Friday, September 23, 2011

Wherein I Stab Comcast in its Figurative Eye

I am a stickler for customer service. I will be an infinitely loyal customer and sing your praises and send you love notes if you value me as a customer and treat me with respect. As someone with two business degrees, I've read a whole lot of case studies on customer service, and it astonishes me how often companies (who may even otherwise have excellent products and services) are a massive fail in this area.

I think my most loathed company of all time is Comcast. I'm fairly certain they have the worst management, the most incompetent representatives, and the least authority to actually serve a customer of any company in the history of the world. For instance, just now, Comcast overcharged me (surprise!) for our Internet. We don't have cable or a landline, but I refuse to pay the ridiculous charge they normally give for high-speed Internet. So for the past several years, they've agreed to give me a lower rate for (slightly) slower Internet. This works just fine for us, as we don't download/upload lots of things, nor do we do a lot of streaming. Not to mention the fact that it's usually fast enough for that, anyway.

However, every few months or so, they randomly increase my rate and I have to call them and yell at them for randomly increasing my rate without telling me. Just now, they increased my rate by almost $15/month, without so much as informing me of it. They told me that they had just performed an "audit," and that I had mistakenly been paying a lower rate, one that was applicable for bundled services. This is absurd, as multiple representatives assured me that I could have that rate, and that it would continue and not go up. They guaranteed that this was the rate just for the "economy" Internet, and that my rate was accurate and stable.

Just now, I called and waited on the line for at least 10-15 minutes to talk to a representative (who clearly had no authority to do anything, so I usually just bypass them and ask for the supervisor), then waited for at least 20 for a supervisor, at which point I was told the supervisor was busy and would call me back "shortly." When I asked what "shortly" meant (10 minutes or an hour?), I was told that she didn't know.

Contrast that with Chase. Now, I have to say, Chase used to be fairly annoying, too. But man, they have clearly stepped up their game and I've been seriously impressed in my last few interactions. This time, my email address got messed up in their system, so I never received my paperless statement. For whatever reason, I never received a statement in the mail, either. Because of this, I missed my payment due date (which I never do - I have literally always paid off my statements in full).

So I called them, and was on the line with a representative in no more than 2 minutes. I explained the situation, ensured that my paperless statements were fixed, and asked if they could reverse the late fee/interest charge, which they immediately did - zero hassle. I was on the phone - wait time, explaining, reversing, thanking, fixing the address/email address problem, etc. - for 5 minutes and 33 seconds, according to my call log. Not only that, but they were pleasant and knowledgeable and accountable and responsive and had authority to actually do something to help a customer. You can bet I'll be a Chase fan for life.

These kinds of things get me so worked up and I've toyed with the idea of spotlighting various companies with excellent/really poor business practices (not just in the realm of customer service, but also that), but I'm guessing that would be interesting to no one but me. Gah.


Ali said...

Actually, I would be really interested in something like that! I'm always fascinated by the way companies take care of -or don't take care of! - their customers.

We don't have comcast, but my in laws do. My sympathies.

erica said...

I loathe Comcast! In fact that isn't even a strong enough word to explain how I feel about them. Recently they cancelled our cable without telling us (they claimed we called and cancelled) and charged us for not returning the box. We gladly discontinued our cable with them. They also charged us a rental fee for a modem we owned. We had to take our proof of purchase to prove we actually owned the modem for them to reverse the charges!