December 28, 2010

An Open Letter to Comcast/Xfinity

When we got home yes­ter­day, we were sur­prised to find a weird “acti­vate your device” mes­sage when we tried to go online. I turned on the TV, and there were no cable chan­nels. Some­thing was afoot.

So I called the num­ber on the “acti­vate” screen and had an auto­mated mes­sage tell me that my account was delin­quent, I owed hun­dreds of dol­lars, and my ser­vice had been dis­counted. Imag­ine my shock to learn this when I’d had NO PREVIOUS NOTICE. Even worse, I couldn’t get through to a cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive with­out pay­ing my bill first (sleazy — what if it had been your mistake?).

Long story short, when my card num­ber was stolen back in Octo­ber, the bank can­celed it and issued a new one. I for­got that the old one was reg­is­tered for your auto­matic pay­ment pro­gram, so your were unable to process pay­ment in Novem­ber and Decem­ber. Fair enough, but maybe you could have men­tioned that to me at some point before tak­ing the extreme step of dis­con­nect­ing my service.

Clearly you had my email address. While I received weekly “Xfin­ity What to Watch” spa­mails that I was too lazy to unsub­scribe from, I never once received a “hey, there’s a prob­lem with your pay­ment” notice. And when I called to try to talk to a human being about the prob­lem, the auto­mated voice ver­i­fied the last four dig­its of my phone num­ber, so obvi­ously you know how to reach me by phone. In fact, after a sec­ond call when I could finally reach a real per­son, I received an auto­mated tele­phone sur­vey, so call­ing me is proven to work. Not once, though, did I receive a “hey, we’re going to dis­con­nect your ser­vice” call dur­ing the last two months.

And while we’re at it, we’re on the verge of 2011 and you’re my cable and inter­net provider. Don’t you have the tech­nol­ogy to pop up a mes­sage on a screen say­ing, “hope you’re enjoy­ing this, we’d like you to keep enjoy­ing this, but can we talk about the prob­lem with your card num­ber? please call.” On the TV or on my com­puter screen — your choice. Or go old school because you know what else still works? Postal mail, a chan­nel you and I will be return­ing to using.

Hon­estly — in 2010, you couldn’t find *some* way to con­tact me to let me know there was a prob­lem? On top of that, I now have to go anti-green and re-activate paper bills if I want to be sure I see prob­lem notices, because the only billing-related emails I received from you dur­ing the last two months looked exactly like the one below. Which looks exactly like every other “your state­ment is ready for view­ing” mes­sage I get each month.

Comcast thinks this message equals "we're going to disconnect your service"

That mes­sage is the only billing-related one I received from you for the entire month of Decem­ber. If you saw that mes­sage every month from your elec­tric com­pany, would you think there was a prob­lem? Would you expect a lit­tle some­thing more from them that they’re turn­ing off your ser­vice? I expected more from you.

Yes, I could have logged in dur­ing those two months and seen a notice on the screen, but I also think you could have added a notice to that email or sent a sep­a­rate notice to make sure I knew there was a prob­lem. Good cus­tomer ser­vice this ain’t.

And now you want to charge recon­nec­tion fees because you dis­con­nected my ser­vice with­out any heads up that there was a prob­lem. Seriously?

Now that I’ve calmed down, I’m sub­mit­ting the fol­low­ing requests so that oth­ers don’t have to spend a frus­trat­ing evening the way I did.

  • Change your pro­ce­dures so that cus­tomers using your e-bill ser­vice receive sep­a­rate noti­fi­ca­tions that there’s a prob­lem with pay­ment. Or add a notice to the stan­dard tem­plate, but pro­vide some type of heads-up that there’s an issue with­out the per­son hav­ing to log in to find out about it.
  • Change your pro­ce­dures so that cus­tomers using your e-bill ser­vice receive sep­a­rate noti­fi­ca­tions that you’re going to dis­con­nect their ser­vice. While it likely won’t be any­time soon, I’d like to be able to trust your e-bill notices in the future and stop receiv­ing paper bills again someday.
  • Make it pos­si­ble for some­one who’s as con­fused about an unknown prob­lem as I was to talk to a human being first with­out hav­ing to cough up a credit card num­ber first.

And I want my recon­nec­tion fees waived, because I would have paid my bill (as I have for years) had I known there was some­thing wrong. It’s a shame your cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive couldn’t do that for me. I had no con­fi­dence that any com­plaints I sub­mit­ted to an unem­pow­ered front­line per­son would get me any­where, which is what made me blog this open let­ter to you. I know you think you’re pro­tect­ing your CS folks by tak­ing away their abil­ity to judge a sit­u­a­tion and make a cus­tomer happy, but all you’re doing is upset­ting cus­tomers like me who want to dis­cuss how to resolve a valid complaint.

Please fix these prob­lems. You can do bet­ter, and you owe your cus­tomers bet­ter communication.

Sin­cerely,
Jenny

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Tags: comcast, communication, customer service, xfinity

9:01 am Comments (8)

October 20, 2010

October 20th Stream

generic (feed #10)
diigo (feed #20)

Like a half-billion peo­ple before him, Simon­etti joined Face­book and began typ­ing in his sta­tus updates. But in this case, Simonetti’s only friends were a hand-picked ros­ter of more than two dozen vol­un­teers who agreed to sift through their news feeds for the dura­tion of our exper­i­ment, duti­fully record­ing any Phil sightings.

