Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Comedy of Comcast

This wasn't funny on Saturday, when they made me cry bitter, salty tears of frustration and anger. Tonight was almost funny. Almost.

I found it so completely stupid that I'm posting my chat session with Comcast's customer service. If they can record me for quality assurance purposes, I can post the log.

As a former Senior Customer Service Rep, I have to say...Comcast's cookie cutter responses are horrible. I can type pretty quickly and so never used canned responses back in the day. But at least we had decent canned responses and not the crap these people are using.

LiveAssist Transcript

Print Copy Email Close [and of course, the email option DOESN'T WORK]
chat id : ###-###-###-###-###
Problem : Ask Comcast Escalation [note: I didn't start off all escalated; apparently, changing information on your account automatically escalates the session. I think.]
Tracy > Ask Comcast Escalation

(Tue Aug 18 19:17:17 EDT 2009)
Mariane > Hello Tracy, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Mariane. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Mariane > Good Evening to you.
Mariane > Hi Tracy!
Mariane > How may I help you today?
Tracy > I need to change my phone number.
Mariane > No problem.
Mariane > Allow me to help you with that.
Mariane > For security verification purposes, Can you please verify to me the following:

1) Account Holder's Name
2) The full service address (Billing address)
3) And The last four digit of your Social Security Number (SSN).

Tracy > The new number is ...
Tracy > ####
Tracy > Wait. you need all of that info now?
Tracy > You already know my account holder name; you're typing to me.
Mariane > Yes please.
Tracy > Billing add is ---
Tracy > I need to make sure the tech calls my new number tomorrow or he won't be able to reach me.
Mariane > I see. For this matter Tracy, the changing of the phone number will take effect 24 hours.
Mariane > Do you want to proceed?
Tracy > Yes, but the tech needs the new number or he won't be able to reach me.
Mariane > Yes.
Mariane > No problem.
Tracy > Please make a note in my file with my new number and the fact that he must call that number.
Tracy > Thanks.
Mariane > Please give me moment to process your request.
Tracy > okay.
Mariane > No worries. I will take care of this for you.
Tracy > So we're done then?

Mariane > I'm sorry for the delay. We are having system maintenance as of this moment, this is the reason why this is taking a while to load.
Mariane > I am still processing the request for you.
Tracy > All right.
Mariane > I'm sorry. I got an error. Please standy on this chat page, I will need to transfer you to our sales department for the number change.
Mariane > I can transfer you now.
Mariane > Standby.
Tracy > ok
Mariane > Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst

(Tue Aug 18 19:25:15 EDT 2009)
Anna-Lisa > Hello. Thank you for choosing Comcast. My name is Anna-Lisa and I will be processing your order today. Please stay online while I create the work order for your request. It will take me just a few minutes to pull up your address in our system. Please hold for a moment.
Tracy > Fine.
Tracy > Although, as you know...we don't really have any choice in who provides cable.
Anna-Lisa > I’m sorry, you have reached Massachusetts. Please hold while I transfer you to the correct region.
Anna-Lisa > Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst

(Tue Aug 18 19:26:48 EDT 2009)
Dowell Angelo > Hi, how are you doing today?
Tracy > All I want to do is change my phone number on this account.
Tracy > And make sure that the tech will call that number tomorrow, or he won't be able to reach me.
Dowell Angelo > I understand.
Dowell Angelo > Not a problem.
Tracy > If it isn't a problem, why have had been through two other reps before you?
Dowell Angelo > I understand. However, there's a different department who handles this type of concern.
Dowell Angelo > Rest assured that at the end of the chat your concern will absolutely resolved.
Tracy > I'm resting. (Tue Aug 18 19:31:04 EDT 2009) [I'm getting a bit snarky now =\]

Time passes; I open up Bejeweled Blitz in another browser, keeping my eye on the chat window...

Tracy > Is something wrong? (Tue Aug 18 19:34:48 EDT 2009)
Dowell Angelo > For the security of your account, please verify the last four numbers of the Social Security Number.
Tracy > Hello?
Tracy > Ping time 7:35PM [Alarmed at how long he seemed to be taking, I started sending myself the time so that it would show up directly in the chat window]
Dowell Angelo > Are you still connected with me? (Tue Aug 18 19:36:39 EDT 2009)
Dowell Angelo > Did you receive my last message? (Tue Aug 18 19:36:40 EDT 2009) [note: Dowell is being snarky, too]
Dowell Angelo > Did you receive my last message? (Tue Aug 18 19:37:03 EDT 2009)

Tracy > Why do I need to repeat this?
Tracy > I've already been escalated twice within your network.
Tracy > All I want to do is change the phone number on my account.
Dowell Angelo > I understand.
Tracy > Please change my number to ###.
Dowell Angelo > I will be directing you the appropriate department who handles phone service. [note: alarm bells went off in my mind at this point...clearly, they have no idea what I need or why I called]
Tracy > Make sure the tech knows to call THAT number in the morning, or he won't be able to reach me.

