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I Need Speed

join:2007-11-12
Richmond, TX

Comcast and JD Powers come to Houston

Recently I was invited along with several other Houston residents to a dinner and discussion led by JD Powers. The intent of this Customer Forum was to get feedback on the Comcast customer service here in the Houston Market

In attendants was a who's who of Comcast execs and department heads including the new Senior Vice President of Customer Service, Mr. Rick Germano.

As some of you might know Comcast took over the Houston market from Time Warner last summer. And I have been more then a little loud over the problems I have experienced in that time. So to say I was shocked to be invited to this function is no understatement on my part.

As for all the Comcastians in attendance only time will tell what they walked away with in the form of ideas and or improvements but I thought I would share with all of you the things I found most interesting.

I would like to start by saying to all the customer service representatives and field techs in the Houston area "HATS OFF" to you. It seemed to be obvious that all the customers in attendance had nothing but nice things to say about about you and your efforts to solve a problem. Not one story of rudeness or indifference. Now don't get me wrong we did talk in detail about problems and possible solutions, however I did not hear one negative comment about the customer service you provide. Now I don't know about the rest of you readers but that speaks volumes to me about the employees in the Houston area.

My honest opinion that I was happy to share with the rest of the room is that the biggest problem I saw was that the employees were not the breakdown rather the system in which they are operating under is too constraining. I have found in my dealings with Comcast that like most large company's, years of management over-site, adding rules and regulations to streamline performance and maximize profits, have overlapped each other there by creating the opposite affect of inefficiency and a negative impact on customer service. It's kind of like that 100' extension cord you have in the garage that is so wadded up you are lucky to get 15' of length to use.

You all will be happy to know that I was not the only member of Broadband Reports there. I met another gentleman there that had printed reports from this very site showing faulty Comcast routers and intermittent packet loss. I think between the two of us we inadvertently dominated the conversation.

An ongoing theme of the evening seemed to be the lack of communication between Comcast and customers as well as between Comcast and Comcast. Yes you heard me wright Comcast seems to have a problem conveying information within its own organization. The beef that most of us had was the chore of re-telling our story to every new person we talked to including what the last tech tried or what customer service had us try. In this day and age of computers and technology why is it so hard to keep records of an ongoing problem?

The evening was not all complaining there were some very good suggestions made to combat problems. One suggestion was to have one service representative follow a problem from beginning to end. Another idea was to put up a page easily found on the Comcast site that shows the state of the network including outages and scheduled maintenance.

In the end I saw several of the people from Comcast writing allot of notes. That tends to lead me to believe that they too got something constructive out of the discussion.

And for all of you that I know are going to ask we received no new information on DOCSIS 3. Although I did mention that it was something I would like to see from Comcast here in Houston
Also we did not discuss Sandvine or download limits.

I would like to thank Comcast and JD Powers for inviting me and I hope that I was able to give you some useful information.



funchords
Hello
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-11
Yarmouth Port, MA
kudos:6

said by I Need Speed:

Recently I was invited along with several other Houston residents to a dinner and discussion led by JD Powers. The intent of this Customer Forum was to get feedback on the Comcast customer service here in the Houston Market

In attendants was a who's who of Comcast execs and department heads including the new Senior Vice President of Customer Service, Mr. Rick Germano.
Wow.

J.D. Powers might just have lost a few points of credibility with me. Was the conversation "directed" -- did JD Powers ask you to expand on specific concerns brought up from earlier customer panels? If so, then my concern is lessened. Otherwise, I'm concerned that the method you described might not get to the unvarnished truth.

I've conducted numerous such customer panels in the high-tech industry, and there is a prescribed method for eliciting both the most and best information from the panelists. They generally don't involve dinner and company VIPs.

But perhaps its a method for management to hear "the customers voice" on a specific set of concerns that JD Powers already collected.

What do you think? Or is my question off track somehow?

said by I Need Speed:

And for all of you that I know are going to ask we received no new information on DOCSIS 3. Although I did mention that it was something I would like to see from Comcast here in Houston.
Nice try lobbying like that, but if you Texans don't learn how to whine, you'll never see DOCSIS 3. j/k

Seriously, thanks for this post.
--
Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- Hillsboro, Oregon
"We don't throttle any traffic," -Charlie Douglas, Comcast spokesman, on this report.


