To better its customer service, Comcast is pulling out at least some of the stops. One of the initiatives the cable giant is undertaking has to do with the frustration customers experience while waiting around for technicians who may or may not show up exactly during the two-hour window the company offers.
And who wants to wait around for two hours, anyway? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts demonstrated a new app last week that lets customers track a technician’s schedule in in real time because "you should know when we are arriving,” as according to Charlie Herrin, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Comcast.
Comcast is making the new tracking feature available free through its MyAccount app. The app is in the trial stage and started rolling out in Boston this week. Of course, that’s not super helpful if you don’t have a smartphone or if you don’t live in Boston. But at least it’s progress. A broader roll out is planned.
Here’s how it works: The app will alert a customer with a scheduled appointment when the technician is about 30 minutes away from his home. The customer can also track the technician’s whereabouts on a map.
“We’re hoping this will prevent our customers from just needing to sit at home and wait,” Herrin said. “They can check the app from the office, or wherever they are, and head home when they see we’re on our way.”
What if the technician is running late? That can easily happen if he gets bogged down with a difficult installation or other issue at an earlier appointment. Well, the app makes it possible for a customer to know the tech is running late so the customer can run some errands instead of sitting in his living room staring at the clock and getting frustrated.
“Feedback is critical to us, especially as we look to make every experience great, so also included is a ‘rate the experience’ feature so that customers can rate the quality of service they received from us in the app,” Herrin said. “If the experience isn’t what it should have been, customers can let us know, and we will call them to see how we can correct the situation as quickly as possible.”
All About the Merger?
We turned to Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, to get his thoughts on Comcast’s moves. He told us he sees at least two reasons the cable giant is focusing on improving customer service. One of those reasons is an increasing competitive landscape.
“Cable TV companies are losing customers to competitors like ATT U-verse and Verizon Fios,” he said. “The cable television industry must improve customer care in order to improve the relationship with the customer in order to hang on to the customer.”
Another reason, of course, is Comcast’s desire to merger with Time Warner cable. Kagan said the company has to show regulators how it is improving on the customer experience. If not, regulators say no to the merger, Kagan predicted.
“It's too bad Comcast didn't work to improve the customer experience on their own without these reasons,” he said. “But at least customers will start to experience better service because of them.”