And why the noble Jerome of the local customer service call center and Chad the installer are my complete and total heroes.
We moved to a new home this past weekend. It’s the same weekend that all the students return to the University of Michigan and just about every other university in the area.
Of course no one showed up for my scheduled internet service install on Monday. Of course the Comcast phone lines were busy, alternating with my being put on interminable “hold,” or being sent – multiple times- to a call-center half-way across the world where not everyone’s command of the English language was even close to acceptable.
Not good customer experiences.
The automated system which serves as Comcast’s default customer service program repeatedly could not recognize numeric or voice prompts from my cell phone. So I had to hang up and try again, multiple times.
Not good customer experiences.
Leaving our phone number for a customer care call back “in 2 to 5 minutes” (more like 15-30 minutes) was the way to go (took us a while to figure this out). Opting for this scenario routed us to the local customer service call center, who knew where our home was located (new street) and who assured us the installer was on his way on Monday. Except he didn’t show up, told the call center he left a message on my cell phone which…. simply… was …. not…. true.
Not a good customer experience.
The local customer service agents were very aware that our phone call might be monitored for customer assurance purposes. With the local scenario, each agent wanted to make sure they were providing us with their concept of great customer service. Which meant they chatted away and kept repeating questions from their call script rather than succinctly and directly addressing the matter at hand.
Complete disconnect between the concept of customer service and customer experience.
Is this how local customer service agents are being trained to provide “customer satisfaction” for Comcast customer service? Because it appears that being nice and pleasant on the phone is the goal these agents were seeking.
How about being efficient?
So by the time I called Comcast for the umpteenth time last Monday evening, and got Jerome, I wasn’t a very happy camper. But Jerome knew his stuff. He was local. He understood how to spell our name. He knew where I lived. He knew the internal Comcast folks to contact to make things right. Then he told me he couldn’t schedule me until Thursday.
At which point I related the day’s events to him and told him how much money I spend with Comcast each year and how there are alternate digital service providers to choose from.
Jerome expedited the order. He gave us $20 off our next phone bill (probably because that amount of money seems great to a college student.) I didn’t quibble since I knew I’d be blogging about my negative customer experience.
The sad part about this tale is that once I got off the phone with Jerome, there was an automated follow up customer satisfaction call from Comcast. So even though Jerome was the only sign of intelligent life in the Comcast universe on Monday, I had to give my entire customer experience the lowest possible rating.
It’s not anywhere near Jerome’s fault. In fact, he should probably be running Comcast’s customer experience initiative. Because he gets it.
Chad showed up today to install our system. He kept things simple. He normally works the line installation but was switched over to home installation (cool beans, I got a highly skilled technical professional who knew the entire system). He called me to say he was running early (early? Are you kidding me?) and could he arrive at my house earlier than scheduled. Oh Hosanna!! Chad showed me how Jerome had indicated my installation was Top Priority based on our discussion late Monday evening.
It was the perfect customer experience storm, courtesy of Comcast’s automated customer service system, focusing on digital and voice activated prompts to avoid the “cost” associated with speaking to live, knowledgeable and local customer service agents.
I’d say there was a large cost associated to the risk they took creating a prolonged, negative, customer experience.
Comcast’s concept of customer service provided me with a high level of customer dissatisfaction and an overall negative experience. Their system is out of touch with what is important to consumers. Their concept of customer experience is founded on pleasantries rather than expediting strong knowledge.
My current service was implemented by two individuals, Jerome and Chad, who were subject matter experts. It’s a shame it took over eight hours to reach these folks. In fact, there’s no excuse. In this day of global competition, and more than one local service provider, how can any company afford perpetuating a culture which creates this type of negative customer experience?
I’m thanking Jerome and Chad for providing excellent customer service and customer experience.
Now if only their employer could get it right.
Any of you have similar experiences with service providers?
Babette Ten Haken strongly believes that the fulcrum leveraging innovative business development is collaboration between technical and non-technical professionals. She helps technical entrepreneurs start new businesses. She helps mature manufacturing and service companies find their entrepreneurial mojo once again. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter and through her company website.