I Need Speed

join:2007-11-12
Richmond, TX

The discussions were led by JD Powers but this wasn't your average blind forum. This I think was Comcasts attempt to find out what problems they were facing here in the Houston area.

The format was broken down into several customer service areas and we were asked to comment on our own experiences in each of the areas.

I know the type of survey your referring to were you are sure someone is standing behind that 2way mirror or there is a camera in the room. I found this one more satisfying knowing that the people that can fix the problems were right there in the room taking notes.



jbob
Reach Out and Touch Someone
Premium
join:2004-04-26
Little Rock, AR
reply to I Need Speed

I'm wondering why Comcast would be doing this with JD Powers? I do know that Comcast has been ranked by them very low for several years now.

I would say that while Comcast does seem to have a customer service issue I think it is mostly caused by what you saw discussed, a lack of internal communication. Let's face it if they can't communicate the important stuff to their own people, how can there be good customer support?

I can relate personal experience with them here. They have hired some very crappy techs. This is not to say all their techs are bad however. But I have seen who they hired here and can safely say you reap what you sow. I can see why so many post about not getting the job done correctly.


Phugg

join:2004-09-30
Riverbank, CA
reply to I Need Speed

First off THANK YOU I Need Speed. Being a tech that was a great thing to hear from you. I do not work in the Houston area but Calif. Many of the points you made , I have as well from the inside. Some have been addressed from higher levels, and some have not. I cant go into detail for obvious reasons , but just know that We the techs have a lot of the same feelings as you do. Some of the programs in place are leading to a Single tech resolution . I wish it where perfect but its not. For starters Our schedules dont match yours , so on a simple manpower issue we cannot always see a problem through from beginning to end. In my particular area I have done this many times , and am actually making a call today to follow through on a phone issue from last week (yes its my day off and I still get some work done). I personally took this case by the horns and ran with it. I knew I would be one of the only people in our area to get a resolution , due to the contacts that I have. The customer has been extremely frustrated (as you were for quite some time) and it should all be resolved tomorrow. Do I ask anything for going above and beyond , NO , just the fact that it is done will make me happy. Most the techs I know and work with feel the same. Some dont , and I dont like that fact. I cannot change that from my position , but I can sure as heck try to instill my knowledge and work ethic onto others.
Again Thank you for your input into some of the things that I as a tech , have issues with as well. It is good to see that a very prominent person was there and actually listening , and noting things as well.



gar187er
I do this for a living

join:2006-06-24
Dover, DE
kudos:4
reply to I Need Speed

quote:
Yes you heard me wright Comcast seems to have a problem conveying information within its own organization. The beef that most of us had was the chore of re-telling our story to every new person we talked to including what the last tech tried or what customer service had us try. In this day and age of computers and technology why is it so hard to keep records of an ongoing problem?
thats every major company....systems just arent inplace for that...whether its telecom, utilities, retail, etc....sucks as a technician, but more often then not, its best to start from step 1 so as not to overlook anything....because if your still having issues, then something obviously was missed along the way...
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djdanska
Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

1 edit
reply to gar187er

Re: Comcast and JD Powers come to Houston

said by gar187er:

quote:
Yes you heard me wright Comcast seems to have a problem conveying information within its own organization. The beef that most of us had was the chore of re-telling our story to every new person we talked to including what the last tech tried or what customer service had us try. In this day and age of computers and technology why is it so hard to keep records of an ongoing problem?
thats every major company....systems just arent inplace for that...whether its telecom, utilities, retail, etc....sucks as a technician, but more often then not, its best to start from step 1 so as not to overlook anything....because if your still having issues, then something obviously was missed along the way...
That's part of the reason i like t-mobile for my wireless. When i have to call up technical support for something, i usually have to get transfered to a department or two. After explaining the issue to the first rep, they generally make full notes about what is going on and just about always stay on the line to explain to the next department what the issue is in full detail. (for going from customer care to pda support or internet support).

While i don't expect them to stay on the line, tell the next rep what is going on, and then transfering me to the new rep, it is nice. And the few times (and i mean few times) when i have to wait a few minutes for a rep and they can't wait on hold, the next rep will have full notes already on their screen. I never get asked what happened. They just follow up with the issue at hand.

