll get much better service from the overseas staff.)

But sometimes something happens that can destroy the kind of goodwill such excellent service can engender, and that very kind of disaster went viral last week when a poor Comcast customer had the audacity to attempt to cancel his service and was hassled and tormented by a Comcast customer service representative for an amazing eight minutes.  If you haven’t heard this, clear a few minutes from your busy schedule and listen here (scroll down and hit the white arrow inside the red circle; make sure the sound on your device is on).

Now THAT’S customer service hell.