Thursday, August 26, 2010

Customer (Dis)Service

Everyone has their own version of "dealing with the cable company" story. Here's mine.

We have the Comcast trifecta - cable TV, internet, and telephone. It kills me each month to see the amount of hard earned money going down the rathole to that company.

To their credit, the VOIP phone rollout in our market has gone well. We weren't sure what to expect with sound quality, availability, interaction with alarm system, etc., but its all gone well.

Our internet uptime and speed has been pretty good too. At times, its runs a bit slow. But I've rationalized it thinking (1) maybe I have too many services running on my PC that slows it down (2) everyone on my block also has it which chokes our bandwidth and (3) I still remember 26.4K dial-up.

But the TV package is still the offering that drives me crazy as a loon. Charging for DVRs, charging extra for additional TVs, charging for channels I care absolutely ZERO about, etc. Yet the check gets written every month, and my insanity deepens as I expect something different with each payment.

About 10 days ago - Monday, August 16 - I learned about a show I'd like to watch via Twitter. I wished at that moment for an addressable DVR box where I could queue shows to record via the web. Folks who have Tivo have told me they can do it. I double-checked and was pleasantly surprised to learn that very feature is now available. Great, right? Well, not so fast...

Our DVR had to be activated to use it via the web. What? I've got phone, e-mail, internet, digital cable, HD, and a DVR - yet the information isn't all tied together to already have it enabled? Fine. So I activated it. The confirmation screen then said to allow up to 24 hours for the activation to process. TWENTY-FOUR HOURS??? So much for my show - and so much for the theory of better-faster-cheaper with the use of Comcast's technology.

While I wasn't able to remotely record the show I wanteed, at least I could begin doing so the next day, right? ERRRRRR. Wrong. The activation wasn't processed on Tuesday. Nor on Wednesday.

At the 48 hour mark Wednesday, I headed to Comcast's tech support chat room during my lunch hour in hopes of resolving the issue. What follows is the transcript of the chat session with the resident tech support moron, Jaymark.

Because of the length of the transcript, I'll highlight a few of the more compelling nuggets - at least to me.

user TMC has entered room

TMC: Requested activation of MyDVR Manager Monday. Was told it would take 24 hrs. 48 hrs later and its STILL not done.

analyst Jaymark has entered room

Jaymark: Hello TMC, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Jaymark. Please give me one moment to review your information. How are you? I hope you are fine.

TMC: fine

Jaymark: That is good to know TMC. I see here that you have a concern or problem with your MyDVR Manager, I understand the trouble that this has caused you and I want you to know how sorry I am for the inconvenience (note: empathy #1 and apology #1). As your service representative today, I want you to know that your satisfaction is of my topmost priority and I assure you that we can resolve this issue together on this chat, TMC.

TMC: activating it on-line is convenient - I did my part
. comcast has not done their part by activating it w/in 24 hrs. i shouldn't have to come to a chat room to resolve such a ridiculously simple request

Jaymark: I completely understand how frustrated you must feel.(empathy #2)
When I am not at work, I am a customer myself; I completely understand how frustrating it feels when things are not working the way they should be. (empathy #3)

just activate it so I can get back to work jaymark

Jaymark: No problem TMC.
I will need to pull your account first to provide you proper informations on your issue today, is that okay? I am glad to be able to assist you. To ensure the integrity of your account information. Can I please have the following information:
1) Account Number.
2) Full Account Name.

TMC: jaymark - you must be kidding me. I logged in to this web service and chat room with my user name and password. now you are telling me you can't view my account info from where you are? i don't have my a/c number w/me

Jaymark: No TMC. Just provide me your Account Holder Name.
Thank you so much for that information. Please give me 2 minutes to access your account.

TMC: i can find a/c number though - but that's ridiculous you have to ask for it
. forgive my hostility but its crap like this that gives cable a bad rep

Jaymark: Sorry for that TMC. (apology #2) I cannot see your username and password for myDVR, can you please provide me this information.

TMC: i just gave you my a/c number and name
. i don't have a username and pw for myDVR

Jaymark: I see TMC. For that you need to log-in to check you MyDVR Manager on our Site so you can see if it has already been activated.

TMC: jaymark - i'm going to pretend like you didn't just ask me to ck if myDVR has been activated. BECAUSE THAT WAS MY OPENING LINE TO THIS SESSION!!!!!!!!!! IT HASN'T BEEN ACTIVATED JAYMARK

Jaymark: I will try to look for your primary username TMC to be able to log-in to Fancast for myDVR Manager. However I do not have the password information. I can see here that this is your primary username for your account.

