Customer Service

What Makes It Great?


… I would argue that none of those words actually hits it.I think the word is ‘process’. And if you want a phrase … ‘customer-centric-process’.

I have written about Comcast before. A lot. In various places. This is one of my more recent ones. Fair warning, it seems to have become a tracking post for my ongoing Comcast conversations – so it does go on a bit. But, by reading it, you will start to understand.

I don’t hate Comcast, as so many people are wont to scream on the interwebs. More often than not when I meet a Comcast person and I have met a few of them – I am greeted with a smile (unless we are on the phone), an engaging personality, a wanting to help, a desire to make me happy,etc etc. And yet – somehow – Comcast service consistently and regularly is well below par. Why is that?

Now let’s compare and contrast with an American Airline. Not American Airlines – they are the Comcast of the skies – no just an American Airline. Alaska to be specific.
I recently returned from Maui on an Alaska Airlines flight. Shortly after landing I received a text and the following day I received an email.

Dear John,

We’re sorry your flight was disrupted on 06/11/2017. To make it up to you, we’ve included a Discount Code. Please reference the appropriate code below at the time of booking. To use your discount, go to alaskaair.com/planbook and enter the Discount Code into the Discount Code field on the right side of the booking form.

… etc etc …

As always, thank you for flying with us. We hope you’ll give us the opportunity to exceed your expectations on another flight.

The value of the discount code was $50. I was bowled over. Not for $50 that’s for sure. No. It was because I hadn’t actually felt that I had experienced a problem beyond what we usually get to expect in American air travel. I thought about it and remembered that on landing, we had been sat on the tarmac waiting for a gate for around 30 minutes. To me – it really is just business as usual. Travel in the US has gotten so bad that this kind of hiccup is expected and written off. But not for Alaska. Their systems understood there was a problem. I am not sure it was even their fault. But regardless, they proactively reached out to me and everyone else on the flight and gave us each a $50 discount voucher.

To be fair I had a similar experience on Virgin Atlantic with a media entertainment system a few years ago. It was fixed and sorted on the flight – but that didn’t stop them sending me a $100 coupon for the next time I flew with them.

In both cases, it was a coupon that could be offset against a future service – should I elect to use them again. So yes, not all the coupons will be used. But that is not the point. The point is not the money … the point is the care, the thought. In both cases, the email and coupon were 100% unexpected. Not a word from me to them complaining – they just took the initiative, the system alerted someone somewhere that there had been a problem and the process allowed someone or some system to proactively contact me and make good.

Let’s flip back to Comcast for a moment.

The link to Comcast that I shared above is a fraction of the engagement I have had with Comcast in the past four years. Living where I live we ‘benefit’ from their Xfinity service – which Comcast touts as the ‘best in America’.

But the best is not the fullest functioning, feature rich, gives everybody what they want service. But sadly, that is how it is measured by Comcast and the people that write about this kind of stuff.  The best should be that which excites me the most. Leaves me energised. Satisfies me. Delights me. That’s why Apple is seen as the best  – and why the un-informed part of the press keeps on saying ‘they are done’. Because the competition keeps on coming out with more and more features. Apple is boring – it just delivers stuff and it just works.

That said, I have to say the stuff I can do with Comast Xfinity is pretty cool. When it works, it is amazing. But sadly, my mind is taken up too much with when it doesn’t. Particularly when I look at the price I am paying for the services that don’t work.

And in all the time I have used Comcast – pretty much as long as I have lived in America – my experience has never changed. It just doesn’t reliably work. And every person you talk to when you hit a problem is so nice – and I know it is not their fault – but there must come a time when enough is enough. Remember …

I have never complained to Virgin Atlantic.

I have never complained to Alaska Airlines.

But I end up in a protracted conversation with Comcast at least every year – and more often than not twice a year. I eventually get it fixed, but the journey to get it fixed is just too hard. And never once any compensation for my time (lost due to bad service and/or complaining to them), compensation as in ‘we are really sorry – have a free month on us.’ Nothing. Sorry, Once – $20 – I am serious.

How about this for a potential Comcast Email ….

Dear John,

We’re sorry, but we noted that your Xfinity services were disrupted this past weekend. To make it up to you, we’ve included a Discount Code. Please reference the appropriate code below at the time of your next bill pay. To use your discount, go to Comcast.com/OnUs and enter the Discount Code into the Discount Code field on the right side of the booking form.

… etc etc …

As always, thank you for being our customer. We hope you’ll give us the opportunity to exceed your expectations in the future, in the meantime, please do accept out apologies again for letting you down.

Comcast could make this happen in an instance. It is called process. They know when their services are down, they just try to deny it with delay tactics.

I mostly feel sorry for the people that have to deal with me and the like – they know the truth. Keep up the good work folks – we know it is not you.

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