Tracy > Wait. What?
Dowell Angelo > Not a problem.
Tracy > You are transferring me again?
Dowell Angelo > Yes, Tracy.
Dowell Angelo > No need to worry.
Tracy > How hard can this be?
Tracy > That will be the fourth person I'll have chatted with.
Tracy > Of COURSE I am now worried.
Tracy > I'm not looking for phone SERVICE.
Dowell Angelo > I can assure you that this would be the last department that you will be transferred.
Tracy > I am looking to change the number on my Comcast ACCOUNT.
Dowell Angelo > And from there, everything will be fine.
Tracy > Not get a comcast phone, or comcast wireless.
Tracy > Do you understand what I need to do?
Tracy > I need someone in account services to change my existing account.
Tracy > Ping time 7:40pm

Dowell Angelo > I understand that. That is why I needed to transfer you to the Digital Phone department because you were transferred to us the Order Taking department.
Tracy > I do not NEED A DIGITAL PHONE. [Is yelling now...for good reason]
Tracy > I do not HAVE a Comcast phone, nor do I want one.
Tracy > I just need to change my account phone number..on my ACCOUNT.
Tracy > My CABLE account.
Tracy > Please connect me with a department supervisor.
Dowell Angelo > Yes, that is what I am trying to say. I needed to transfer you to the appropriate department so they can be able to change the phone number.

Tracy > I would like to escalate this further up the tier.
Tracy > You keep saying digital phone.
Tracy > You are incorrect.
Tracy > Please have a supervisor enter the chat room.
Tracy > Thanks
Dowell Angelo > Alright. Just a minute, let me get my Supervisor online.
Tracy > Thank you.

Dowell Angelo > Just a minute, my Supervisor is just setting up her tools.
Dowell Angelo > I appreciate your patience.
Tracy > All right.
Tracy > Ping time 7:45pm
Dowell Angelo > Thank you for patiently waiting.
Tracy > Okay.
Dowell Angelo > I will be transferring you now to my Supervisor.
Dowell Angelo > Her name is Iris.
Tracy > Appreciate it.
Dowell Angelo > Is there anything that I can assist you with before I transfer you?
Tracy > No, thanks.
Dowell Angelo > Alright. Please stay online while I transfer you.
Dowell Angelo > Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst

(Tue Aug 18 19:49:35 EDT 2009)
Iris.18173 > I am more than willing and happy to assist you with that.
Tracy > Fine.
Tracy > I hope it's your supervisor not another analyst.
Tracy > Iris, can you explain to me what it is that I need tonight?
Iris.18173 > Yes Tracy, this is Dowell's supervisor. How may I help you today?
Tracy > Did he not tell you?
Tracy > ping time 7:50pm
Iris.18173 > Alright Tracy, I will double check that here on my end. Just a moement please.
Tracy > I'll be patiently waiting. [The Return of Sgt. Snarky]
Iris.18173 > Thank you.

Iris.18173 > Hi Tracy, If I understand it correctly you are requesting to change your phone number on your account and you are transferred for 2 reps already . I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.
Tracy > Are you able to make that change for me?
Tracy > You are, after all, the fourth person to whom I've explained this.
Iris.18173 > Can I get to verify your account number?
Tracy > ###
Iris.18173 > Thank you for that information. Let me go ahead and check what I can do here on my end.
Tracy > ping time 7:57pm

Iris.18173 > Thank you for waiting, as much as I want to help you with that for security and protection of the account we are not allowed to alter any information on your account. What I can do is to refer you to our Comcast Digital Voice Department to help you with this concern. [huh?!]
Tracy > But I do not have Comcast Digital Voice.
Tracy > I have a Comcast cable account.
Tracy > And a tech coming tomorrow who will call the wrong phone number to try and reach me.
Tracy > According to your website, the only way to change my account phone number is to either call or use this chat system.
Tracy > Why can I not use this chat system to do something as simple as change my own account phone number?
Tracy > I am not trying to obtain new service, just service an existing Comcast Cable account.
Tracy > And I guarantee, if you transfer me to Digital Voice, they will be surprised to hear from me since I do not have a Digital Voice package with my cable service.
Tracy > Of course, right now, I don't even have cable service.
Tracy > Which is why the tech is coming out in the morning.

