Great Customer Service: Comcast

About two weeks ago we had Comcast come and install cable in our apartment. I must say, I ordered it with a bit of trepidation as I’ve heard horror stories about Comcast customer service.

But they blew me away! The service was fantastic!

That’s not to say the service was flawless, but it is to say that they handled issues appropriately and in-stride, and I came out of it a very happy camper.

Ordering Service

The first thing that was wonderful about the experience was that I was able to order cable all online without having to pick up the phone. They even had an online chat person available to assist me in completing the order. In all the experience of going from order form to “chat confirmation” to completion was seamless.

Three things really stuck out in my mind about the experience. First, they gave me a chance to pick three dates and time ranges when someone would be able to come out to do the installation. They need three days notice, and I ordered on Thursday, so Monday was the earliest anyone could show up. I picked one Monday time slot, and two on Friday.  This was great because it allowed me to have them fit into my schedule instead of the other way around.

Second, in the chat session that followed, I was able to get a couple of questions answered. Admittedly, I’m sure the chat session is used as an up-sell/cross-sell sales tool. They offered me some type of insurance as well as a telephone service, which were both declined. But thankfully they weren’t pushy about it. Additionally, the rep was able to give me further clarification about the date and time of my installation, down to the hour!

Third, they asked for a Social Security Number. Why, I’m not really sure. Probably something to do with identification or credit checking. But like most shrewd consumers, I’m always skeptical of handing out my SSN, especially to complete strangers regardless of whether they offer a service I desire. To my surprise, when I declined, I was offered other options that would satisfy the same requirement.

Day of Installation

I think this is really what defined my Comcast experience as a good one.

The day of the installation they were supposed to arrive between 8 and 9am.  About 8:45 I hadn’t heard anything and was getting a bit nervous. So I called them: 1-800-COMCAST (266-2278). It took me about a minute and 10 seconds to navigate the menu.  I don’t remember what I pressed in the menus, but I waited a mere 20 seconds to get a person on the phone.

Once I got a person, I told her who I was and that I was concerned about my cable guy showing up on time. She put me on hold for a minute and twenty seconds. When she returned, she told me that he was running late, and that I would get a $20 credit due to their on time guarantee. Woohoo!

When the guy showed up (about 45 minutes late), I opened the door. He removed his shoes, hurried over to the television and began hooking it up. He was done within 45 minutes, including programming the remote to work with my TV. Impressive!


All in all it was a very impressive experience. If all Comcast installations are like this, I think I’m a customer for life.

Angles of View

B&H has a great article that invites us to consider the use of Angles of View rather than focal length in comparing lenses. The general premise is that focal length is difficult to compare across camera types and sensor sizes. I think it’s an interesting proposal, but I have my suspicious as to whether or not the camera industry will latch onto the proposal.

How Not to Get Laid Off

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the rise of more thorough phone interviews. In a possible case of putting the cart before the horse, I bring you another article on How Not to Get Laid Off. Obviously, it’s better to retain one’s job than to have to search for a new one, so in the event that you are still gainfully employed, this article might be a good read for you.

I wouldn’t necessarily advocate following all of the suggestions to the “T”. In many cases, doing that has the potential to wreck havoc on your work/life balance–sending them spiraling out of balance. But the suggestions are good reminders, especially in this economy, of how to be a top-notch employee.

I think my favorite point is #2:

Become a Black Belt at Change

Since the only constant is change, I think it’s a really good idea to learn how to be flexible during these economically perilous times.

Good luck! Hopefully these hints will be helpful in keeping that dreaded visit from HR at bay.

Telephone Interviews

According to a new article in the Wall Street Journal, employers are increasingly likely to use more rigorous phone screens/interviews when considering a candidate. With unemployment rates as high as they are (9.4) as of May, employers can afford to be more picky. It makes sense that more rigorous phone screens would be part of the answer. They cost less time and money than a regular interview. They might not be as effective, but they don’t have to be. They only need to weed out the average and above average candidates, leaving the superior and exceptional candidates to be brought to the office for in-person interviews.