TMC: correct

Jaymark: But I will need a password for this.

TMC: no way.
i don't give out my passwords. why would you need my password anyway?

Jaymark: So that I can check in the status of your MyDVR activation.(with a link) You can try that link TMC to see the update on your MyDVR status.

TMC: this is ridiculous. that link takes me to a 'page expired' page. i see that MyDVR has not been activated Jaymark and you want me to cough up my password

Jaymark: Click sign-in mydvr

TMC: guess what - it tells me what I've been telling you for the last 15 min. NOT ACTIVATED

Jaymark: Try it there TMC. Sorry for the inconvenience.(apology #3)

TMC: i'm getting nowhere - how can it be that much trouble? don't customers activate MyDVR daily?

Jaymark: No TMC. You only need to activate it once. However the span time for that is with 24 to 48 hours, However I can see here in your issue that it hasn't been activated yet.

Jaymark: I am very sorry for the inconvenience.(apology #4) I completely understand how frustrated you must feel.(empathy #4) TMC, for a follow-up I will send a signal to your dvr, may I know the serial number, just in case this will work.

TMC: once again, i don't understand how a tech/customer support function can't view serial numbers of equipment leased to me

Jaymark: Sorry for that TMC.(apology #5) I am just double checking the right equipment.
Okay after I send the signal, can you please turn it off for awhile. I am now done sending the signal TMC. You can now check it.

TMC: as I've mentioned already, I'm not at my DVR. can't turn it off here -will have to ck this evening. but on-line it STILL says MyDVR manager not activated

Jaymark: I understamd TMC.
(empathy #5) You can check it after when you get home.
I see TMC sorry for the inconvenience. (apology #6) I am here to help you and provide you support with your Comcast Services.

TMC: this has been frustrating beyond belief. just spent 30 or more minutes on this problem. the goal - even as you stated - was to resolve my problem in this session

Jaymark: When I am not at work, I am a customer myself; I completely understand how frustrating it feels when things are not working the way they should be. (empathy #6)

TMC: yet MyDVR manager still says it isn't activated

Jaymark: I am sorry TMC, (apology #7) Honestly I have no total control of the activation of your MyDVR activation, due to this is automated by a system to be activated.

TMC: apologies and empathy aren't needed - problem resolution was needed

Jaymark: The only assistance I can provide you is the check-up of the activation and setting up of it and the signal to your Cable boxes.

TMC: u could have saved both of us time if you'd told me you couldn't resolve the problem from the beginning!!!!

Jaymark: I understand TMC. (empathy #7) I do apologize for the incovenience. (apology #8) I hope you understand.

TMC: ok. i've had enough.

About two-thirds of the way through this time-wasting, mind-numbing exercise, I fired up Twitter and blasted off a few shots across the bow of @comcastcares.
Tweet #1: @comcastcares Is it really that difficult to activate MyDVR? Isn't 24 hours less than 48 hrs and counting?

Tweet #2: @comcastcares Is it too much to ask your chat techs to actually read & respond to my inquiry vs. asking me stupid and repeat questions?

Tweet #3: @comcastcares I'd like 40 minutes of my life back. Back & forth w/your tech. Prob still unresolved. Apologies/empathy but no solution.
Perhaps as an example of companies using social media such as Twitter to enhance customer service, someone from Comcast was trolling - either the account of @comcastcares or maybe just the keyword "comcast".

Bonnie replied and asked what was wrong. I was happy someone picked up on it. I suggested we move my complaining to a private conversation so my followers wouldn't be subjected to the rantings of a frustrated DVR user and dissatisfied Comcast customer.

She then asked for my phone number on the account so she could look up the situation. So I provided it. And then...


Yep, I was right back where I started.

I waited a few hours and tweeted her again with "was it something I said?". She responded soon to say they were looking at the problem on their end. Was it too much to ask her or someone to let me know that?

Finally, on Thursday evening - almost 80 hours after my original request - my DVR was activated. I queued a show to record. Sure enough, it worked just as designed. And for the record, I tweeted a "thank you" to Bonnie. Even though she nor anyone else communicated with me about the status, I communicated with them when it worked.

But now I've been too dadgum busy and tired to even care to watch what I've recorded.


1 comment:

  1. TMC,

    I apologize for the poor experiences we created for you. I'd like to review your feedback with our team here (I work w/ @ComcastBonnie) as well as the chat leadership. If there is ever anything else that you need, please email us at the address below. We're here if you need us.

    Kind Regards,
    Melissa Mendoza
    Comcast Customer Connect
    National Customer Operations