I decided to break down and order cable TV service the other day. Since I already have my internet service with Comcast, I went ahead and contacted Comcast to obtain the additional services. Since I’m kind of a net guy, my first instinct was to use their live chat service from their website. But, when I started the online chat, I noticed that I was something like number 40th in the queue. After staring at the chat window for two minutes, it dropped down to number 39. I knew this was going to take a while, maybe as long as 80 minutes based on my sampling of progress.
So, I decided to pick up the phone and exercise option number 2. After calling in an navigating their voice activated menu tree and making half a dozen selections, I was talking to somebody on the phone. Since I had kept the online chat window open, I noticed that I was still only number 38 in the online chat queue.
But, after talking to the guy on the phone and trying to discern his words through his thick accent (he should probably visit one of our clients, Kelly Reiter from Reel English Coach, who is an Accent Reduction Coach), I understood that the rate he wanted to offer me for cable TV was $59/month. I told him that I’m looking at his website and I see that it is only $33/month. He said he couldn’t offer me that price. “But why,” I asked, “I’m staring at the price on your website?”. He told me to go to the website and sign up there. So I did.
On my third attempt to buy from this company, I signed up online and within a couple minutes, without having to talk to anybody, without having to sit in a queue, I was able sign up for cable TV at significantly less than what the customer service rep had offered me (although in 6 months it automatically goes up to $59/month – if that’s not a bait and switch tactic then I don’t know what is). Of course, by now, I am number 36 in that original queue. But here is what is really interesting…
As soon as I completed my order, I automatically went into another online chat queue to confirm my order. Within about 15 seconds I was chatting with somebody who had confirmed my entire order.
The irony is that after initially trying to do this from the chat window, I ended up submitting my order online and ultimately talking to an operator via a chat window. But, I was able to do it in 5 minutes while I was completely unsuccessful talking to a live person on the phone and I still had a 72 minute wait in my original chat window.
Depending on which approach you took, the customer service from Comcast could be rated as excellent, poor, or failing. No wonder alternative online venues like www.ABC.com, www.CNN.com, and www.Amazon.com are making progress in the area of online entertainment. If companies like Comcast continue to offer such inconsistent, and in some cases, horrible customer service, then it’s only a matter of time before they lose this entire segment of the market.