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Comcastic

Got an idea for a new Comcast ad campaign.

Comcastic

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Comcastic_1 Got an idea for a new Comcast ad campaign.

"Bringing neighborhoods together."

My house has been off-line since 1 p.m. My cable's out. My Internet's down. I'm writing this using a Verizon wireless card shoved into my laptop, and it delivers somewhat dodgy Web access, but at least it's something.

Comcast, in comparison, is just dead.

I called at a little after 1 when it died. The guy on the phone said he'd check the modems of my neighbors by remote, but that didn't determine if there was a problem. So he scheduled an appointment for Wednesday afternoon. Best he could do.

About 3 I called again. The young woman on the phone was more helpful. She said there was a Stage 1 problem. Stage 1 meant others in my neighborhood had called in with a problem. Great, I said, you know it's a problem. When are you coming out?

When we get six people from my neighborhood calling, she said. Only three had called in so far.

She suggested I go outside and knock on my neighbors' doors.

So I did. I met Mr. Gleason from down the street, who was cutting his grass. He didn't get cable tv or Internet but had heard from another neighbor who'd complained of the same problem, and maybe, he said, I wanted to talk with him. I swear Mr. Gleason was cutting the grass with a scythe.

It's almost 7 p.m. No progress. But I've spotted two Comcast trucks checking the overhead wires, and got to speak with two more neighbors. So that's five of them I talked to today. And so this little inconvenience has been something that has brought my little corner of the world together.

We've all been standing around ranting about Comcast.

UPDATE: Cable came back about 8:40 p.m. Internet came back a little later, after unplugging the wireless network router, then the modem, and then plugging in the modem then router.

Anthony Preziosi
Posted 10/09/2006 07:49:54 PM
Comcast has figured out how to reduce the cost of customer service.

They make the customers do the service.

Make sure they credit your bill.
Tom Goodman
Posted 10/09/2006 07:51:58 PM
"I swear Mr. Gleason was cutting the grass with a scythe."

Absolutely inspired, Dan.

Will Teullive
Posted 10/09/2006 09:45:57 PM
Two words: Verizon FIOS
Frustrated Former Comcaster
Posted 10/09/2006 11:06:30 PM
Verizon FIOS is not available in every neighborhood - in fact it's availability is very rare outside of the uber-rich suburbs of Philadelphia. Even then, it's slim pickings.

There's a huge disconnect between the call center and the field. The field doesn't like the call center, and vice versa. There's been very little effort to get the two on the same page, or reduce the heavy usage of contractors, or even improve the communications between the two.

Basically, if only 10 people are out service, consider yourself screwed. If you have 100 people offline, then consider yourself lucky.

Before I quit, I was one of those people that bended over backwards to get you back online. I quit because Comcast didn't like it when I bended over backwards.
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Jeff



Posted 10/09/2006 11:31:31 PM
Thats ok, I have Verizon DSL and phone.  It went out on a Saturday night and I called in to get it fixed.  They told me the EARLIEST they could get out was FRIDAY!  ALMOST A WEEK LATER.  Well Friday came and it was pouring so Verizon deemed that service calls could not be made.  The lady on the phone said we were a priority and that they would be out first thing Saturday morning.  I called back about 30 min later and the guy I talked to said that it was rescheduled for Wednesday.  So they flat out lied. 

All told my phone and internet was out for 11 days.  They do know that in 2006 that no phone and internet for 11 days doesnt work dont they.
Dennis
Posted 10/10/2006 09:38:07 AM
"Hello! And welcome to Comcast Customer Service!"

"Press one if you're having trouble connecting to the internet"

"While you're on hold for the time it takes tomatoes to ripen, why not listen to some music played through your low fidelity telephone speaker at ear shattering levels?"

"Did you know that you can find help with your problem by going to www.comcast.com?"

(Did you know you just suggested doing that to someone who, based on his menu selections CAN'T CONNECT TO THE INTERNET?)

"Hello. I am the human voice you've been waiting for. I took this job when I was 10 so I wouldn't be retired before taking your call. I live in Nepal" 

"We will now go through our intensive interactive telephone troubleshooting procedure to help you"

"Please unplug your modem....Please plug it back in...Did that resolve the problem?" (NO)

"This ends our intensive interactive telephone troubleshooting procedure. We"ll have to send a technician out"

"How is next epoch? Between say, era and eon?"

(sound of gunshot)

Tom Goodman
Posted 10/10/2006 10:24:03 AM
Comcast gets absolutely no sympathy from this quarter but the next time any of you has a problem, call 877-637-3128.  That is Comcast's Canadian call center for tech support as opposed to the ones in Delaware and elsewhere and by and large the Canadian center has more informed people who actually know either what procedures to take or, if they cannot help, will admit as much.

As for network status, Comcast technical support is frequently the last group to know what the status of their network nodes is.  Incrdible?  Certainly.  When I report trouble it is frequently just the sort of anecdotal evidence technicians at the call centers rely on, a pathetic situation in this day and age.
FFC
Posted 10/10/2006 11:17:45 AM
The problem with calling Canada is that if you need someone to come out to your house, that's the end of the line. Canada calls DE supervisors, and I've seen first hand DE sups simply deleting those voicemails because they didn't go through the 'right channels'.

One thing I will say to the credit of comcast, they do hire across all shades of the spectrum. It's easily the most EOE I've ever seen - yes, people have accents, but they are indeed in the U.S. In the philly area, the call centers are Canada (primarily for home networking), DE (cable, hsi, cdv), philly (cable) and West Virginia (major outages, and sales).
Tom G
Posted 10/10/2006 02:44:25 PM
Goodman beat me to complimenting you on the "mowing with scythe" line.  It's good you can laugh at being transported back to 1955.
Paul
Posted 10/12/2006 03:29:23 AM
I work for one of the many comcast call centers. Yes,its true there is NO communication from the field to the call centers. If you do have a issue in your area and its not on my screen, you screwed and you have to take an appointment (that's how they train us). It is incredible how badly run the company is. Now as far as the field tech in some areas, They just don't do their job they don't call the customer like they are supposed to and they don't check to see if the issue is resolved or not. They don't care WE are the ones getting cursed at and getting the death threats (that's right, I've actually had a couple) from understandably ticked off customers. But what can we do its our job and we have to follow the rules and guide lines issued by the company, Or quit like "Will Teullive". and its true they don't like it if you even remotely try to go over the "line of questionings". which explains the "intensive interactive telephone troubleshooting procedure" as seen above. A running joke around the center is that we need to send the customer to hell and make them enjoy the trip, but some agents dont have the diplomacy to do that either. all in all if comcast worked like it should it would be a great service, I received a lot of calls calling in to compliment us as well.  
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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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