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News : Comcast Seeks to Fix Awful Customer Service
Sept 26, 2014 -- After months of getting bashed for treating customers poorly, Comcast today said it's going to make improving customer service its "number one priority." But the company admitted that "it may take a few years before we can honestly say that a great customer experience is something we’re known for."
Neil Smit, CEO of Comcast's cable division, wrote that Comcast's customer service hasn't kept up with Comcast's focus on "product innovation," technology, and content. "But this is only one half of the customer experience equation. The other half is operational excellence in how we deliver service," he wrote. "The way we interact with our customers—on the phone, online, in their homes—is as important to our success as the technology we provide. Put simply, customer service should be our best product."
A longtime Comcast executive is being called upon to fulfill that goal. Smit announced the promotion of 15-year Comcast veteran Charlie Herrin to a new role as senior VP of customer experience. Herrin previously was senior VP of product development and led design of X1, Comcast's new TV user interface.
"In this new role, Charlie will partner with leaders across all business units, including customer service, technical operations, sales, marketing, training and development, and product innovation to reimagine the customer experience and ensure that we are delighting our customers at each touch point," Smit wrote. "Charlie will listen to feedback from customers as well as our employees to make sure we are putting our customers at the center of every decision we make."
Comcast says it has made some improvements already. "[W]e are addressing some very real pain points that are making it easier for our employees to serve our customers, and easier for our customers to do business with us," Smit wrote. "We rolled out new tools in our call centers like Einstein to help our employees provide better, faster service to our customers. At the same time, we shortened our technician appointment windows to 1-2 hours, introduced new self-service apps so customers have more choice in how they interact with us, and we are making improvements to our service centers across the country."
A flurry of criticism over the past few months followed distribution of a recording in which a Comcast call center employee all but refused to let a customer cancel service. Comcast apologized for the employee's behavior and promised to do better, but subscribers continued posting recordings showing how poorly they were treated. In some cases, Comcast did not fix problems until customers shamed the company publicly by going to the press.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From Comcast
Comcast Corporation, founded in 1963, is a cable operator in the United States, providing cable television, broadband Internet, and telephone service to both residential and commercial customers. Comcast is headquartered in the One Comcast Center in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Published: Monday, September 29, 2014