How To: Locate Someone Competent At Comcast

Reader Jeff writes in to let us know that Comcast Frank and the Twitter team swooped in and rescued him from Comcast tech hell.

Hi Consumerist, I figured I’d soon be writing you when I found out my only choices for Internet and TV in my new house in Manassas, VA were Comcast and Verizon DSL. Argh. I had already ditched Verizon’s utterly worthless service for Cox cable in my old home, so I decided to bite the bullet and go with Comcast. As a daily reader of your site, this instilled quite a bit of dread.

The installer appointment was pretty typical: he shows up four hours late, doesn’t bring a HD receiver with HDMI out, sets up his own cable modem on my account after I already told him I have my own modem that’s sitting right next to him, and tries to close the appointment after setting the office (which has no TV) to receive TV channels, rather than the living room where I initially pointed out my big, obvious plasma TV and stated “I’ll need to receive channels down here.” I make sure to send him off with his own cable modem.

A couple weeks later, the only TV channels I can receive are a few soap opera channels and what seems to be the dedicated Air Wolf channel. Work and my chimney falling off my roof kept me too busy to worry about it for another two weeks, at which point I scheduled a service appointment. I went to work extremely early so I could leave in time for a promised callback so they can note what few channels I’m receiving and be there for the tech. Of course, I never receive a callback and the tech never shows up. Three calls to customer service at about two-hour intervals after the expired window all resulted in the same response: “Don’t worry, he’s just running late, he really will be there, we promise! Dispatch will call you in a few minutes.” I was given a $20 credit on the first call.

11:00 pm rolled around and I was dreading losing time at work to a series of no-shows (which my boss had just recently experienced with Verizon FiOS). But then I remembered Comcast Frank! I browse the Comcastcares group on Twitter and see recently activity, so I figure what the hell, it can’t hurt to try. I sign up and post a quick message saying the tech never showed up and I left work early for nothing. Within four minutes, Frank responds and after talking back and forth for a few minutes, determines the problem is either the cable box or the splitter. The coax cable at the splitter was tight, so I asked him if the box needs to be replaced, can I get one with an HDMI out? He replied that he’ll request one and make sure I’m well cared for. Sure enough, the next morning I get a call from an exceptionally nice customer service agent named Rose who took down my info. Shortly afterwards, I was also called by Jeff, the district tech manager who was quite apologetic and unhappy that I was never contacted by the tech who missed my appointment. He scheduled another appointment for the exact time that worked best for me and the new tech, who was much nicer and far more competent, called me 15 minutes or so before he arrived and showed up exactly on time. The cable box wasn’t the problem but he swapped it out for me anyway with one that had HDMI out, and fixed the wiring problem outside.

It would have been nice to have the problem fixed the first time around, of course, but thankfully Frank was there (late at night, no less!) to instantly cut through the BS and give the best customer service I’ve ever seen. If only more companies had a crack CS team like this, the world would be a better place. Thanks, to you too, Consumerist! Keep up the good work!

–Jeff

P.S. Oh, Frank is totally not creepy!

If you’d like to pester Frank about his company’s crappy customer service, you can reach him at Twitter. Tell him we said, “Hi!”

Comments

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  1. Skellbasher says:

    As more people hear about Comcast Frank, I give it another 6 months before he’s so overwhelmed trying to fix Comcast’s day to day screw ups that he quits, or things just fall apart.

    He’s probably the most valuable employee in the entire company right now.

  2. nursetim says:

    It really says something about your company that you have to have a troubleshooter connected 24/7 to the internet to put out fires.

  3. Breach says:

    Id almost swear they have a Tier 0 of incompetent morons they send out first, then send you the good stuff when you complain.

    Glad you got it worked out! At least they seem to be trying to make their service better with the Twitter group

  4. SBR249 says:

    @Skellbasher: Maybe they’ll just hire a team of “Franks” to constantly monitor the twitter account. But then, knowing comcast, they’ll outsource that team to some crappy call center somewhere.

  5. geekfather says:

    What do Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and a competent Comcast employee have in common?

  6. Mollyg says:

    I though that the only way to reach a competent person at Comcast was to take acid and hallucinate them.

  7. Tawnie is Monster Mashing says:

    @geekfather: They are all fictional lol

  8. nataku8_e30 says:

    poor guy should be making more than the CEO, since he’s clearly more valuable to the company

  9. IphtashuFitz says:

    I still think it’s incredibly pathetic that a huge corporation like Comcast needs to have somebody like “Comcast Frank” to deal with the massive number of customer service complaints that get publicized. If their frontline CSR’s and techs weren’t so incompetent then there would be no need for any of this.