Iris.18173 > Alright Tracy, I just want to verify if this is your correct home phone number Old###?
Tracy > I've answered all the security questions, so please, just change the phone number on my acount.
Tracy > No.
Tracy > That's what I am trying to change.
Tracy > My phone number is ###.
Tracy > The tech needs to call that number, or he will not reach me.
Tracy > Ping time 8:04pm
Tracy > Iris, surely you can see why this is becoming frustrating for me.

(Tue Aug 18 20:06:48 EDT 2009)
Iris.18173 > Thank you Tracy, would it be alright for you to give you the number of the local office so that you can contact them and at the same time I will take note on your account your correct phone number which is ### so that they may contact you before going to your place to check on your cable service.
Tracy > what?
Iris.18173 > I understand where you are coming from, Tracy. [No...no, you don't.]

Tracy > Wait. So you're saying your website is incorrect.
Tracy > And that I cannot service my account information by using the chat system.
Tracy > So I've been online now since...gee, 7:15PM or so....for nothing.
Tracy > Why, that's almost an entire hour of chatting!
Tracy > If you can get to my account, I would really appreciate it if you could simply change the phone number.
Tracy > What is the purpose of having a nationwide network if you are unable to centrally service any account?
Tracy > ping time 8:09PM

(Tue Aug 18 20:11:09 EDT 2009)
Iris.18173 > I apologize for the long wait. Can I get to verify the last 4 digits of your SSN please.
Tracy > Again?
Tracy > For goodness' sake, it's still me! The same person who gave you all this information an hour ago, since it's now 8:11PM!
Tracy > As I'm being transferred internally through your chat system, you surely don't think that I've changed somehow?
Iris.18173 > I have checked you previous conversation and I have checked your SSN . I just want to verify the information. I will now change your phone number. Just a moment please, Tracy.

Tracy > Iris, are these chat logs reviewed later for quality assurance purposes?
Iris.18173 > Yes.
Tracy > Okay. So you don't mind then if I post this session for peer review? [y'all are my peers]
Tracy > ping time 8:15pm
Iris.18173 > I understand where you are coming from Tracy. i just want to verify your number because on the previous chat it is ###, or is it ###?
Tracy > ###
Iris.18173 > Thank you. I have changed you phone number on your account. Would there be anything else I may help you with?
Tracy > No, thank you.
Iris.18173 > You are welcome Tracy.

(Tue Aug 18 20:18:41 EDT 2009)
Iris.18173 > I will appreciate your feedback about the service you experienced with me today. It is our priority to provide you the best customer service. Kindly answer the survey at the end of this chat so we will know how we can improve our service. [roflmao!]
Tracy > Oh, I sure will!
Iris.18173 > Thank you for contacting Comcast. We value your business. If you need assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us through Live Chat or E-Mail (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). As well, Comcast offers excellent FAQ and Help forums located at www.comcast.net to help you reach a resolution without contacting our technical support.
Iris.18173 > Analyst has closed chat and left the room


  1. I sincerely apologize for the unacceptable experience. Clearly, we have caused you many frustrations during the chat session and I would really like to get this addressed. We certainly do not want another customer going through the same experience.

    If it is not so much of a trouble, may I know the new phone number associated with the account? This information will help me determine whom you spoke with over the chat.

    Thanks in advance for allowing me to look into this.

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations

  2. I'm finding Comcast's strange, proactive "customer service damage control" campaign amusing. You can't even say "Comcast" on Twitter without their agents jumping on you and trying to help you.

    The problem, of course, is that if they did their job right to begin with, had trained techs, tools that worked, and customer service that cared, they wouldn't have to do damage control. We won't even get into their monopoly, their outrageous price structure, or their random fees.

    We've fought with them for the last several years. If we had another viable option in my area, we'd go with it. I'd walk a long way to see Comcast lose my business.

  3. I'm afraid it isn't just comcast...there's a whole set of tools for automated service out there that appear to fail to give any information that you've entered (followed by the pound sign, please) on to the person you end up talking to. Most frustrating!


  4. Dear Mark Casem:

    You don't need to have me contact you; you need to look at retraining your staff to actually listen/read/pay attention when a customer contacts them for assistance.

    Currently, your staff is looking for keywords and therefore is missing the context in which those words are used.

    I'm not the only customer having these sorts of experiences. The problem is internal to the training your staff received and how they are providing that service to your customers.

    Good luck.