Sunday, July 11, 2010

Comcast, An Xfinity of Crud

Hey, y’all. I just moved and had the pleasure of dealing with Comcast again. Because I can’t get enough of their high rates and crappy customer service, I decided to add phone service. The triple penetration package, I think they call it. Two reasons I got a home phone – first, we have an alarm system in the new place that requires it, so that in the event a scary looking dude busts down our front door, a nice white man in a button down shirt will call to make sure everything is okay. Second, the neighborhood to which we moved is so exclusive that it apparently doesn’t even allow wireless signals. Or AT&T Wireless blows. But that’s another post. And I digress.

They managed to get the TV and internet working, but if you remember I was paying for triple penetration. Unfortunately when they were here to install it, I didn’t have a phone to test the line. Eventually I went back in time to find this thing they call a landline phone and hooked it up. No dial tone. However, it would ring when called, but I couldn’t hear a thing when I picked it up. Just static. So I would guess what the other party was saying and try to continue the conversation like that. I thought I might be able to pull it off, but strange people began showing up at my door, I was receiving odd packages in the mail, and inexplicable debits were being made to my checking account. After verifying with Mrs. F’er that she signed us up for the Digital Voice and not the specially priced Static and Interference package, I finally threw in the towel and decided I needed to talk to the fine folks of Comcast customer service. However, if you remember, I didn’t have wireless service and I wouldn’t be able to hear them on my new Comcast phone service. So I decided to try the live chat function. Turns out I might have been better off just guessing what a phone rep might have been saying.

The follow transcript is not embellished. It is 100% authentic (except for changing some identifying details). With my added commentary in brackets.

user Sid_ has entered room

Sid>
We can receive calls but cannot hear the other party. We can place calls, but do not hear a dial tone. Just static in both cases.

analyst Ana Maria has entered room

[The irony of Ana Maria being identified as an analyst will be apparent by the end of the chat.]

Ana Maria>
Hello Sid_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Ana Maria. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Ana Maria>
You are a valued customer, and your satisfaction is my priority. I will gladly assist you with whatever Comcast related concerns you have today.

[The irony of her saying I am a valued customer will be apparent by the end of the email. Same for that satisfaction part. Oh, and that part about assisting me with my concerns.]

Ana Maria>
I am glad to have you on chat, Sid. How are you today?

[I’m kind of annoyed and pissed off but I’ve worked in a call center before and know it sucks, so I’ll spare you right now and just move this along.]

Sid_>
good, thanks

Ana Maria>
I am glad to know that you feel good today, Sid.

[Serious? Clearly we’re working off a Madlibs script.]

Ana Maria>
I understand that your phone is not properly working. The other party can't hear you. Is that correct?

[Wow. I could understand if this were a phone call, but the problem is pretty much written out for you and you still got it wrong.]

Sid_>
No, we can't hear the other party

Sid_>
they can hear us

Ana Maria>
I understand that.

[You didn’t understand that a minute ago.]

Ana Maria>
I am very sorry to hear that this issue happened to you. I can understand the frustration when something is not working the way it is supposed to. I am glad you came to chat so that we can do our best to assist you in resolving this issue.

[Okay, back to Madlibs and irony.]

Ana Maria>
No worries. As your Comcast service representative, I want you to know that issue resolution and your satisfaction are my top priorities for today. Together, we can work this out, Sid.

[I’m not trying to save our marriage here I just want my damn phone fixed. But please continue with your scripted empathy. What function key do you have that programmed to?]

Ana Maria>
To start with, may I please have the name on the account, the telephone number starting with the area code, the complete service address with the zip code, your account number, and the last four digits of your SSN.

[Considering I had to log in to my online account to access the chat, that seems like overkill but I’ll play along.]

Sid_>
Mrs. F’er, 312-555-1234, 123 S. Main Chicago, IL 606xx ssn 1234

Ana Maria>
Thank you. Please give me a couple of minutes to pull up your account and verify the information you gave me.

Ana Maria>
May I know how are you related to Mrs F’er?

[I’m her pet squirrel monkey. Does it matter – are you afraid an unauthorized person is trying to get her service fixed?]

Sid_>
husband

Ana Maria>
Thank you.

Ana Maria>
May I know when this issue started?

Sid_>
new service - just started using the phone today

Ana Maria>
Thank you.

Ana Maria>
I run a health check here on my tool, and it gave me a good result, meaning the phone line is in good condition and there is nothing wrong with it.

[I ran a health check here on my tool and I might need some penicillin, but I don’t see what that has to do with my phone.]

Ana Maria>
Let me do a test call from here.

Ana Maria>
To set the proper expectations, the call is only to test the phone, and we are unable to answer any other inquiry that you might have for your Comcast services or any other concern you might want to raise. If there is anything you want me to address for you further, please wait until you get back in chat so we can work on your concern.

[Damn you… this was all a ploy to get some phone sex. I love how terrified they are that a chat operator might have to talk to a customer.]

Sid_>
ok

Sid_>
yes, phone rang, but only heard static after i answered

Ana Maria>
Is that a new receiver?