  10. juri squared says:

    Speaking of which, I when I randomly complained about a Firefox issue on Twitter, user firefox_answers replied with a fix. I was not expecting it at all, and it was the correct fix for my 140-character description. Way to go, Firefox guy!

  11. wildbill says:

    This goes to show how important it is to have someone listening to customer complaints so that when the big screw-ups happen they can get fixed. I am sure that Comcast does plenty of installations etc. correctly, but it is the ones that don’t go smooth that really hurt a company.

    When I started working for a local phone company a few years ago we had trouble getting our line setup at the house because the previous owner forgot to disconnect service. Since the phone company for the old line wasn’t the one I was with there were issues that the CSR was just saying oh well, wait for them to disconnect. Much as free phone service was appealing it was not my number that I had given out to people. I mentioned it to a co-worker who used to work in customer service and she took care of it right away. It just takes someone who has both the knowledge and desire to cut through the crap.

    Having worked in the telecom business for several years, it is amazing sometimes how these companies get anything done. There are so many cases where problems arise like this and how difficult it is to get someone to care.

    Keep up the good work Frank

  12. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @geekfather: Cosplay.

  13. Starfury says:

    It’s possible that one day someone at Comcast will say “Maybe we should hire competent people and pay them well. That way we can provide better service to our customers and our company won’t be seen as crap.”

    It’s also possible that someday I’ll win the lottery.

  14. @Skellbasher: They can always hire Charlie, Larry and Michael to help Frank out.

  15. Max2068 says:

    Slightly off topic, but really, who wouldn’t want an all Air Wolf channel?

    Can I get some info on which network that is? My remote thumb is twitching in anticipation!

  16. Jesse says:

    @Max2068:

    I will have to put my Steven Segal movies on hold and put the Airwolf DVD’s in my Blockbuster queue.

  17. Quilt says:

    If a telecommunications company made an honest effort to REDUCE problems, they would save a ton of money formerly spent on crappy CSRs and technicians. There is so much waste in trying to correct problems and mistakes. And God know, they make A LOT of mistakes and create A LOT of their own problems.

  18. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Isn’t the title of this post a contradiction in terms?

  19. darkrose says:

    Comcast Frank still FAILS to explain why I can’t send e-mail to my third party mail server (a web hosting account) from my Comcast account. I already know the answer (they blocked the port), I just want to know why they are filtering my internet access and what they plan to do to correct the situation, since I am not a spammer and I shouldn’t be forced to configure an alternate port or SSL SMTP just to send e-mail from my VPS.

  20. warf0x0r says:

    Dedicated Air Wolf channel…

    My friend I think you probably had the best comcast service in existence!

    I’m going to call them up and request said channel so that my life will be complete!

  21. mike says:

    @Skellbasher: It says something about a company when they need to have a dedicated person to cut through the corporate red-tape to really get things done.

    Comcast, instead of paying this guy (Yes, he’s doing a great job), why don’t actually improve your service?

    My assumption is that it’s cheaper to give crappy service and pay Frank to fix the few people who get angry than ti provide a good product.

    And so goes another debate on whether it’s better to buy a lot of crappy products or a few really good products.

  22. highmodulus says:

    I would totally be happy if Lifetime was replaced by the all Airwolf channel, cause I am never watching Lifetime.

    Notice how Verizon is so bad, Comcast seemed worth the risk.

    Ah Verizon, home of the “show us your Verizon face”. Consumerist really need to bring that back ASAP.

  23. JeffSimmermonTWC says:

    Just to chime in here — I’ve spoken with Frank via phone and e-mail a few times myself. And one thing is incredibly clear to me: that is a patient, dedicated guy who really knows what he’s doing.

    To be clear, it was just peer networking. I obviously have Time Warner Cable … to those of you that don’t know, I’m TWC’s digital communications director.

  24. mynameisDJ says:

    There is no one competent at Comcast.

    [www.nbc10.com]

  25. alice_bunnie says:

    @JeffSimmermonTWC:
    We’ve dealt with Frank on a couple of issues we’ve had here with Comcast, and I agree with you. He generally seems to care and I think he’s a genuinely nice guy.

  26. coren says:

    So…how is it Frank isn’t just in charge of Customer Service at Comcast in general, and in the process of retraining and replacing all the incompetence?

    …that’s what I thought

  27. Tijil says:

    Heck, I’d be happy for Comcast to just come through and occasionally do what they promise to do, instead of double billing me and not being able to quite charging to one of my credit cards.

    Looks like I’ll be back on the phone with them again tomorrow, and I’ve been battling with them since July 24. :(

  28. lingum says:

    What channel is the Airwolf channel on? Must have….

  29. Meathamper says:

    There are competent people on Comcast? In my opinion, people that are competent usually don’t scare the shit out of you because they read your blog post five minutes after you wrote it.