Look, I am defending Comcast... that is how irritated I am by the beginning of this article in the NYTIMES. There are perfectly legit angles to take shots at Comcast like the small amount of HD channels*hint hint* being offered at this time compared to say Directv or that whole compression of the signal issue. But this is just stupid.
I am more impressed when companies respond to issues in such a manner because it at least shows an effort. I praised the new Compusa store near me and got a message from them saying thanks. That goes a long way in keeping customer loyalty.
|Brandon Dilbeck, 20, a student at the University of Washington, was complaining recently on his blog, Brandon Notices, about Comcast’s practice of posting ads in its on-screen programming guide. |
He assumed he was writing for his own benefit. “It feels like nobody ever really reads my blog,” he said. “Nobody has left a comment in months.”
Shortly afterward, he received an e-mail message from Comcast, thanking him for the feedback and adding that it was working on a new interactive guide that might “illuminate the issues that you are currently experiencing.”
Mr. Dilbeck found it all a bit creepy. “The rest of his e-mail may as well have read, ‘Big Brother is watching you,’ ” he said.
But Frank Eliason, digital care manager at Comcast, says he was just trying to help.
From a sparse desk dominated by two computer screens in the new Comcast Center here, Mr. Eliason uses readily available online tools to monitor public comments on blogs, message boards and social networks for any mention of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company. When he sees a complaint like Mr. Dilbeck’s, he contacts the source to try to defuse the problem.
“When you’re having a two-way conversation, you really get to clear the air,” Mr. Eliason said.
Comcast is not the only company trying to reach out to customers online. Using the social messaging service Twitter, Southwest Airlines answers customer questions about ticket prices and flight delays, Whole Foods Market posts details about discounts, and the chief executive of the online shoe store Zappos shares details of his life with 7,200 “followers.” Many other companies also monitor online discussion groups.
But Comcast is going an extra step by talking back, contacting customers who are discussing the company online.
Odds are they are complaining about Comcast. The company was ranked at the very bottom of the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index, which tracks consumer opinions of more than 200 companies. Hundreds of customers have filed grievances on a site called ComcastMustDie.com.
Comcast says the online outreach is part of a larger effort to revamp its customer service. In just about five months, Mr. Eliason, whose job redefines customer service, has reached out to well over 1,000 customers online.