If comcast took the t-mobile approach at customer care, they could easy help their image. (and save time and money!) T-Mobile may have coverage issues, lack 3g, and have the phone lineup of a 3rd world country, but you can't say much about their customer support. (I was having issues with my blackberry curve and uma working. The rep did a ticket and even called me back a few days later asking me if everything worked out! I had a friend make a change to her rate plan. She could not do it until the end of her billing cycle. The rep offered to call her back on the day after her billing cycle. The rep kept her word and called back! That is good customer service!)

It will take a lot of hard work but would pay off for comcast to take an active interest in the customer support.


quibbly
Premium
join:2003-02-07
Sugar Land, TX
reply to I Need Speed

Did you get the opportunity to discuss latency issues? For us gamers, since CC took over, my lowest ping for games is now 57ms. Now you might say this is ok for latency, but for FPS type games, this is terrible. with TWC, I always had latency around 22ms. As I have stated in other posts, my latency has double since CC took over.

I'm sure other gamers will say the exact thing. Latency is much higher and this makes games a little more diffcult to play.



SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
reply to I Need Speed

Thanks for sharing and to those that don't like Comcast CS, get Verizon and try to navigate through that mess.



jbob
Reach Out and Touch Someone
Premium
join:2004-04-26
Little Rock, AR

said by SparkChaser:

Thanks for sharing and to those that don't like Comcast CS, get Verizon and try to navigate through that mess.
While I'm not questioning what you say, J.D. Power has a very different rating of Comcast vs Verizon in the East, at least as far as high speed providers go.
»www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/···ngs/east

This is the customer satisfaction study. Like night and day
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I Need Speed

join:2007-11-12
Richmond, TX
reply to quibbly

Re: Comcast and JD Powers come to Houston

said by quibbly:

Did you get the opportunity to discuss latency issues? For us gamers, since CC took over, my lowest ping for games is now 57ms. .
.
No we did not discuss specific reasons for problems.
said by quibbly:

. my latency has double since CC took over.

.
I know in my area we started getting a bit slow about 6months before Comcast took over. I have a feeling it was Time Warner's big push to have as many subscribers as possible before the official transition date.


MysticGogeta
The Robot Devil
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Katy, TX
reply to I Need Speed

Definitely have the issue with communication (had various techs come out not knowing what the last guy did or the issue we were having) but it happened when it was Time Warner also so the problem defiantly migrated over.
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houblues

join:2004-12-08
Houston, TX

2 edits
reply to I Need Speed

I just dropped my Houston Comcast subscription after a year of fruitlessly trying to get support for routing and packet loss issues.

I see Comcast's main problem as lack of a useful problem tracking and escalation procedure. In my many calls to tech support I was never once offered any escalation option to someone who might have rendered an informed technical opinion. There is no evidence that any history was being kept on how many and how frequently calls were made, or what was (in my case "not") found. The only option was to chase our tails around the same loop which had not worked in the past (a visit to the home by a low level tech), with no way out.

When I was about to cancel and was venting to a phone rep about doing the same useless home visit drill repeatedly, and having to do it yet again, he told me that only a visiting technician can escalate a customer's problem to a higher authority. At that point I had had multiple home visits and that option had never been offered. On the other hand, when I actually did cancel, I was finally offered the opportunity to speak with someone more knowlegable.

I almost can not believe that the only way to get support is to cancel service, but that in fact is my actual experience. That is the most absolutely counterproductive business process I have ever come across.


beq
Premium
join:2003-01-31
Houston, TX
reply to I Need Speed

Thanks for the post and info.

Setting aside DOCSIS 3.0, were there any indications that Houston and surrounding areas will get Blast! anytime soon?

Surrounding areas like northwest Cypress, southwest Sugar Land, south/southeast Pearland, etc. I hear League City further southeast is getting Verizon FIOS, so that's a good start I guess...



sortofageek
Runs from Clowns
Premium,Mod
join:2001-08-19
kudos:21

Please keep general discussion about speed increases here ---> »Post about PowerBoost and other speed increases here

There is also a topic for reporting the receipt of Blast service stickied at the top of the forum.

Please read the first post in each of those topics before posting in them and thanks for your cooperation.
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