Monday, October 22, 2007

Comcast Customer Service: A Mixed Bag

Half a week of frustration and all I got was this lousy modem... Well, the modem works now, after three long-winded customer service calls, a more than an hour long visit to the COMCAST store and five days of waiting.

The frustration from the beginning. It took two days to coordinate an appointment with Comcast and my roommates' very different schedules. Two days of, "well, that could work," "err, I don't want to miss class," and "you know what my work schedule is like..." We finally got this appointment nailed down and everything seemed fine--the man came in, set up the cable and left the self install kit for the internet (modem, install CD, the whole shibang).

Minor problem though-- the Comcast man gave us modem that was still registered to its passed user. Meaning, much to my annoyance, that we couldn't use.

What happened next is where the customer service goes amiss. My roommate, armed with the account number and the modem, calls customer service. The woman on the other end of the phone tells him there's nothing she can do and that he'll have to go somewhere--to a help desk out of range of public transportation.

Comcast screws up so we have to go out of our way to fix it? Real winning customer service from this one.

I called in a day later, irritated by the poor treatment and further aggravated by my lack of that high speed internet I was promised. The man on the other end of the phone sounded slightly delayed, like he wasn't quite following what I was telling him. He walked me through my options--another Comcast man could come out, but that couldn't be before Wednesday, or we could go to that help desk I mentioned.

Again. Comcast screwed up, so I'm the one having to go out of my way to fix it. Strike two.

Next day, another one of my roomies makes way to the help desk (he's got a vespa, so he didn't have to walk). He's got to rush from Comcast to a meeting and asks me to confirm exactly what's involved, so he doesn't waste any of his time.

This time the lady of Comcast refunded a week of high speed internet I hadn't received to my account, without being asked, to make things right. And she went over the whole help desk protocol. Score one for the Comcast lady!

But wait-- Comcast managed to err yet again. Roommate gets to help desk. He waits in line. And he waits in line. He waits for over an hour as the sole attendant in the crowded place tried to up-sell every single person in line.

We finally get the second modem home. And guess what? It doesn't work.

Roommate one tinkers with it for awhile before admitting defeat. So in the end, he's back on the phone with Comcast. This time it's something that can be fixed remotely, some program needed to be put in place. At the end of this call, there's much rejoicing and laughter... You see, this call was on speaker phone with four tired people who desperately wanted the 'net and a Comcast man with a noticeable Canadian accent. We were giggling at everything.

That was the conclusion of the modem trouble. Comcast gets mixed reviews. It would be nice if they could get it right in the first two or three times and not create a greater inconvenience to the customer. Right?

In the end: Yesterday while I was writing this post, I received a call from an unfamiliar Boston number. I wasn't by my phone and there was no message left. I called the number back and discovered it was Joe from Comcast letting me know about some sort of software outage or larger issue in my area. I don't know if it makes me feel better about the whole thing that they called to tell me why. It's nice to know they were paying attention.

But it would be equally nice to not have spent so much time waiting, in line, on the phone and generally for the service in the first place.

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