[Yes, brand new from Target, thanks for asking. It still has that new phone smell.]

Sid_>
yes

Ana Maria>
From here, I can here you very clearly. It indicates that the phone line doesn't have a problem.

[Clearly you missed the day in which they covered homonyms. I told you it was a knew phone.]

Sid_>
any other suggestions on what may be causing the static beside a bad phone?

[Okay Ana Maria, you also must have missed the day in “analyst” class in which they taught you to analyze. So you see what I’m doing up there – I’m helping you out. It’s like a flow chart in chat form. Please, play along with me.]

Ana Maria>
I ran a second health check agaibn, and it says here that the problem is with the phone itself and not with the phone line.

[Actually, you just wasted your time since we established that it wasn’t a problem with the phone line. And I don’t believe your health check tells you that it is specifically a problem with the phone itself. But it can’t hurt to have your cholesterol checked.]

Sid_>
ok

[Now are you seeing the irony?]

Sid_>
since you're telling me it's my phone i'll try another one

[I’m still pissed off, but hey, maybe there’s a 1% chance I got a bum phone or hooked it up wrong.]

Sid_>
thanks

Ana Maria>
You are welcome, Sid.

[I was being sarcastic, you dumbass.]

Ana Maria>
Since your issue was already resolved, do you have any other issues that I could address?

Sid_>
i wouldn't call it resolved, but that's all for right now.

Ana Maria>
The problem is vith your phone itself, and I have done everything from here.

[You haven’t done shit but the absolute minimum to shift the blame, get yourself out of this chat in a timely manner so your supervisor doesn’t yell at you, and make sure that Comcast doesn’t incur any additional expense.]

Ana Maria>
It has been a pleasure to be of service to you. Thank you for choosing Comcast as your service provider and making it a part of your life! Comcast appreciates your business and values you as a customer. Our goal is to provide you with excellent quality service.

[You have been absolutely no service to me whatsoever. I can’t believe you had the balls to say that even though it’s probably required at the end of every chat session.]

Ana Maria>
If you need further assistance, you can chat with one of our Customer Support Specialists 24 hour a day, 7 days a week at http://www.comcastsupport.com/videochat. Here, we value our business with you. Have a great day and take care! To properly close this chat, please click the End Session button.

[Yeah, since I had such a stellar experience this time I’ll be sure to try it again!]

Ana Maria>
If you do not have any Coamcast related issue, you may click the END session button to get the survey.

[Okay, sorry for the inconvenience. I’ll stop annoying you. And it appears that I ended up in a chat with the wrong company – I was trying to reach Comcast, not Coamcast. That must be a new clever strategy to get out of assisting customers.]

Sid_>
got it - have a swell day


So I went even further back in time and got a corded phone – how much simpler could it be? I ran a health check which consisted of plugging the thing in and listening for the non-existent dial tone. That tells me the problem is not with my phone but with my service provider who clearly does not appreciate me as a customer, does not value my business, and has not made my satisfaction their top priority.

So here’s the deal. I can sometimes sympathize with the poor customer service rep, who is working a shit job for little money and is under pressure and at the mercy of their greedy management and asinine policies. So I have a problem taking it out on them. Which by this time I wanted do more than anything, so I made the Mrs. call and told her not to hang up until they agreed to send a tech out. Her phone rep made sure that we knew the difference between a cordless and corded phone and that we knew how to plug one in, and that we knew how to turn a modem on. It’s a phone, not a proton accelerator. She finally agreed to get a tech out.

Guess what? It was the modem. The tech was great. But he did mention that they obviously recycle equipment and sometimes the defective stuff ends up back out in the field because they don’t have a good system to tag it as defective. Sweet.

I love you Coamcast. It’s those a-holes at Comcast with whom I have a problem.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

leper lurker says....
Customer service blows everywhere. It took me over 2 yrs, frequent phone calls, various attempts at fixes, getting my issue bumped up to "tier 2" before AT&T finally sent a tech out. He tested the outside line and came back the next day to test the inside. Turns out the problem was that the main phone jack was bad. Took him 5 minutes to fix it.

keysunset said...

"working off a Madlibs script" -- you nearly owed me a new computer for that one!

Ah, customer service ... I've done my time there, too. Both as someone trying to get something fixed and as the "analyst" -- though I never presumed to such a title. I was only a lowly "service representative."

Thanks for sharing, it brought back such lovely memories ... ;-)

ComcastCares1 said...

Hi there!

I'd like to share your experience with our local leaders. Do you mind sending me an email with your account info and a link to this page?

Sorry for the troubles we caused.

Mark Casem
Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations
We_can_help@cable.comcast.com

Hello said...

Thanks for sharing.

aggie biker girl said...

"Clearly you missed the day they covered homophones. I told you this was a knew phone."

Holy crap! That's some funny stuff!

WestCoast Ray said...

Typical. My sympathies.

del said...

That's what you get for moving yet again. Maybe if you HAD called a phone sex operator you'd have gotten more satisfaction?

bad mommy said...

i don't know what you're complaining about. you were very clearly triple penetrated. if you didn't like it, that's your fault for asking for it.

connan said...

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