A tip for the business owner seeking to learn what not to do to please a customer – sign up for Comcast.
Yes, there will be pain. Yes, you will curse me for making this suggestion.
But, trust me, you will become better for it, as long as you bring a smile to the times when you are interminably on hold. Or when your service gets interrupted. Or when your bill packs the kind of surprise that you only wish on an enemy.
Last year, I wrote here and elsewhere http://technorati.com/business/article/does-a-twitter-following-give-one/ about Comcast’s shortsighted view when I called to ask for a teeny exception. In short, I pay Comcast nearly $3,000 a year for the so-called Triple Play (TV, Internet, phone). I was one day late for an early-bird price on the Major League Baseball package, and rather than give me the $20 break, Comcast showed me its dumb side (I’m not sure it has another).
Eventually, they made good, but not before the harm was done.
Fast forward to Saturday when I phoned to question my larger-by-nearly-$45 bill. After about a 15-minute wait, I was connected to a woman I eventually found out was taking my call from the Philippines. She had no understanding of my account, its changes, or even why I was on the line.
Forty minutes into this mess, I was speaking to the “resolution” department and a well-spoken rep who knew in a second that I was a high-end customer about to walk.
“The FCC forces us to pick up the phone after a certain amount of time passes,” he told me. “That’s why you were connected to her. I’m sorry.”
Is there anything dumber than to connect an already bothered customer with an overseas “service” person who barely speaks English and understands even less?
If you were Comcast, would you not set this up so that those in the queue who are your high-end customers would talk to someone who could resolve an issue rather than someone likely to throw gas on the fire? Remember I had to key in my info at the start so they knew or should’ve known who I was.
Of course, you are asking why am I with Comcast in the first place? A bundle price, but more important, an on-demand programming product that keeps my wife happy (you learn what matters over the course of 22 years of marriage).
Last point – only because I called did I learn that I could reduce my bill by $50 a month if I re-upped on the bundle for two years.
Small and medium-size business owner – how much do you think I would love you if you proactively alerted me to a big price break?
The answer: Lots.
I said yes to the Comcast renewal with an early-termination fee that will pay for itself in three months. Also, I have 30 days to change my mind. Over the next month, I’m calling DIRECTV and Dish to see what they will do for me.
And whether they pick up their phones in the Philippines.
(This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. http://goo.gl/S6P7m)