As our vol­un­teers checked in with their reports, some remark­able find­ings began to emerge:

generic (feed #10)
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@lukelibrarian def­i­nitely under con­sid­er­a­tion but will have to mar­shal the resources for it. thanks for the sug­ges­tion. [shifted]
flickr (feed #5)
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@ninaksimon 1600+ libraries reg­is­tered for National Gam­ing Day (Nov 13); up from last year, but still a long way to go (http://ngd.ala.org) [shifted]
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@ebethmoreau awe­some! what’d you get? #ngd10 [shifted]
twitter (feed #3)
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RT @windycitizen: NPR com­men­ta­tor Aaron Free­man to host Rally to Restore San­ity Chicago on Sat. Oct. 30 in Grant Park — http://ow.ly/2Wgpd [shifted]
generic (feed #10)
twitter (feed #3)
mpow is ripe for inno­va­tion. we are in a liq­uid state right now. #seizethe­day http://amzn.com/k/UVSNMH8VJAP3 #Kin­dle [shifted]
twitter (feed #3)
@millerhj thanks! I’m clearly going to hit the clip­ping limit on @stevenbjohnson’s new book way early. high­light­ing the heck out of it. [shifted]
twitter (feed #3)
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11:00 pm Comments (1)

October 19, 2010

October 19th Stream

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for a pre­sen­ta­tion I’m giv­ing: what mobile (or other new) ser­vices would you like to see ven­dors offer on the exhibit floor? [shifted]
twitter (feed #3)
@lukelibrarian thanks! we’re already work­ing on most of that ( http://ow.ly/2VSx6 ) & will be look­ing at qr codes. other ideas for exhibits? [shifted]
twitter (feed #3)
@loidagarciafebo well, that’s a sep­a­rate dis­cus­sion :-p I’m look­ing for new ways you want to inter­act with ven­dors on the exhibit floor. [shifted]
generic (feed #9)
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it’s offi­cial: the ALA web­site is mov­ing to Dru­pal next year! http://ow.ly/2VULh #hap­py­dance [shifted]
twitter (feed #3)
dri­ves me nuts RT @rmazar: I think I have lost the bat­tle. “blog” seems to be a syn­onym for “blog post.” Let us observe a moment of slience. [shifted]
generic (feed #10)
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11:00 pm Comments (0)

October 18, 2010

October 18th Stream

generic (feed #10)
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Shared 17 photos.
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@dcbcd I stocked up on vit­a­min c on the way in to work and am light­ing a can­dle to the health gods.… [shifted]
diigo (feed #20)

We cre­ated this site for those of you that have a song stuck in your head and you can’t get it out no mat­ter what you do. Using the lat­est in reverse-auditory-melodic-unstickification tech­nol­ogy, we’ve been able to allow our users to “unhear” songs by hear­ing equally catchy songs. So really all we’re doing is mak­ing you for­get your old song by replac­ing it with another one… sorry. — via @swissmiss

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@hootsuite Help! No response to fill­ing out the Non-Profit Dis­count Appli­ca­tion. Can you have some­one con­tact me? Thx — jlevine at ala.org [shifted]
twitter (feed #3)
FF3.5.7 doesn’t work for me but great idea RT @steverubel: Leather­bound. com­pares ebook prices for iBooks, Kin­dle & Nook http://ow.ly/2V7uD [shifted]
blog (feed #12)

In atten­dance: Tina, Sean, Val, Megan, Jenny, Mary
We had a great dis­cus­sion about the staff response plan, and I got caught up in the con­ver­sa­tion so didn’t take thor­ough meet­ing notes. Per­haps we need to rotate this duty?
Megan has put together a great foun­da­tion for the Choose Your Own Adven­ture Response Plan. She came up with five basic sce­nar­ios, which she’ll post to the group: pos­i­tive, neu­tral, inac­cu­rate, neg­a­tive low risk, and neg­a­tive high risk. We also added information-seeking/customer ser­vice as a sixth type.
ALA Social Media Work­ing Group
read more

generic (feed #10)
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“need a 6th P (Product/Price/Place/Positioning/Promotion): user Plea­sure in all aspects of strat­egy, pro­mo­tion & design” http://ow.ly/2TqY9 [shifted]
generic (feed #10)
twitter (feed #3)
really look­ing for­ward to read­ing this book. totally agree that good ideas need to be shared. http://amzn.com/k/YNNYE6QMA20B #Kin­dle [shifted]
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11:01 pm Comments (1)

October 17, 2010

October 17th Stream

flickr (feed #5)
flickr (feed #5)
Shared joy.
joy
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October 16, 2010

October 16th Stream

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October 15, 2010

October 15th Stream

twitter (feed #3)
@HiddenPeanuts this will change my behav­ior — was clip­ping every­thing of inter­est; now have to be more care­ful :-( http://ow.ly/2TOlJ [shifted]
flickr (feed #5)
Shared 7 photos.
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11:00 pm Comments (0)

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