Comcast Monitors Twitter For Angry Customers?

The brass at Comcast are keeping an eye on Twitter, according to Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. He spewed some bile about Comcast via Twitter and got an immediate response from their internet damage control team.

Arrington doesn’t feel he got special treatment just because of TechCrunch, and at least one Consumerist reader agrees that Comcast really is keeping an eye on Twitter:

I kinda wanted to call BS on this, but instead of posting comments on the TechCrunch post I thought I would use Twitter instead. After all, if Comcast is really scanning Twitter then maybe this would pop-up on their radar. A few minutes after my reply to Michael, I get a message on Twitter from Carter F. Smith, with further examples of Comcast taking action after monitoring blogs and Twitter messages.

Not more than 10 minutes after my initial tweet, and subsequent dialog with another Twitter user on the subject, I received a message on Twitter from a Comcast employee. Yes, they are indeed monitoring Twitter for customer service issues. And yes, they would have taken the same action were it me bitching about them on Twitter and not Michael Arrington.

So if you’re a Twitter user and you’ve had it with Comcast, let them know. They’re (supposedly) listening.

Comcast Twitter and The Chicken [TechCrunch]
Dear Comcast, I Know You’re Reading This…[Background Noise]

Comments

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  1. homerjay says:

    Why start now?

  2. rachmanut says:

    My friend posted his comcast issues on his blog and they responded in the comments, providing contact info and (I believe) personal help. I was impressed. Credit where credit’s due, as long as they keep it up.

  3. fordpickup says:

    That’s great I suppose…but why not just resolve issues properly through their “normal” customer service channels instead of only responding after public admoninshment?

  4. legotech says:

    Yeah, sounds like a real case of damage control rather than customer service. If they were interested in customer service they’d have people on the phones when Joe Nobody calls in rather than just having people help the guys that can make noise online.

  5. dweebster says:

    COMCASTIC =
    from the root word bombastic
    -adjective (of speech, writing, etc.) high-sounding; high-flown; inflated; pretentious.
    ————————————
    I guess you’re given the choice of sitting on hold wasting away your phone minutes for hours on end or spending a few minutes spilling the beans online at Twitter. I know what option I’d choose if I had any hope that the service had a chance of getting fixed.

  6. tk427 says:

    @fordpickup: You beat me to it.
    I want to see “Comcast Monitors Customer Service Calls”
    Can’t they pay a few people minimum wage to sit and scan the channels day and night?

  7. elf6c says:

    lol, I know what going to happen next. The “why cable is evil” commenters (as opposed to DSL and Dish providers whose similar terrible track records magically are ALWAYS ignored by those posters, almost like they were getting paid by them) will be flocking. Good times. . .

  8. pz says:

    Eh… more than likely, they’re monitoring ALL transmissions you send out for words like “COMCAST” and “FUCK THEM” — says so right in your TOS.

  9. renilyn says:

    Just proves my point…. Twitter is for stalkers~!

  10. @elf6c: The neat thing about DirecTV is that I have no idea whether their customer service is any good because it’s been a long time since my service was interrupted for any reason more serious than my having to go out and brush the snow off the dish. As long as I don’t have to deal with their customer service people long enough to discover how much they suck, the happier I will be with DirecTV.

    What pisses me off about satellite systems is that the reputed number of channels includes at least a dozen shopping (for garbage) channels, a few that show nothing but infomercials, Fox News, and at least a dozen versions of Jesus TV (not the Jesus you remember from Sunday school – this one just wants your money). Not all of them are grouped conveniently enough for me to use my user-defined menu functionality to filter them without a degree in computer science. At least the TV I do get is almost always ready when I am. So far.

  11. Hawkins says:

    @legotech:

    why not just resolve issues properly through their “normal” customer service channels instead of only responding after public admoninshment?

    I imagine it’s because they’re just not that integrated. From my years of struggling with Comcast, I can tell you that they’re divided into little insular areas that don’t talk to one another, and probably hate one another. The CSRs in the call centers can’t communicate with the techs in the field, or with the local office (which is the only place that can resolve a billing issue, but that has no inbound phone service).

    It just sounds like they have a PR department that monitors their online reputation, with a few top-secret e-mail addresses that they can use to get something done in some cases.

    I’m going to try online shaming next time. It certainly beats wasting my life on Kafkaesque conversations with powerless CSRs.

  12. fluiddruid says:

    See also:

    [boards.straightdope.com]

    It’s very strange to have a company pop up in a message board like this – especially considering they have no real reason to monitor us. We’re a large board but by no means a “top board”, and we’re general interest.

  13. mgy says:

    @Hawkins: I agree in general with your take on the issue.

    In my personal opinion, it’s purely PR. They simply can get away with giving bad customer service over the phone because the average customer isn’t going to post about it online. When it’s online, they go into damage control because thousands could potentially read about it. Plus, they look good.

  14. weakdome says:

    That’s funny stuff. Last time I said “FUCK YOU” to a company, it was to PayPal’s automated phone system.
    It promptly replied with “Thank you for calling PayPal, goodbye!” and hung up on me.
    They consistently vie for my #1 spot for worst company ever.

  15. mgy says:

    @fluiddruid: If you ever peruse component reviews on newegg, you’ll see an enormous amount of company responses to negative reviews promising to “get things right”. It’s bizarre as a consumer to see that sort of online interaction.

  16. gqcarrick says:

    @fordpickup: Exactly. Why waste the money and monitor the net when you could fix your customer phone experience, I guess that would be too easy?

