Sympathy For The Comcast

Firstly, a little background reading:

New Comcast Customer Service Upgrades Will Not Solve Problems

Now with that out of the way, I’d like to express “Sympathy For The Comcast” (with apologies to the Rolling Stones).

I’ve been a Comcast customer one way or another for nearly 15 years, in both California and Connecticut. I’ve had my quibbles with their service at one time or another — sometimes they had buggy STB software; sometimes, their internet service wasn’t up to snuff; but by and large I’ve been more-or-less satisfied with the quality of the service, as the only truly viable choice anywhere I’ve lived.

Having said that, I find it strange that people despise their customer service so much. In general I’ve found their technical support for both cable and internet to be acceptable, if not always stellar (an opinion I also have of Verizon Wireless which also gets regularly slated). But why does my opinion differ so substantially from “the man in the street”?

I can tell you why — I’ve worked in IT my whole life, and I’ve also worked in the broadcast industry. Furthermore, I don’t call them to scream at them.

I know that this gives me a “leg up” on the average consumer as I can describe and diagnose my issues with some degree of competence which the average consumer would not be able to do. Furthermore, having started my working life lo-so-many-years-ago in retail when I was a teenager I’ve always had a very cordial aspect to working with phone support.

In truth I think Comcast has the same issue most technology-based corporations have i.e. the audience they are selling to is by-and-large very unable to speak the same lingo and moreover this audience lacks the background to “self-diagnose” issues and work with the phone support to come to a useful resolution.

In other words I see the problem as simply being intractable in some ways. Comcast is an easy target for the ire of persons because they don’t see the issues that are going to crop up with such a large and diverse network and such a huge userbase. Joe Consumer is simply gonna know “it doesn’t work” and “why I am paying money for something which doesn’t work”.

Anyways, I just wanted to play “devil’s advocate” on this particular issue because I know from my own empirical standpoint that the customer service issues really have less to do with competence or commitment on Comcast’s part and more to do with the crevasse of expectation between “insiders” (Comcast and tech-savvy customer) and “outsiders” (non-tech-savvy customers).

Let the flaming commence.☺

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