Lessons From Comcast Customer Service

I’ve been thinking a lot about customer service lately. Maybe it’s because the cable and internet went out at my house giving me more free time. Or it could be the fact that every time I have an interaction with Comcast it’s never a pleasant experience.

For the past two years there have been multiple times the cable behemith and I have been at odds over my address. Since day one, they’ve had my house numbers backwards. I live at 105 and their computers show I’m at 501. It seems like the simplest thing to change, yet here we are two year later and it’s still an issue. I think the best moment came in mid-2009 when they called and left me a message saying, every bill we send you gets returned and we’re not sure if you’re paying your bills, so can you please call us back. (I didn’t since I’d been paying the bills online and the cable stayed on.)

So when I returned home after traveling to see family over the holidays and the cable was out, I figured my run of outsmarting the Comcast computers had come to an end. When I called Comcast I was shuffled around to five different people in multiple states just to schedule an appointment for someone to come to my house to see what was wrong. Every step along the way, the script was always the same. I can’t do this for you, so I’m going to send you somewhere else. Along the way, I’d mention the address issue could be causing the problems, but again, no one could change something in the system as simple as three numbers on an address.

Flash forward to this morning. I get a call from Comcast confirming my appointment at the address of 501. I politely correct them and say 105. Then I was told I should probably call back to change that because this particular person couldn’t do it. Since I was just out of bed, I probably wasn’t as kind as I should have been, but I informed the gentleman I had no interest in calling back since I’d been trying to fix this for years without success.

About an hour later, I get a call from the technician saying he’s standing in front of my house at 501. I correct him and eventually he made his way down the street to my house. The problem: someone had disconnected the cable from the line at the street. Comcast admits it was most likely them since the system probably showed our house as inactive even though all of the bills had been paid.

I don’t blame the people I talked with at Comcast for the hassle. They were all friendly. But the company they work for creates a system of policies that doesn’t let them serve their customers well.

This rant has a point other than the cathartic effects for me. I start to wonder how many procedures or policies we have within our churches that create an awful customer service experience for our attenders or visitors. Maybe it’s not following up with a person who wants to volunteer. Or could it be that a visitor who wants to learn about a specific program is passed from person to person until they get frustrated and just walk out. Dropping a cable company can be one thing, but what about the person who gets frustrated enough to leave a church and never come back? Is there some way we could have better served or communicated with that person?

How about you? Are there any example of where your church shines or fails when it comes to customer serivce.

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