Something odd happened to me this week. Early one morning, my internet went down for a couple of hours. I tried resetting my modem to no avail. I was irritated because I’d have to take time out of my day to call Comcast and tell them to fix my internet. I posted a tweet on Twitter to vent my frustration:
brinstar: OMG. I have no internets at home. Comcast, you suck! I never had these problems with Verizon or AT&T DSL.
Later on, my internet access returned. However, I’d received an @reply to my tweet:
ComcastBill: @brinstar send me your account info i can help?
Holy crap! Comcast tweeted at me! I replied that I had my internet back, so there was no longer a problem:
brinstar: Internet started back up inexplicably. ~2 hrs of downtime. Inconvenient.
ComcastBill: @brinstar send me the account info.
Well, okay, since he insisted:
brinstar: Acct# is xxxxx. I am at work, so I cannot troubleshoot modem/connection.
He proceeded to conduct customer support with me via Twitter. I communicated with him through direct messages:
ComcastBill: @brinstar this is a splitter or modem issue which both require a tech. What’s your availability?
brinstar: Whoa. That’s some service! Oct 25-26 or Nov 1-2. Sat is ideal.
ComcastBill: @brinstar Saturday moring 8-12?
brinstar: Yup, that works. Sat Oct 25? Or Nov 1?
ComcastBill: @brinstar the 25th
brinstar: Will I get an email confirmation?
ComcastBill: @brinstar I already sent it to the market and they confirmed
And later, after it was all arranged, I tweeted:
brinstar: Mind has officially been blown. Tweeted abt internet probs this AM. Comcast did customer support w/ me thru TWITTER. Have tech appt Sat.
In an article I’d read just the day before this happened, on either Mashable or TechCrunch, Comcast had been mentioned amongst other companies who connect with their customers through Twitter and other social networks.
I did some research, and found a couple of articles about this Comcast Cares initiative. They have several accounts on Twitter through which they provide personalised customer service, including the main one, @comcastcares. Apparently, TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington also received customer service with Comcast through Twitter. It is to Comcast’s advantage to do this sort of thing. Techdirt writes:
But we should all keep in mind that the sort of concierge-style
customer support offered by @comcastcares is unlikely to ever scale
beyond the size of a PR exercise.
In this case Twitter’s chief virtue is its userbase: a collection of
highly-wired early adopters whose online complaints about cable
provider malfeasance frequently find their way into press accounts and
Google results associated with the company.
The Comcast technician just stopped by and he looked at my internet connection. Apparently I was keeping my wireless router too close to the modem and this could interfere with the connection, so I should keep them farther apart. He told me that the other diagnostic tests revealed no problems. Very cool.
This experience with Comcast through Twitter was great, and I think it’s an awesome thing for a company to do, but honestly I do find Comcast’s internet service far less reliable than Verizon FiOS/Verizon DSL, which I had when I lived in Virginia and AT&T DSL, which I had when I lived in California. With Comcast, I regularly have to reset my router because the internet drops off, and three times (including this one) in the past six months, Comcast customer service has had to help me troubleshoot connectivity problems. It’s ridiculous. Comcast cares about their image, and that’s why they’re scanning
Twitter and the blogosphere for disgruntled customers, but they should
put some heavy investment into their infrastructure.
I didn’t even want to get cable internet in the first place. I don’t subcscribe to cable television, which is why I prefer DSL for my internet needs. I was unable to find a DSL provider relatively quickly when I moved to this area, so I settled for Comcast. I’m paying more for my internet through Comcast than I was paying through either Verizon or AT&T, and Comcast’s service is worse. With Verizon and AT&T, I was paying a little over $50 a month, and with Comcast, I’m paying nearly $60. When my contract is due to end, I may look for another ISP.