  17. STrRedWolf says:

    Two words: Google Alerts.

    Google Alerts emails webpage URL findings whenever it’s spiders detect something your intrested in, such as Comcast. So it’s not just Comcast having some guy monitoring various blogs, it’s just a subscription a PR goon uses so they can put in damage control quickly.

  18. VTFootballGrad says:

    Instead of waisting there money, they should be trying to figure out how to jump Fios as the best internet provider.

  19. dragonfire81 says:

    @gqcarrick:

    Too costly actually. It’s far cheaper to respond to a few complaints from people that are actually tenacious enough to get their problems to the attention of powerful people who can really help.

    Most customers won’t raise a stink about beyond the call center and will simply decide to leave for another company rather than try to fight Comcast.

  20. djanes1 says:

    @dweebster:

    I think Shaggy just had a jingle idea…

  21. richtaur says:

    Uh clearly they have too much time on their hands. How about they work on reducing hold time instead??

  22. Mr. Gunn says:

    I think this is a good example of how web-based communications are easier to monitor and respond to than traditional, phone based communication.

    I’m not surprised you get a better response.

  23. durkzilla says:

    Squeaky wheel gets grease. Film at 11.

  24. tvmitch says:

    This is unreal to me. If I were Comcast, I would not be promoting this type of customer service response whatsoever. Resonding to a squeaky wheel is the antithesis of what their customer service should be doing. That one goon using Google Alerts is one less goon helping my Grandma get her useless home phone service fixed.

  25. elf6c says:

    @VTFootballGrad:

    If you could get FIOS. Having real competition to cable for TV and Internet, and not Dish DSL from similarly terrible companies- or often slower more expensive DSL from an indifferent Telcom would be great.

    Between bad choices/service/prices and for cell, tv and internet, the FCC has been doing a bang up job the last eight years. Oy.

  26. starbreiz says:

    Sweet. At least someone at Comcast knew about the outage then. When I called on Friday night, the techs had no clue, but said there were 50 ppl from the Bay Area in the queue behind me. They said they’d schedule a truck roll for Saturday, even though it was likely a Bay Area wide outage. It’s no wonder they have such trouble scheduling truck rolls.

  27. jamesdenver says:

    Meanwhile how many staffers does Netflix have devoted to forum surfing and damage control?

    Deck chairs, Titanic, etc…

  28. marsneedsrabbits says:

    so… as soon as your broadcast your Comcast woes publicly, they care, but until then, no dice?

    Gotcha.

    Comcast is working so hard to be the Worst Company Ever (this year). I hope they get it. They’ve gone beyond anyone’s expectations to wreck their reputation with customers.

    That’s what I call dedication.

    What will they win, btw?

  29. pileofcrapola says:

    Pity it is only the corporate folks who can see Twitter.

    Almost every “blog” site is blocked for those not in the folks not “in the loop”.

    Something about being more productive employees, if memory serves on the reasoning.

  30. DCGaymer says:

    Let me see if I have this right…….
    Besides dialing comcast and waiting 20+ minutes to get some help from a know nothing…. I can now,
    1. Set up blog and vent.
    2. Set up a twitter account and vent.
    3. Walk into any office with a hammer and bash up their keyboards.

    Just want to make sure I have this all down.

  31. comcastcares says:

    Actually we participate in activity throughout the internet. In fact I have worked with Ben and others at the Consumerist to assist Customers. Another example is on the blog website (Trusted Advisor) that posted “Comcast Is Worse Than The New Jersey DMV.” If you review the entry right after the blog, the author comments of our outreach efforts.

    Of course we also need to make sure we get it right the first time which unfortunately we didn’t when you first called in. We are working to do just that. We are listening and I am sharing all the online feedback I get with the head of customer care.

    Frank Eliason
    Comcast

  32. pestie says:

    @jamesdenver: Netflix?? I thought they were doing quite well.

  33. jamesdenver says:

    They are. To be clearer I meant they DON’T have to engage in the retroactive task of chasing customers and appeasing them AFTER they’ve had such bad service the make it public.

    Netflix has good press from the beginning, which is far more valuable than fixing constant f-ups.

    Another reason I love the internet though. It truly gives a ton of greasy to the little guy’s squeaky wheel.

  34. Chad LaFarge says:

    @tk427: Part of the problem is that many companies do pay minimum wage (or at least very little) just to have a warm body answering phones.

    Often enough, the warm body doesn’t have much experience, is poorly trained and is not properly equiped to help you.

    I’m glad to hear about the Orwellian customer support tactics in this case. It at least means that someone is paying attention, and is able to help people. The alternative is the phone, and we all know how that’s been working out.

  35. timd1969 says:

    I think that most companies, even internet service providers, are still grappling with how to interact with customers using new media. It’s a positive sign that some companies are starting to reach out to dissatified customers who have opted out of the traditional customer service model. Over at Amazon, I noticed that Kodak has a representative who responds to concerns about their consumer products by offering advice and his contact information for follow up. It may be a small effort, but it was enough to get me to try a Kodak All-in-One over another HP.

  36. jcarlylew says:

    I actually complained via twitter, about having to sit with the online “Chat” for 2 hours to confirm prices and service. i was then contacted by a couple “executives” and lo and behold i am now having my installation from 4/23 to 4/19. to bad they require SSN for DVR. they would have mad quite a bit of money from me if they didnt do that..