In any case, if you’re in the market for a new job, it would likely behoove you to be more meticulous in your preparation and planning for such interviews.

Food Marketing

Yesterday, I posted an article on how marketers are out to “create” the next big steak. But the thought about food marketing grabbed my attention.

I think the other case I’m specifically aware of where the marketers “created” a new food item was with the portobello mushroom. In reality, portobellos are just giant crimini mushrooms. The farmers had no idea what to do with them, so the marketers gave them a new name and sold them as portobellos. Odd, huh?

And in a twist of irony, the marketers did such a good job, and portobellos are so well known now that they must surpass criminis in consumer recongition because you can go into the grocery store today and find “baby bellas” which are supposed to be smaller, immature portobellos. In reality of course, they’re just standard size criminis. Hmm…the irony of it all.

The other interesting one I know of is the Patagonian toothfish. Say what? Likely, you’ve never heard of it, but what if I told you that was the real name of the Chilean Sea Bass?  Yup. Totally marketing. Chilean Sea Bass just sounds delicious and exotic, doesn’t it?

That’s marketing for you.

Next Big Steak

The Mercury News had a fascinating article on how marketers are in the process of “creating” the next big steak. I put that in quotes because they’re obviously not creating anything. Those cows have been the same for hundreds if not thousands of years, and they’re not growing any new musculature. The marketers are just figuring out new ways of slicing, dicing, and serving beef.

It’s an interesting read with insight into the marketing that goes into the food industry.

Great American Part III

Apparently, I’m not the only one who was dissatisfied with the way the (not so) Great American Food and Music Festival went. John Orr of the San Jose Mercury News wrote about it in a blog post Saturday night and expressed great disappointment and frustration. John Birdsall of SF Weekly had similar sentiments. Loni Stark of StarkSilverCreek even has an interesting video detailing the ordeal along with some tasty looking photographs. Even the San Jose Mercury News picked up the story.

A couple of days ago, Ed Levine issued another “apology” on his blog. But I’d say it’s a half-hearted apology at best. The first paragraph gets right to it and apologizes. What he apologizes for isn’t really clear because he never states it. In fact, I’d argue that he has the audacity blame the massive failure of the event on others–most notably the attendees!

Frankly, people were so excited about the fest that they all showed up early, which doesn’t normally happen at an all-day festival. That compounded the logistical issues.

That might not be outright blame, but it certainly seems to me like he’s trying to pass the buck.  And speaking of bucks:

Our high-tech cashless wristband system, designed to be easy to use for serious eaters and purveyors alike, failed at the get-go.

Was it really his fault that technology failed? No certainly not. But it was his fault for not having a contingency plan and implementing it when things went awry.

The last part of his “apology” was a sob story about how things didn’t go as expected…uh…yeah. That’s the whole point:

This has been my dream for nearly two decades, I still believe in that dream. And the image I had in mind wasn’t what took place yesterday, but I won’t give up on the dream that I think a lot of you share with me. It was a pleasure to meet so many of you in person. We’ll let you know when we try again.

Ed, you can let me know when you try again, but you’re going to need a demonstrable improvement in logistics, entertainment, food, pricing, etc. before I consider attending again. In the meantime, I’d rather eat $1.50 Costco hot dogs with free soda and watch Bobby Flay on the Food Network.

Go to Hawaii!

I guess now is a really good time to go to Hawaii. Yahoo! News was reporting that there’s a ton of good deals going on right now due to the recession. If we hadn’t already gone on our honeymoon, I suppose we’d probably be heading out there as well.

The only issue is that though there are good deals in the form of add-ons, there are few that actually show a reduction in the cost of the hotel. So it’s not really any cheaper to go to Hawaii, but you get a lot more for your money.

Anyways, help the economy out. Go to Hawaii!